Cat Front Paws Turned Outward

Cat Front Paws Turned Outward? Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

You might notice that your cat’s front paws are facing away from him or her. This is called an abnormality of the angles of the limbs.

This is the word for bones that don’t look like they should.

Cats with deformed limbs can be born with them or develop them over time.

Deformities that are present at birth are called congenital deformities, while developmental deformities happen between the ages of four and eight months when a cat is growing.

Cats’ paws can turn out for a number of reasons, like when they fall, get hit by a car, are dumped, or are stepped on. It could also be caused by a deformity or genetic condition that was passed down from your parents.

What are Angular Limb Deformities?

When someone has “angular limb deformities,” their bones don’t look like they should. Cats can have congenital or developmental angular limb abnormalities.

Congenital abnormalities are obvious from the time a cat is born, but developmental abnormalities happen when the cat is growing, which usually happens between the ages of 4 and 8 months.

As a cat gets older, problems with the growth plates, which are what make bones, cause angular limb deformities.

Because a cat’s growth plates are soft and don’t harden until it’s a year old, angular limb abnormalities can happen if it gets hurt or doesn’t get the right food before it’s a year old.

Cats with angular limb deformity have limbs that aren’t straight because their bones didn’t grow in the right way.

Cats can be born with angular limb abnormalities, or they can develop them as they grow.

Angled limb abnormalities usually affect the forelimbs, which are made up of two long bones, but they can also affect the back limbs.

People who own cats will notice that the legs often bend in or out.

Some cats with angular limb abnormalities don’t have any problems, while others limp, hurt, and can’t do certain things. As people get older, a lot of them get arthritis.

Symptoms of Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

Cats with angular limb abnormalities have bones in their limbs that bow away from or toward the middle of the cat’s body.

Pet owners will notice this difference from the front of the cat because it usually affects the ulna and radius and makes the cat stand in an odd way.

Some cats may not be bothered by the deformity, but others may feel pain and have trouble moving around.

Cat Front Paws Turned Outward

A scan will make it clear that a bone isn’t right, but pet owners may notice signs like:

  • Pain
  • Reduced range of motion in joints
  • Limping
  • Inability to perform certain activities (jumping, running)
  • Arthritis (later in life)



Congenital angular limb abnormalities in cats are present at birth and are often caused by a genetic disease or the way the fetus was positioned during development.


Developmental angular limb abnormalities in cats happen when the growth plates are injured while the cat is still growing (4–8 months).

Why A Cat Has Its Front Paws Turned Outward: Top Reasons

1. Irregularity In Growth

Angular limb deformities are caused by problems with the growth plates, which are in charge of bone growth as the cat gets older.

Because the growth plates are weak and don’t fuse until a cat is one year old, accidents or changes in diet can cause angular limb abnormalities before the cat is one year old.

Have you ever slept with your cat in a box? Is it risky for them? Click here for more.

2. Abnormality?

Angular limb deformity in cats is caused by excessive bone development, which results in abnormally developed or bent limbs.

Cats can be born with deformities of the angular limb, or they can get them as they grow.

Because the forelimbs are made up of two long bones, they are most often affected by angular limb abnormalities. However, the back limbs can be affected as well.

Cat owners may notice that their cats’ knees often bend in or out.

Some cats with angular limb abnormalities won’t have any problems, while others will limp, be uncomfortable, or not be able to do certain things.

3. Gene Talks

Angular limb deformities can be caused by a birth defect that makes the growth plate close early, an injury to the active growth plate that causes it to close early, or a broken bone that doesn’t heal properly.

This is because these breeds have genetic flaws that make them look different.

The most common types of angular limb abnormalities in these breeds are early closure of the distal ulnar physis and early closure of the medial half of the distal tibial physis.

Early growth caused by trauma Plate closure can happen to any animal that hasn’t fully grown up yet, but fractures that don’t heal right can happen to animals of any age.

Your cat may not be genetically ready to be an adult yet because it cries like a baby at night.

4. Trauma!

Angular extremity malformations in cats can be caused by traumas like:

Falls, vehicle accident getting knocked down and stepped on. If your cat falls from a certain height, he could be in a lot of pain.

Your cat could get into a dangerous accident, like being hit by a car, which could make his paws stick out. It’s crazy to hear that anyone can also step on his paws.

Diagnosis of Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

Cats with angular limb abnormalities are affected at a young age, and they may not yet have a medical record that can be looked over as part of the diagnosis process.

On the other hand, cat owners can help the vet by giving important information about their pet’s health.

It is very important that you tell the vet about any injuries or illnesses that the young cat may have had in the past, as well as any problems with the parents or siblings.

The injured cat will be physically checked out. The hurt limbs will be moved to see how much range of motion they have and if they hurt.

X-ray (Radiography) 

A veterinarian will probably use an x-ray to find out what’s wrong with a limb that doesn’t look right.

