“Emma, I accidentally stepped on my cat!“
This is the phone call I received last night and on the line was my long-time friend, Danielle. She has had a beautiful furbaby for a couple of years now. It’s an extremely calm Ragdoll, with mesmerizing blue eyes. That big ball of fluff is always up for cuddles and some purring on the lap.
My friend’s a clumsy one, so she went through a lot of random accidents with her feline. I’m still trying to figure out how Misty survived this long with her, or vice versa either. But, there are no words to describe the bond the two of them are sharing. It’s incredible.
Anyways, after a couple of minutes of crying and trying to connect a proper sentence, she explained what happened. She accidentally stepped on her cat’s paw and she’s worried that her little bones may be broken. So, now what?
I accidentally stepped on my cat: What should I do?
First things first, don’t panic. Of course, cats are extremely active animals, and surely, you at least once hit her with your foot or avoided stepping on her at the last second. Those little devils will often play around your feet and ankles and you’ll definitely have problems avoiding them.
If you’ve accidentally stepped on your cat, take a couple of deep breaths and stay calm. That’s the only way you’ll help your feline if something more serious happened. You’re good? Okay, this is what you’re supposed to do next.
1. Think about the amount of weight you’ve put on your cat
In most cases, your natural instinct will be to retract your leg but think carefully about the amount of weight you’ve put on your cat. Did you put the whole weight of your body, or did you react on time?
It’s almost impossible that you won’t feel your feline under your foot, even if you’re wearing shoes. You’ll easily sense that fluffy, soft ball of fur. Therefore, the chances that you’ll step on her and put all of your weight on her are almost equal to zero.
Also, don’t underestimate her, hun’. Do you really think that she’ll lay there calmly and wait for you to squash her? I don’t think so. She’ll react big time, and I can bet my life on it.
Your feline buddy will be shocked and she’ll definitely make a loud noise that will urge you to, literally, jump back. She’ll probably run to her corner, or find a hiding spot. The whole situation scared her, and if she made a loud sound that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve hurt her.
So, calm down and carefully analyze what just happened.
2. Approach her and figure out which part did you step on
The most important part is to approach her calmly and slowly. She’s going to be stressed out, for sure, so you don’t want to scare her more. I’ve mentioned that she’ll either run to her safe place or hide somewhere. When you realize where she is, talk to her.
Lower the tone of your voice and try to call her to come to you. If you have to, use some sweets or her favorite munchies to lure her out. Perhaps she bit or scratched you before she fled. Don’t put the blame on her, you’re the one who wasn’t paying attention.
Anyways, try to take her in your arms and figure out which part did you step on. This probably won’t be an easy task since it all happened too fast, but at least you can make sure which part of her body you didn’t step on.
Identifying that specific place will help you in case she needs some kind of treatment.
3. Check her up and make sure she’s not injured
When you’ve finally approached her and she’s comfortably seated in your lap, it’s time to check her up. Carefully examine every inch of her body. Look for any visible signs of injury or open wounds. Also, pay attention if she’s more sensitive when you’re touching certain areas.
Her body language will tell you all you need to know. If she’s pulling her paw away when you try to touch it, you’ve stepped on it and it obviously hurts. She’ll twitch when your hand is moving toward her tail if that part is hurting.
Move her legs lightly and make sure she doesn’t have any bruises (even though it’s a bit too early for those to show up), or that she’s not painfully meowing at you. Of course, if you notice any visible injury or you suspect that something may be broken, don’t move it before consulting with your vet.
While you’re checking up on her, try to calm her down as well. It’s really important that you’ve calmed yourself down prior to that because she’ll sense if you’re nervous. Your main priority right now is to discover what’s happening and how she’s feeling. Naturally, you won’t be able to do that if you’re panicking.
4. Pamper her
Okay, you’ve come to the part where you have to be ready to spoil her. This is the moment in which you’ll show her that you’re sorry for what happened. Shower her with love, give her some treats and snacks, and don’t stop gently hugging her. She’s still sensitive, so be careful.
You can also take her out if you have the possibility, so she could inhale some fresh air. You’ll both feel better after a short walk around your neighborhood. If your furbaby is still not able to walk on her own from the shock, wrap her in your arms and caress her while you’re carrying her around.
Grab some of her favorite toys, maybe even that feather toy that you stopped using a while ago even if it was her favorite. Make it all about her for some time. Your feline has to be happy and satisfied, keep that in mind.
6. Monitor her behavior
The last thing that you’ll have to do for some time after accidentally stepping on your cat is to monitor her behavior. At first, she’ll definitely behave oddly, because she may be in pain, but keep an eye on her. Make sure she’s behaving normally and slowly getting back to her habits as time goes by.
If there was some serious internal injury, dislocation, or fracture, you’ll know it shortly after the mishap. Your feline’s appetite may change as well, her legs may go numb and she could start avoiding her litter box.
