What To Do If I Can’T Afford To Fix My Cats Broken Leg?

Assess the Injury

If you suspect your cat has a broken leg, the first step is to assess the injury. Look for obvious signs of pain, swelling, deformity, or difficulty bearing weight on the leg. Your cat may be hesitant to walk or limping. Gently feel along the leg and see if your cat reacts painfully. Signs can include crying out, biting, hissing, dilated pupils, or trying to get away. Compare the injured leg to the uninjured legs. Look for swelling, bruising, cuts, or abnormal positioning. Be very gentle as additional damage could occur if the leg is already fractured.

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, signs of a potential break include unwillingness to bear weight on the affected leg, swelling, obvious deformity, and intense pain on palpation. X-rays are required to definitively diagnose a fracture and determine treatment options. If a broken leg is suspected, visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.




Emergency Care

If your cat’s leg appears severely misshapen or has an open wound, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary care, even if you are concerned about costs. An open fracture that exposes bone through the skin is especially worrisome, as it can lead to infection or other complications. According to Money, emergency vet visits typically cost $800-$1500 on average, but could exceed $5000 for more complex procedures.

Some initial steps the vet may take include:

  • Taking x-rays to assess the damage and determine the best course of treatment
  • Realigning the broken bones into their proper position
  • Immobilizing the leg with a splint or cast to stabilize the injury
  • Prescribing pain medication and antibiotics
  • Possibly admitting your cat if surgery is needed

While the upfront costs may seem daunting, addressing the injury quickly can prevent further trauma and minimize complications down the road. Be sure to discuss payment options with your vet, as many offer personalized payment plans or discounts.

Financial Assistance

Affording emergency veterinary care can be extremely challenging, especially for pet owners experiencing financial hardship. However, there are options for financial assistance that may help cover all or part of the cost of your cat’s broken leg treatment.

One option to discuss with your veterinarian is setting up a payment plan to pay the bill in increments over time. Many vets are willing to work with clients on customized payment schedules.

Another option is applying for third-party financing through companies like CareCredit or Scratchpay. These companies offer credit cards and payment plans specifically for medical expenses, including veterinary costs. They can help finance the bill for your cat’s injury and allow you to make manageable monthly payments.

Additionally, non-profit organizations like the Mosby Foundation provide financial assistance grants to pet owners who cannot afford critical veterinary care. Checking if you qualify for a grant through a charitable organization in your area is another avenue to pursue.

While covering an unexpected vet bill can be daunting, there are resources available to ease the financial burden. Discuss all payment options with your vet and look into third-party financing plans or financial assistance grants.

Non-Profit Organizations

Many non-profit animal shelters and rescue organizations can provide financial assistance for veterinary care. Contact local shelters and rescues in your area to inquire if they offer any grants or funds to help pet owners who cannot afford emergency medical treatment for their cats. For example, The Animal Foundation offers an emergency medical fund that covers up to $500 in eligible vet expenses for pets of owners facing financial hardship.

Other non-profits like the Feeding Pets of the Homeless organization and various animal welfare groups provide similar assistance on a case-by-case basis. Be prepared to show records verifying income, expenses and the medical necessity of the treatment when applying for aid. While non-profit funding is limited, these organizations aim to help as many pet owners as possible afford critical veterinary care.


Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or Fundrazr allow you to quickly set up an online fundraiser to help cover your cat’s medical bills. You’ll need to create a compelling campaign page explaining your cat’s injury, why they need treatment, and how much it will cost. Include lots of cute photos of your cat to tug on heartstrings. Share the campaign far and wide on social media so friends, family, and even strangers can donate. Many pet owners have raised thousands of dollars this way. Just be transparent about exactly how funds will be used.

For example, the site Waggle specializes in crowdfunding specifically for pet medical bills. They make it easy to create a campaign and share your pet’s story. Their site also vets fundraisers to ensure money goes to legit veterinary costs. While crowdfunding depends on the generosity of others, it can be an invaluable financing option when faced with crushing vet bills.

Home Care

If you cannot afford surgery or a vet visit for your cat’s broken leg, there are some things you can do at home to help your cat heal and manage pain[1]. However, a broken leg usually requires medical treatment, so home care should only be a temporary solution until you can get veterinary help.

