How to Immobilize a Cat's Broken Leg with a Splint

Table of contents:

How to Immobilize a Cat's Broken Leg with a Splint
How to Immobilize a Cat's Broken Leg with a Splint

If your kitten has broken a leg and you cannot call a veterinarian for any reason, you may have to immobilize her yourself. Ask someone for help, as two heads are better than one, and four hands are better than two. Especially if your patient is conscious.


Part 1 of 2: Preparing the bandages and the cat

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 1

Step 1. Remove all dressings from the packaging

Even though it seems like an obvious step, it's really important - opening cellophane is a lot harder - wrapping bandages when dealing with an injured and angry feline. You can open packages with a simple tearing motion. When all the bandages are open, place them on the table, or somewhere near your table, so you can quickly grab them and wrap them around your cat's leg.

It's a good idea to organize the materials according to the order in which you will use them. If you are right-handed, arrange the material from left to right: cotton, gauze bandage, splint, Primapore (adhesive tape), cotton padding, a final dressing, Elastoplast (adhesive fabric)

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 2

Step 2. Choose a table to work on

The table should be a comfortable working height and wide enough to hold the cat and all the materials listed in the step above. Also make sure the table is steady - if it rocks or tilts, your cat can become more scared and angry, making the situation even more tense.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 3

Step 3. Make some cotton sausages

Cotton sausages are small rolls of cotton that you place between your cat's fingers. To make a sausage, take a quarter of the cotton ball and roll it between your fingers and thumb until it's thin, and then it looks like a sausage.

Do four of these to keep your cat's claws from scratching neighboring fingers

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 4

Step 4. Leave pre-cut strips of adhesive tape

This way, the process of immobilizing with the splint will be much easier. Each strap should be long enough to wrap twice around your cat's leg and splint. Cut four of these strips and attach the end of each to the table so you can quickly grab it when you're working.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 5

Step 5. Ask someone to help you hold the cat

Someone to help hold the cat will make the process easier and a lot less painful. If someone holds the cat, you will have both hands free to splint.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 6

Step 6. Place the cat on the table

Once you've found help, gently pick up the cat. Place it on the table so that the injured leg is facing up. For example, if your cat has broken his left leg, lay him down on his right side.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 7

Step 7. Restrain your cat

Don't be offended if your cat lashes out at you or tries to bite you - he's in a lot of pain and won't act normally. That's why it's important to be very careful to make sure that neither you nor your assistant will get hurt. Tell your assistant to hold the cat by the back of the head (in the folds of fur on the back of the neck). This will ensure that the cat does not bite anyone, and will prevent it from moving. This is also a way to hold the cat without it feeling pain - it's the way his mother held him when he was a kitten.

If he is very aggressive and does not calm down when he is held by the back of his head, gently place a towel over his head. This will calm you down (cats like the dark) and ensure your assistant doesn't get bitten

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 8

Step 8. Stretch your cat's injured leg

Your assistant should hold the back of the cat's head with one hand while gently stretching the broken leg with the other. How he does this will depend on which leg is broken.

  • If the front leg is broken, the assistant should place their index finger behind the elbow and gently push the hand towards the cat's head as well as the extended leg.
  • If the hind leg is injured, the assistant should hook the index finger in front of the thigh bone, as close as possible to the hip joint. With gentle traction, pulling towards the cat's tail, the leg will extend.

Part 2 of 2: Immobilizing the Cat's Leg with the Splint

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 9

Step 1. Place the cotton sausages between the cat's fingers

To do this, take the sausages that have already been prepared and place them in the gaps between your fingers and your immediate neighbor. Repeat the process until all fingers are separated by the cotton. Your cat's foot will look a little odd, but this will keep the claw of one finger from scratching the other when you wrap the bandages around the cat's leg.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 10

Step 2. Create the first layer of dressings

You should place the first layer directly on the cat's leg to create a padding between the leg and the splint so that the cat is more comfortable. Use your dominant hand to wrap the bandage. Start with your fingertips up towards the body. Place the end of the dressing over your cat's fingers and hold it with your other hand. Rotate the bandage in a circle around the paw and squeeze just enough to stay in place so you don't have to hold it anymore. Continue to wrap the bandage around the leg, spiraling towards the body.

Each layer must overlap the previous one by half the width of the dressing

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 11

Step 3. Remember that the dressing needs to be tightened

The tension when putting it on is important. The dressing needs to be firm but not too tight. If it's too loose, it will slide off the leg, but if it's too tight, circulation can be hampered. You need to do something similar to feeling a tight sock on your leg.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 12

Step 4. Attach the end of the dressing

Once you have properly tightened and finished the cat's leg, cut the bandage and hide the end of the bandage so that it stays in place.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 13

Step 5. Choose the right splint

The ideal splint is rigid but at the same time light. You can buy plastic splints, but in an emergency you can improvise with some wood or something similar. The splint should be the same length as the leg, plus the length of the leg.

For example, if your cat has broken his forearm, measure the splint from his elbow to his fingertips

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 14

Step 6. Secure the splint in place

Hold the splint against the underside of the bandaged limb. Align one end of the splint with the end of the cat's fingers. To secure the splint to the cat's leg, take a cut piece of Primapore and place one end in the middle of the splint at a 90-degree angle, or perpendicular, to the length of the bone. Apply firm tension, wrap the primapore around the bandage and around the limb so that the splint is snug on the leg. Repeat this process and place the tape on each end of the splint.

Use the final piece of tape for added security wherever you need it

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 15

Step 7. Pad the cat's splint and leg

It is important that your cat is as comfortable as possible, especially given all the ordeal he has gone through. To pad the splint, choose a filling roll and, just as you did with the bandages, start with the cat's fingers and wind it in a spiral toward the body. You can pull firmly on the cotton padding, as it will tear if you wrap the cat's leg too tightly.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 16

Step 8. Secure the end of the filler and add another layer

When you reach the cat's hip (or elbow, depending on which leg is broken) use scissors to cut the end of the roller. Start again on your fingers and repeat the process until you have put in at least three layers of filler.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 17

Step 9. Add the finishing touches

After you have placed the filler layers, you should add one more layer of dressing, and a final layer of Elastoplast, or adhesive dressing. Apply both layers in the same way as all the others – starting with the fingers and winding in a spiral until reaching the hip or elbow. Cut the end of the dressing and secure by hiding in a previous layer.

Splint a Cat's Broken Leg Step 18

Step 10. Keep the cat in a small space

You put the splint on to make sure the broken leg is immobilized. However, even with the splint, when your cat walks or jumps, it can move the broken leg and delay or even stop the healing process. For that reason, you should keep it in a small room or doghouse.


  • Thank the assistant when you finish the process.
  • Keep your cat calm by talking to him in a soothing voice


Popular by topic