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Bowlegged 12 wk kitten

My 1st post must be a question. I've found a lot of interesting stuff here and thank you all for sharing so much.
Our 12 wk old mixed kitten seemingly has bowed back legs. I noticed it several weeks ago and asked the Vet. The Vet couldn't tell anything as Relena was jumping all over the room. When she's just walking she has a sortof Marilyn Monrow-ish wiggle from behind and looks like she's been riding a horse too long. It doesn't seem to bother her as she runs like a streak of lightning and jumps on everything .
Any thoughts? Worries me a bit.


Staff member
It is not terribly unusual for a cat to be cow hocked or bow legged, and for a house pet should not present any serious physical issues. However, I have seen kittens look like this that seem to grow out of it in time. If you can, try to stretch her out by putting one hand under her front legs and one under her hind legs. As you stretch the legs out see how they align. Normally the legs will be parallel to each other, with cow hocked or bowed legs the legs will either point away from each other or cross. Below is a link to a very lengthy and detailed discussion on cow hocking and touches on bowed legs as well. Slides 110 - 114 give you an idea of what I am talking about when I suggest stretching the cat out to look at her conformation:


That is a really interesting article, but what cracked me up was that they put a "mask" on all the cats who had malformed legs lol Kinda like the way they black out the face on badly dressed women in magazines? I doubt the cats know the difference, though.

John Popp

Site Supporter
Pretty sure our boy isn't now legged although I'll see him walk or sit with his legs in all sorts of crazy positions. It's as if he has nothing restraining the direction of his feet or legs at times. I'm probably hyper aware of it post his injury, but have concluded he is just super flexible.

SV Dad

Savannah Super Cat
When she's just walking she has a sort of Marilyn Monrow-ish wiggle from behind and looks like she's been riding a horse too long. It doesn't seem to bother her as she runs like a streak of lightning and jumps on everything.
Like JP said above, mine can walk and look funny at times, and have various contortions. But if your cat is blazing fast and jumping all over...... Sounds like a normal savannah to me!:)

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
As Patti says, I doubt it is a problem...unless the bowing out of the legs might lead to joint instability... if your vet could have someone scruff the kitten to keep her still he/she could manipulate the legs and see if the hips and knees are all good.

It could also be that the kitten's legs are just gangly and look funny and as she grows it will all straighten out :)
So many answers, wow, you really are a close group. Thank you all. I will check out the site Patti mentioned right now. She is quite gangly and her back legs are longer than her front...maybe that's why she can jump so high .........sometimes rough landing tho', hate to laugh at her but I do !
As for the 'scruff' I've been using that to help train her (along with a deep growl, sometimes just the growl will do) and she gets it pretty fast.
Guess she's a teenager now tho'...she will stare at me while trying to sneak what ever it was she was in trouble for.
Don't know if she's part Savannah, she's adopted. She looks a lot lie the picts here tho'. And her behavior makes me think she' part Savannah.
Thanks again !!!!
Just finished Pati's article, Relena does seem bowlegged. Loved the masks !
Very interesting article, Thanks.