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Three Legged Cat Litterbox Tips for New Tripawd Cats

What is the best three legged cat litterbox? We learn so much from our Tripawd Kitty members! Every new Forums Discussion about three legged cats helps us expand our knowledge so that we can help future felines who join our community. A recent discussion about Tripawd Cat Litterbox Issues was super enlightening!

Litterbox tips for tripawd cats

In this discussion, Sherman’s Mom writes:

He is doing GREAT, he runs and plays and is thriving. . . The only issue is when he is in the litterbox, he seems to have phantom leg issues and tries to cover up his “business”  using his amputated leg. He seems to get frustrated and gets his shoulder closer and closer to the litter trying to move it and cover it up.  He sometimes ends up getting litter on his face and his belly, and he seems really frustrated.  Then eventually he seems to realizes that leg won’t work, and uses his other front leg. It makes me sad to see him struggle, is there some sort of therapy or training I can do with him to help him?

Litterbox tips for tripawd cats

It wasn’t long before our helpful Tripawds kitty members chimed in with suggestions, including:

Litterbox tips for tripawd cats

If your new Tripawd cat is having a hard time with the litterbox, don’t despair. Tripawd kitties are smart and know how to overcome temporary challenges like litterbox woes. Be patient and you’ll soon be amazed by your Tripawd cat’s resiliency. These member blog posts will also give you hope:

Bathrooming Battles (and Litterbox Hacks for Tripawds)

My Cliff’s Notes version, based on what I’ve tried so far:

  • Pellet litter may be slippery. Clay or something like wheat or corn litter may be a better choice (though note: if there are any wounds or incisions still open, litter may stick to them, so something organic and non-clumping is likely to be your best bet).
  • Cats, especially limited-mobility cats, really like to have an entrance and a SEPARATE exit path from the litterbox. To help your tripawd feel extra comfortable, provide them with more than one way to get in/out of the box.
  • Low sides are essential, but are likely to contribute to mess.
  • Use floor protectors, cheap rugs, old towels, heavy-duty rubber litter mats, etc. to help contain the mess and save your floors/sanity.

“Surgery and Immediate Post-Op”

. She used her litterbox with no problem, but covering her poop did not happen. I did help her with that.

“Smore and I are Back”

She plays with her toys and honestly, the fact that she only has three legs doesn’t get in the way or slow her down. We’ve made a few adjustments for it – namely in pillows and boxes for step downs and a larger litter box. . . . What seemed like a death sentence then was really a chance at life.


“No More Cabinet Climbing”

“mom took the time to set up pet stairs and make a litter box with lower sides just for me.  Did I ever use them?  Nope.  (Sorry, mom.)  I guess I am a little bit stubborn.  Call me a creature of habit, but I thought enough had changed with the missing leg.  I needed everything else to stay the same!  Sure, I made a mess with the litter box a time or two, but that’s all good now. “

We Can Officially Do the Dance!

“So excited that it looks like she’s back on the road to normalcy!!!!!! It was like a lead weight released itself off my shoulders and landed in the litter box!”

“Onwards and Upwards”

“Crumble was right paw dominant.  Using the litter tray, batting a toy, testing the water in her bowl, climbing – all of these were approached with the right paw first.  We watched as the ghost leg would reach out the stump wave back and forth, before confused, she would switch legs to use her left struggling to hold her balance and visibly aggravated by the lack of expected outcome from the missing leg.  The first steps were for us to take; we needed to learn how to read her better and not panic when she fell or run toward her when she growled to find out what was happening.”

“Day 3”

“so we haven’t been terribly bent out of shape about him not going #2 since he’s been home..  but remember his displeasure with his tiny litter boxes… today he got into the laundry room and before we found him, he’d hopped into his old box, spun around a few times, squatted and did his biz!  My husband and I literally high-fived, and then took a moment to wonder how this was our life.. HAHA.”

“Here’s what I did to help her poop.”

“After a long night, B did pee and poop Sunday morning! Here’s what I did for anyone interested. . . Crossing my fingers for another “movement” soon. Wow, the things I didn’t think I would have to be doing today lol”

Do you have Tripawd kitty tips to share? Hop over to the Tripawds Discussion Forums and let us know, we always want to learn from our feline friends!

12 thoughts on “Three Legged Cat Litterbox Tips for New Tripawd Cats”

  1. Hi, my cat is due to have his left front leg amputated in a week – he is 12 yrs old. I’d like to know how many owners let their cats go back outside once they have 3 legs? He doesn’t venture far, only the back garden & occasionally the neighbours … very pleased to have joined this site, it doesn’t feel so scary now.

    • Hi Luci, sorry to hear about your kitty. We are glad you found us though! Regarding being an outdoor cat, this is what I told Sephy’s human: we highly recommend building a catio to keep her safe from predators. As a three-legged animal she will be extra vulnerable so this sounds like an opportunity to train her to be an indoor cat? I know that’s hard but worth the effort.

  2. My kitty got his front leg amputated a few years back. He’s always been quite athletic and that has not changed. He’s still quite capable but he does fall occasionally and can’t quite do everything the same as he used to. I’m having to move into a small studio apartment and I’m considering getting one of those top opening litter boxes but I’m just not sure if that’s a horrible idea for him? I know this isn’t a new amputee question but I would love some advice! Thanks.

  3. Hi everyone! My tripawed cat is doing great ( aptutation in December) but he can NOT aim in the litter box. There is pee everywhere! Any advice? We have a covered box and an uncovered box.

  4. I have recently adopted a 3 legged cat. Peeing on the rug. Sometimes litter box. Have another inside cat. Does he need his own? Missing RF leg.

  5. My kitten had a rear leg amputated at 4 months. He has been home with us for about 2. He is doing amazing except for the pooping issue. He almost always falls into it. He has gotten over the baths and is starting to like them, but poop all over the house is a different story. Any tips would be appreciated

  6. Those are great tips for new kitty tripawds, especially “Be Patient”. I’m sure it’ll be appreciated.

    Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona


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