Kittens are more likely to be injured if you accidentally stepped on them because they are generally vulnerable and they’re still not aware of the threats from their surrounding. This means that they probably won’t react as fast as a fully grown-up cat.
However, don’t worry too much. They were wild creatures once and they’ve been through hell and back. A little step won’t be extremely painful.
7. Talk to your vet
Even if you can’t spot any visible difference on her body and she’s not showing any signs that she may be suffering, you’re probably worried. Therefore, to ease your mind, you can call your vet. Explain to him what exactly happened and describe how is she behaving.
He’s going to give you the best advice you could possibly get, so don’t hesitate to do this. In case you spot some serious problems, he’ll either calm you down or make an appointment as soon as possible. The latter will only happen in severe cases that are pretty rare.
What to look for after I accidentally stepped on my cat?
Mishaps can be extremely stressful and it’s easy to stop thinking straight. You should follow the tips above in order not to lose it. Your furbaby probably isn’t hurting a lot, but you can never know for sure right after the unfortunate occurrence.
There are a couple of things you should pay attention to after you’ve accidentally stepped on your cat. Of course, you’ll need to carefully check her up and determine if she has some significant issues. Identify all the problems that may occur and analyze the situation thoroughly.
If we think about all of it for a second, there are three possible parts that you could’ve stepped on: her paws, torso, or her tail. We’ll explain what happens in each situation below.
1. If you stepped on her paws
Similarly to human beings, cats have a decent amount of little bones in their paws and they may be fractured when stepped on. However, you’d need to put a lot of weight in order to do that.
If you suspect that you actually applied enough pressure to damage her bones (maybe you didn’t break it completely, but you caused a stress fracture), you’ll notice that she has problems walking normally. She may avoid stepping on the paw properly, or it may be swollen.
In either case, it’s recommended to contact your vet even though they aren’t definite signs of fracture. However, expect some problems with assessing the damage on your cat’s paw if you accidentally stepped on her, because they generally don’t like when their paws are touched.
2. If you stepped on her torso
The second place that you could step on is her torso and this can cause some serious problems. A cat’s torso, same as ours, is a place where the most important internal organs are. The ribcage will definitely protect them, but your full body weight may cause damage that could be lethal.
This scenario is hardly ever going to happen, though. Your feline should be lying still on the floor while you’re transferring all of your weight on her. Quite impossible, right? You’ll usually step back whenever you feel something soft under your feet, even though you’re sure it’s not your cat.
We usually kick our felines in their torsos while we’re walking around the house and they’ve decided to follow us around. These kicks are mostly really light and can’t cause serious damage, so you shouldn’t worry about that.
However, if you stepped on her torso a bit harder, it’s possible that she loses her appetite which could indicate that some internal damage happened. Your cat may also become hyper-aggressive and start hissing at you when you approach to help her.
Her breathing may be the problem, so if the whole process requires more energy than usual and you can see that she’s not good, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. This can indicate that she has broken ribs or internal bleeding and that her lungs and a diaphragmatic hernia are damaged.
3. If you stepped on her tail
The third, and I guess the most common body part of your furbaby that you can step on is her tail. So what happens if you accidentally step on your cat’s tail?
Even though your feline’s tail doesn’t look like such an important part of her body, walking over it can cause some pretty concerning injuries. There are a lot of bones, muscles, and nerves in her tail that are quite important for her to lead a normal life.
Most of these help her move her hind limbs and control peeing and defecating. Stepping on any part of her tail is not so common, but if you somehow manage to step on at the base of the tail, she may have some serious issues.
You may damage the bladder part or nerves in her hip area which will make her stay away from her litter box. On the other hand, if you step on her tail closer to its end, and you actually harm her, the worst thing that could happen is that she may need surgery.
Her tail may be hanging limp and you should seek medical attention immediately. After X-Rays and blood tests are done, your vet may give her pain relief and anti-inflammatories to combat the swelling and help your cat soon enough.
I accidentally stepped on my cat and I’m worried she won’t forgive me
Cats don’t hold grudges and soon enough, she’ll forgive you for stepping on her. Of course, she may hesitate in the beginning and stay away from you, but in no time, you’ll cuddle with her again. Yes, you’ll be able to share popcorn with her while you’re watching a movie.
It will definitely take some time for her to completely relaxes and starts behaving normally. Not because she doesn’t trust you, or because she doesn’t like you anymore. She went through a lot of stress, especially if the injury was not so lightweight and she’ll definitely need some time to heal.
Don’t beat yourself up about it
In the end, I have to remind you of this: don’t beat yourself up about it. Accidents happen. Sure, you could avoid the whole I-accidentally-stepped-on-my-cat situation, but the truth is, you didn’t. So try not to focus on worst-case scenarios.
There are more important things that you have to think about now. Like, how are you going to help your kitty heal and how are you going to win her love back, right?