Reader Question: Broken Paw and Surgery Recovery

Dear Dr. Plotnick,

My cat broke her paw and she had surgery within 24 hours of it happening. She is recovering (surgery was a week ago today) and she seems to be getting back to herself a little more every day.  She is eating, drinking and cuddling and resting most importantly.  Can you please let me know when a cat has surgery on her paw wrist, uses the splint from 2 – 3 weeks and does the proper rest for 8 – 10 weeks - are the chances good for a full recovery? I am very concerned for her and want her to be ok – I am of course just very worried about her well-being. What do you think?


Dear Fiona,
I admire how concerned you are for your cat.  The good news is, your cat’s chances for a complete and full recovery are excellent.  Some fractures in cats can be frustrating and challenging, but a broken paw does not usually fall into this category.  It sounds like you took her to your veterinarian promptly, which was a smart thing to do.  You mention her wrist in your letter.  I suspect that she broke one or more metacarpals, the long bones in the front paw.  These would be the equivalent of the bones in our hand (between the wrist and the first knuckle). Usually, applying a splint is all that is necessary for this type of fracture.  I do think 2 – 3 weeks is a bit short, in terms of healing time.  I usually keep the splint on for 4 to 6 weeks.  But I’ll have to defer to your veterinarian, since I don’t know the exact nature of the fracture(s).  But have no fear, I feel certain your cat will do well.