The question in the title was asked by a member of the Catster website. The legs that she is referring to are the hind legs as the front legs are working normally. There were no good answers to the question so thought I’d try and answer the question for her. Although I am not a veterinarian I have lots of books and I remember this particular health topic from previous research.
The cat in question has been x-rayed and been seen by veterinarian. He is on medication which is probably corticosteroids. There appear to be two possible outcomes. Either the cat has a mild contusion (bruising) of the spinal cord in which case the nerves will begin to recover in a few days or the cord has been severed in which case paralysis will be permanent.
I would have thought an x-ray would detect whether the spinal-cord has been severed or not but, as mentioned, I’m not a veterinarian so don’t know the answer that. I would have thought also that the veterinarian would have been able to assess that. Apparently the sensitivity and pain is in the middle of the back which appears to be where the cat was hit by the car thereby bruising the spinal cord.
The lady does not mention any problems with her cat’s tail. The tail is not paralysed and there is no urinary or faecal incontinence. This can happen when a car runs over a cat’s tail which pulls apart the vertebra thereby stretching the nerves that serve the bladder, rectum and tail.
On the basis of what she says, it would seem that there’s a good chance that the spinal cord has been bruised and will recover. She hinted in the question that she may have to euthanise her cat (or that is the impression I got) which would be incorrect because even a paralysed cat can be a great companion and well looked after.
Link to the Catster question