Restrict your cat’s activity as much as possible so the broken leg can heal. Confine them to a small room or cage and limit jumping and running. Provide soft, thick bedding and litter that is low to the ground or in a shallow box so your cat can move around easily. Discourage climbing and avoid slippery floors.

You can make a simple splint to stabilize the broken leg using cardboard, rolled towels or magazines, and masking or medical tape. Make sure it’s not too tight. Check circulation and sensation in the foot regularly. Keep the leg wrapped when taking your cat outside.

Use cold compresses for the first 48 hours to reduce swelling. After that, use warm compresses to promote healing. Give pain medication like baby aspirin or acetaminophen, but consult your vet on proper dosage. Make sure your cat stays hydrated and maintains a healthy diet.

Monitor for worsening symptoms like bleeding, bruising, deformity, paralysis, crying in pain, or lack of appetite. Seek veterinary care immediately if any of these occur, as your cat may have internal injuries or unstable fractures.[1]

Pain Management

Managing your cat’s pain at home is crucial for their recovery and wellbeing. One of the most important things you can do is ask your veterinarian for suggestions on medications to help control your cat’s pain. Many over-the-counter human pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen are toxic to cats, so you’ll need a pet-specific medication prescribed by your vet.

Some common prescription medications for cat pain include buprenorphine, meloxicam, gabapentin, amantadine, and tramadol. Your vet will determine the appropriate medication and dosage based on your cat’s specific injury, pain levels, age, and other factors. Be sure to give the medication exactly as instructed and monitor your cat closely for any side effects.

In addition to medication, you can help ease your cat’s pain by limiting their movement, providing soft bedding, and using gentle massages around (but not directly on) the injured area. However, medication is essential for most moderate or severe cat injuries, so partner closely with your vet on a pain management plan.


Ensuring your cat gets proper nutrition while recovering from a broken leg is critical for healing. Since a broken leg makes it harder for cats to move around and access food bowls, it’s important to feed a high-calorie diet to aid in recovery. According to [Untamed Cat Food](https://www.untamedcatfood.com/blogs/nutrition/best-food-for-sick-cat), the best foods for a sick cat with a broken leg are high in protein and calories, while being highly palatable and easy to digest. Foods like warmed canned cat food, kitten food, or commercial recovery foods help cats get more calories in smaller portions.

Since your cat may have reduced interest in food after the trauma of an injury, you may need to resort to syringe or hand feeding small portions frequently throughout the day. According to [VCA Hospitals](https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/managing-the-sick-cat), feeding cats high calorie food warmed to body temperature can increase palatability. Getting your cat to eat enough during recovery can prevent further complications like hepatic lipidosis. Speak to your vet for specific dietary recommendations based on your cat’s needs.


It’s important to closely monitor your cat’s progress during the healing process. According to PetMD, recovery from a fracture can take 6-12 weeks [1]. If you don’t notice any improvement after 1-2 weeks, consult your veterinarian for a follow-up exam. They will evaluate the healing and determine if any changes need to be made to the treatment plan. Surgery may be recommended if the bone doesn’t appear to be healing properly with conservative treatment. Be prepared to provide an update on your cat’s appetite, activity level, limping, and any complications. Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion if you have concerns.


Preventing injuries in cats starts with cat-proofing your home. Make sure there are no loose wires or strings that could tangle up your cat. Secure unstable furniture and TVs so they don’t tip over if climbed. Keep toxic houseplants and chemicals out of reach. Place screens on windows to avoid falls. Consider using baby gates to block off areas with dangers. Keep lids tight on trash cans.

Getting your cat microchipped greatly increases the chance of finding them if they get lost or injured outside the home. Microchips are implanted under the skin and registered with your contact information. Animal shelters will scan for a chip if a stray cat is found.

Purchasing pet insurance can give you financial assistance in covering medical expenses if your cat does suffer an injury. Compare plans to find one that fits your budget. Some cover only accidents and injuries, while others include illness too. There are different levels of reimbursement and annual limits. Having a policy ahead of time gives you peace of mind.

For more on injury prevention, see the ASPCA article “7 Common Cat Injuries and How to Treat Them” at [1]. PetMD also provides tips in “Preventing Injuries from Cats” [2].

[1] https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/7-common-cat-injuries-and-how-to-treat-them/
[2] https://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/lhuston/2012/may/preventing_injuries_from_cats-20333

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