Why my cat's hind legs fail - know the causes

The weakness or failure in the hind legs of cats is one of the symptoms that occur most in the old age of cats, as in other animals, although they can also present this problem being younger for different reasons. It is characterized by being a symptom in which the feline drags its legs, instead of resting the sole of the leg and staying well on its feet. In addition, lameness can occur in only one leg or both.

If your cat begins to show weakness in its legs, and especially if it has more symptoms such as losing appetite to vomit or defecate out of its litter box, it is best to go with your veterinarian to rule out any complications. However, today we bring you the possible causes that answer your question about " why my cat's hind legs fail ?".

Chronic constipation, common cause of a cat losing its hind legs

This happens most commonly in cats suffering from kidney failure, resulting in the problems that chronic constipation entails, which are reflected both in the digestive system and in the lower back and legs of the animal. When this happens the feline may have a wobble in the back legs and problems walking, as well as weakness when standing on its four legs.

If symptoms such as vomiting, lack of appetite or weight loss occur, it is important to take it into consideration, and take it to the veterinary office if they have been kept for several days, because if it is not treated in time, it can cause irreversible damage to the intestines., kidneys, liver and, over time, throughout the body of the cat for the excess of toxins caused by the accumulation of feces.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Or as it is also known, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occurs when there is some thickening in the heart muscle, which generates serious cardiovascular problems.

When your system begins to fail, enough blood stops coming to various parts of the body of the cat, including the hind legs and tail that are further away from the heart, because the blood flow is affected and decreases. This can cause, depending on the severity of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a partial or total paralysis, either progressive or sudden, of these extremities because they do not have the blood required to function properly. If this symptom occurs from one moment to another, it is convenient to take the cat to the veterinarian, but if it is accompanied by weight loss, motor slowness, lack of appetite or other symptoms, it is necessary to go to veterinary emergencies.

Diabetes in cats

When diabetes or hyperglycemia occurs in cats (high blood glucose levels) , potassium levels decrease due to the recurrence with which they come to urinate or urinate. These sudden drops of potassium, generate neurological damage and in many cases, they reach neuropathies that require treatments and exercises. These problems at the neurological level can be the cause of your cat's back legs failing .

In addition to the lowering of potassium in your system, the constant changes in your glucose levels can cause cardiovascular damage, such as drops in pressure or very sharp rises, causing the body of the animal to begin to fail.

Hip dysplasia, main cause of failure in the hind legs of cats

Although it is not as usual as in dogs, there are cases with this condition. A hip dysplasia in cats tends to be hereditary and consists of an abnormal development of the bones of the hip and femur, which causes displacement and damage in both joints of the hip or in one according to each case. This disorder can appear from very small and with the passage of time tends to dislocate much more causing small fractures or damages in the cartilages of the bottom of the cat. However, it can sometimes appear when the cat is older, for reasons that are not usually genetic.

The most common symptoms when presenting with hip dysplasia in cats are:

  • Limp
  • Pain in the hind legs
  • Does not jump or run
  • Crunch coming from the hip

If, in addition to weakness, you have these symptoms, it is important to see the veterinarian.


Thrombosis is a blood clot that is located in some area of ​​the body. In the case of cats, thrombosis can occur in the back of the cat or specifically in the hip or legs, causing the blood does not reach the legs and the flow stops or reduces, when this happens the hind limbs become cold and with very little mobility reaching the point of paralysis.

It is a disease that occurs more frequently in cats with kidney failure, so if your cat suffers from this it is very important to have it under surveillance. Similarly, if you have noticed that the mobility is getting smaller and your legs are colder than the rest of your body, take it into account and talk to the veterinarian.

Other possible causes why your cat's back legs fail

The failure in the hind legs of the cats can become an indication that something bad is happening with our friend and as it may be for any of the aforementioned conditions, there are other pathologies that, although in very few cases present this symptom, can affect mobility on the back legs of the cat.

  • Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Feline Immunodeficient Virus (FIV)
  • Infectious peritonitis

Although for these diseases there is another symptom rather than the weakness in the back legs, it is worth taking it with the veterinarian to rule out any possible anomaly and if it occurs, treat it as soon as possible and avoid any complications .

In addition, other common causes of lameness in the back legs of cats are fissures and fractures in the bones of the legs or hip.

What to do when the back legs of the cat begin to fail

Failure in the hind legs may appear only as a weakness in the lower area or be accompanied by other symptoms. It is essential to go to a veterinarian to rule out any injury or fracture and starting from here perform the corresponding exams to reach a diagnosis.

This symptom of failure in the legs can be indicative of many pathologies; There are many cases where spinal injuries are present, including herniated discs which can cause complete paralysis in the animal.

Believe it or not, many animals can suffer from diabetes mellitus and just like humans get involved in an imbalance of the body in general. It is important to note that together with the weakness of the hind legs, the cat takes more water than normal and urinates more often.

In most cats, cardiovascular or neurological problems come to affect their extremities, if this is the case, it is important to feel the legs of the cat to assess if they are cold or with a poor pulse, if this happens, we must go urgently to the vet .