The x-ray shows the doctor where the bone problems are, which way they are going, and how bad they are.

CT scan (Computed tomography) 

After an x-ray, a CT scan is often done because it gives a cross-sectional view of the affected limb (or limbs).

Compared to the x-ray, this 3-D image will give the vet more information about the problem than the x-ray did.

Treatment of Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

Small angular limb problems in cats can often be fixed without surgery. Mild angular limb abnormalities in cats are mostly just a matter of looks and don’t cause much pain or trouble with movement.

The vet may treat these problems with conservative methods, such as helping the animal lose weight, giving it supplements for its joints, and telling it not to do too much exercise.

A conservative management plan is used to keep the joints from being put under too much stress, preventing damage that could lead to arthritis later in the cat’s life.

When cats have severe angular limb abnormalities, they may need surgery and are usually sent to a specialist.

For surgery to fix an angular limb malformation, the bones need to be straightened and put in the right place with skeletal fixators.

If your cat has severe angular limb abnormalities, your vet will talk to you about the possible risks of surgery.

Worried about how much it will cost to treat your angular limb deformity?

Pet insurance takes care of a lot of the common health problems that pets have. Get quotes from the best pet insurance companies so you can be ready for anything.

Recovery of Angular Limb Deformities in Cats

Most of the time, cats with angular limb abnormalities that have been treated with conservative care will do well.

The main goal of treating an angular limb deformity is to reduce stress on the joints, so it is important to listen to your vet.

Cats that have had surgery to fix their problems will be checked often to make sure that the bones haven’t continued to twist and that they are healing properly.

Swimmer Syndrome is Evident Around 3 Weeks of Age

Rescuers shouldn’t assume that a cat younger than three weeks old has swimmer syndrome just because her limbs are spread.

This is because newborn kittens may have spread limbs because they are young. Kittens who are 0–3 weeks old don’t have the muscles or motor skills to put their feet under their bodies and walk.

By the time it is 3 weeks old, a kitten will usually start to learn how to walk.

If the kitten’s legs are spread out so that the feet point outward, you should call a vet right away to see if the cat has swimmer’s syndrome.

Cat Front Paws Turned Outward

See my guide on how to figure out how old a kitten is if you’re not sure.

Early Intervention is Critical

The body of a young kitten grows quickly, both in terms of bone and muscle mass and in terms of how well it can move.

By helping the kitten as close to 3 weeks of age as possible, caregivers can move the kitten’s body into the right position and teach it to walk in a short amount of time.

Leg Wrapping and Hobbles

The main way to treat swimmer’s syndrome is to tape or wrap the legs to straighten the hips, knees, and ankles. There are many ways to do this, but I recommend using medical tape to make hobbles.

Use a high-quality medical tape that won’t pull on the fur or skin when you take off the tape.

Find the kitten’s knees, which are in the middle of its body. By hand, straighten the joint to move the knee outward. Double-wrap the medical tape. Switch knees and do it again.

Find the kitten’s ankles, which are the joints at the end of its feet. Double-wrap the medical tape. Do it again with the other ankle.

Adjust the kitten’s hips, knees, and ankles by hand until it doesn’t hurt. You can always start with the limbs farther apart and move them closer together over the course of a few days.

Once the legs are in the right place, use a line of tape to connect the taped knees and hips.

For physical therapy activities, you should take things out and put them back in once or twice a day.

You’ve Got This!

Taking care of a kitten with swimmer’s syndrome is a wonderful thing to do. Even just one week of taping or wrapping the kitten’s limbs and physical therapy can make a big difference and give it the gift of mobility for life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is knuckling in cats?

Put the back of the paw on the table (the “knuckle test”) and put it back in its usual spot right away. Still, most cats are sensitive and pull away too much. Use tactile and visual instead.

What does it mean when a cat extends its paws?

Cats use their paws for a lot of different things, like kneeling. When they are happy, they can grow their nails out and make patterns with them.

This makes their mother’s milk flow. When angry or scared, a cat might even stretch out its paws.

Is carpal hyperextension in cats painful?

Hyperextension can be caused by polyarthritis or an autoimmune disease.

Chronic or degenerative injury (pain, non-weight-bearing lameness, soft tissue edema) (typically relatively painless, uneven, hyper-extended joint posture when weight-bearing).

What causes knuckling in cats?

If the femoral nerve is hurt, the dorsal limb will nudge and lose feeling, and the stifle and snout won’t be able to bend.

When you have tibial neuropathy, your nose gets shorter and your snout doesn’t stick out as far. Most of the time, a cat’s walk is off because of its nose.

Final Words

Angled limb abnormalities are constantly changing problems that need owners who are dedicated and careful.

So, what did you do when the front paws of your cat turned outward?

What else did he need to help him get better?

Please tell us what you think in the box below!

Spring Bamboo

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