For cats, climbing and jumping come naturally. While certain varieties are more accustomed to heights than others, perching above the ground allows cats to scan their surroundings for potential threats. Your cat was previously willing to leap to greater heights, but now she seems hesitant. Cat lameness can be brought on by arthritis, sprains, wounds, or injuries to the spine, paw pads, or legs. Your cat can be having balance issues or having enough energy to leap. Additionally, your cat might make an instinctual attempt to jump before changing its mind for psychological reasons.
Some cats, when they’re young and healthy, can jump six feet. Senior cats will always move less, but a sudden shift in behavior is much more worrisome. Check for other variations in cat behavior so you can determine whether your cat is slowing down because of old age or because of illness.
Why Can’t My Cat Jump on the Bed Anymore?
In light of the fact that most cats enjoy leaping to and from heights, any noticeable change in their behavior should be looked into. There will be a reason if your cat is suddenly unable to do these tasks. Due to their fear of a bad fall, older cats are less likely to leap. A cat with a health issue is one who tries to jump on the bed but is unsuccessful. For the following causes, cats could suddenly stop leaping on the bed:
Almost all senior cats have arthritis, according to Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice. Although it can occur at any age, osteoarthritis is more common in cats 10 years of age or older. Most physical activity will be difficult for an arthritic cat, and even walking can cause limping. Waiting for your cat to express pain before acting is a bad idea since it might never happen. You must treat your cat’s arthritic pain with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), joint supplements, and a comfy bed if it isn’t jumping and appears reluctant to move.
2. Excessive weight
If your cat is overweight, it won’t be able to jump since it won’t be aerodynamic enough. Although a cat’s optimal weight varies by breed, you should be able to feel its ribs. Even though some cats have a hanging tummy, the stomach shouldn’t have any rolls. Maintaining a cat’s weight is crucial since the more weight a cat carries, the more difficult it will find it to move around.
Being overweight frequently results in diabetes, which limits a cat’s ability to jump. Your cat could develop diabetic neuropathy, which would make it more unstable on its feet, according to Acta Neuropathologica. The back legs will eventually go entirely numb. Due to a lack of strength in its hind legs, your cat won’t be able to jump due to this.
4. Broken Bones
Cats who can’t jump are frequently explained by broken or shattered bones. Your cat could not show signs of injury if it is especially stoic. Determining if a bone is broken or fractured might be challenging if the injured bone is not visibly protruding. Through purring, cats may repair small fractures on their own. This activity produces vibrations that aid in mending, but the bone may regrow in an unnatural shape.
Have your cat examined by a veterinarian if you think it may have been in an accident. In order for a cat to fully recuperate and resume jumping, interlocking nails and wires are advised, according to veterinary surgery. These will maintain the bone’s position while it heals.
5. Sprains and Ligament Tears
Sprains are less deadly than shattered bones but can be just as crippling when it comes to jumping. These are muscular wounds that make a cat’s legs weak. Typically, a cat lunging or jumping too quickly from a standing position results in sprains and rips. Before exercising, cats rarely stretch and limber up, which increases the risk of musculoskeletal injury. Regarding a feline muscle strain, not much can be done. Rest is what your cat needs, but it might also need pain medication. Most strains will recover on their own in 3 to 6 weeks.
6. Hip dysplasia
According to veterinary radiography and ultrasound, certain cat breeds are more susceptible to hip dysplasia. The most vulnerable species include Persians, Himalayans, and Maine coons. Hip dysplasia may result from wear and tear or be a genetic abnormality. It causes the ball and socket of the hip to get out of alignment, which makes the hind legs lame and prevents jumping. Lifestyle modifications and pain relief are effective treatments for hip dysplasia.
7. Eyesight problems
If your cat has trouble jumping, it can be because of vision issues. The eyesight of many senior cats is fading. The American Veterinary Medical Association Journal also relates malignancies to sudden-onset blindness. Because cats rely more on their senses of smell and hearing than on their eyesight, eye problems aren’t often visible. A senior cat will find ways to get around this restriction even if it gradually loses its vision. Early warning indications that a cat may be losing its sight include a refusal to jump and difficulties climbing stairs.
8. Ear Infections
When jumping, cats rely on their natural sense of balance, which allows them to perform seemingly impossible leaps without pausing. According to the Veterinary Journal, a cat’s vestibular system directly affects how well-balanced it is. Your cat will struggle with landings and lose all confidence in jumping if it has an ear infection, which is typically brought on by ear mites. This will make jumping challenging or impossible. An ear infection in cats is indicated by persistent scratching and discoloration inside the ear.
9. Paw Health Issues
A cat must set its paws on the ground before launching itself into a jump. It will be unpleasant if your cat has problems with its paws or paw pads. Overgrown claws are a typical issue with paws. Cats must frequently scratch their claws to file them down. Cats need to scratch to keep their claws from getting too long. They eventually flip around and pierce the paw pads. Purchase a scratching post to stop this from occurring. In warmer weather, it’s typical for cat paw pads to get dry or cracked. For much-needed moisture, apply shea butter to the paws if you see them to be dry or cracked.
10. Cognitive Decline
As a cat ages, the likelihood of feline cognitive impairment increases significantly. The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery states that cognitive deterioration is distinct from simple aging. This disorder is similar to Alzheimer’s dementia in humans and affects cats. Disorientation is one of the main signs, so your cat will start to wander around and lose track of what it was supposed to be doing. This can also apply to jumping, as the cat may unexpectedly lose the ability to leap higher.
11. Fungal or Bacterial Infection
Your cat will be vulnerable to bacterial or fungal illnesses if it gets lost outside. In addition to wild soil or water, some animals also transport bacteria or fungal spores. Cats can live in unclean conditions even indoors. Leg weakness and lameness are signs of some bacterial or fungal illnesses, including cat scratch disease. If infections are left untreated, they may spread and lead to new issues. Additionally, until your cat is totally recovered, it should be quarantined.
12. Respiratory Infections (Feline Calicivirus)
Lameness and abrupt onset arthritis are signs of feline calicivirus, per veterinary science studies (FCV). Your cat’s hesitation to jump may be due to a lack of energy. Rarely is a respiratory infection a reason for alarm. Rest helps most cats recover from these infections, but due to their weakened immune systems, older cats are more susceptible to the virus. Although there are FCV vaccines available, none of them are 100% effective. Because the symptoms of this illness, including lameness, will be less severe, these actions will lessen its impact.
13. Heart Disease
Heart disease is more likely in older cats (cardiomyopathy). Lameness in the rear legs is one of the more obvious symptoms, though your cat may have been hiding it for some time. Aortic embolism is a danger in cats with cardiomyopathy. According to the Journal of Small Animal Practice, aortic embolisms can cause paralysis in a cat’s hind legs. This is due to a blood clot that has developed and is preventing blood from reaching the legs. Antithrombotic medications can offer momentary relief, allowing a cat to once again use its legs. Cats will still be careful while jumping, though.
14. Slippery Surfaces
A cat needs a secure foundation on the ground before it can jump. A cat may not be able to jump if the ground beneath its feet is slick since it won’t be able to build up enough momentum to launch. Caution: Wet Floor signs are not visible to cats, so try to avoid mopping when your cat is active. Use grips to keep rugs and mats firmly in place if you have them on the floor. The cat will bear in mind the unpleasant experience if it was unsteady on its feet and fell while attempting to jump. The cat might decide not to jump in this location again as a result.
15. Objects Have Moved
Animal Cognition claims that cats have trouble remembering where hidden objects are. Your cat is familiar with the layout of your home and all the good places to jump. This won’t be the case if you move your home’s furniture, which can upset your cat.
16. Lack of Need
Perhaps the cat started to jump, but stopped as soon as it understood it didn’t need to. This is comparable to walking into a room only to realize that what you need is somewhere else.
17. Dominant Behavior
For the same reason that some cats won’t use the cat flap, some cats won’t jump. Briefly, someone else will handle it for them. A dominant cat wants you to know who is in charge, thus this is how they think. Feline dominance may be the cause if the cat verbally communicates with you while staring at you. The cat is trying to tell you that it needs to be placed at a higher level, but you have to pick it up first. These are the most typical justifications for a cat that isn’t jumping anymore. Never disregard a sudden change in your cat’s behavior in case it need a vet visit.