Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
JUMP TO FORUMS ↓
Join The Tripawds Community
Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:
Get the new book by the Tripawds founders for life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Download the e-book, and find fun Be More Dog apparel and gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.
Hello, I figured I would share Fiona’s first week post surgery as it might help future cat parents understand and prepare for the different behaviors after an amputation. We picked Fiona up about 24 hours after her surgery. They gave her a 3-day dose of painkillers and sent us home with Gabapentin. We also went ahead and scheduled her stitches to be removed the following weekend (11 days post surgery). During her time at the vet, they had fed her by hand and she did urinate so I knew we had a window of time to get her settled at home.
At home, Fiona’s “safe space” is under our bed so we made the decision to turn our bedroom into her recovery space. I decked out the space under our bed with soft fleece and down blankets. I put her litter along a runner on one side of the room and her food on the other. When we let her out of her carrier she was very, very whoozy and tumbled right into her water bowl–she then dashed under the bed and didn’t want to engage with us so we let her rest–keeping the room warm and dark. She didn’t growl or hiss–mainly she clearly signaled she wanted to be alone by turning her back on us and we understood. That first night we stayed with her in the room, but decided to move to the guest room so she could have total peace and rest comfortably.
The next morning (Wed) was victory number 1: she drank water! A lot of it. That was a good thing. Our vet checked in that afternoon and I expressed concern about it being nearly 24 hours since she used her litter and we agreed to check in the next day and do an ultrasound at the vet if she had not urinated. She also had not eaten anything since we brought her home. This didn’t surprise me as much as Fiona is a distracted, fussy eater on her best days. Our vet said give her anything. Heat it up so the smell is strong and consider getting rotisserie chicken at the grocery store (despite being a pescatarian myself, I trudged over and got chicken, which of course she had like one bit and turned away so now we have a chicken in our freezer). Hand feeding her was not going great–she just seemed annoyed and kept turning her head so I figured we’d give it some more time. I realized, too, that Fiona wasn’t ready to leave the safety of the bed so I pushed her litter box under the bed to see if that might help drive results in that department.
Thursday morning we had victories number 2 and 3: I discovered she had used her litter box overnight and we finally got her to eat something: Trader Joe’s smoked trout in oil. She also drank more water and ate some kitty treats so a positive day.
Friday and Saturday were more of the same–pee detected in the box and nibbling at different types of food, but not scarfing anything down. (Again, she isn’t like that on normal days so I’m not overly concerned). My heart almost burst with love when I walked in on my husband on his belly hand feeding Fiona cat treats and coaxing her on. I’ve got a really good guy and having him with me through this tough experience–well, I’m just grateful. The final victory came on Sunday morning: she pooped in her litter box! I have to say I’ve never been so excited to clean up cat poop!
Yet she continued to mark all these milestones from the safety and comfort of her under the bed “nest” and we didn’t want to push her. Yesterday (Sunday) she emerged and stood awkwardly on three legs she then crawled up on my lap and my husband and I snuggled with her for about 20 minutes until she was ready to return to the safety underneath the bed. We told her she was our brave girl and I can’t deny I had some tears in my eyes so proud of her progress.
I’m home with her today working, but heading back to the office tomorrow. She is healing up nicely and I’m glad she’s taking this pace of slow, steady recovery. Overall, Fiona has been calm and quiet during her recovery. We’ve let her dictate and direct and that’s worked for us. Hope this recap helps other going through or prepping for this.
22 February 2013
I love, .love, love how you are chronicling her recovery!! It really helps you see her progress, as well as ake note about her potty and eating/drinking habits.
Great job of making the preparations for recovery in her “safe place”. You did a spectacular job! Had to chuckle at you moving into rhe guest room😎 Fuzz is a very well loved and very well cared for kitty!!❤
Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!
Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!
I second that, this is incredibly helpful, thank you for taking time to share! This made me lol:
I have to say I’ve never been so excited to clean up cat poop!
Ain’t that the truth! This recovery puts a whole new light on those things we once took for granted as being ordinary.
You wouldn’t happen to have any photos to share too would you?
@Jerry: Here’s a pic of Fiona chilling in her safe space: https://photos……V2MgeC9Jn9
(I haven’t gotten the hang of posting pics within the forum!)
3 August 2019
So happy to hear that Fiona is well on her way to recovery. I was so distraught and worried when Fuzz had his surgery and feared so many things would go wrong and negatively impact him. I could not have been further from the truth with Fuzz. I believe Fuzz’s recovery has been atypical of most cats, but in all I am simply amazed at how resilient cats are with this major event. If only people could adapt so easily. I still continue to send easy fast healing energy from Fuzz as he continues to bounce around my 3 level house only 3 weeks and 3 days post amputation like literally nothing occurred. I have continued to give Fuzz gabapentin once a day and will slowly start weening him off the medication as from the time I brought him home he has shown no pain/discomfort. Fuzz and his best friend Murphey send lots of love and lots of get well fast wishes!
Get well Fiona, , Fuzz
27 July 2014
Great news Fiona! I think the hardest part of recovery is the body’s reaction to medications and the need to rest in order to heal after a serious operation.
I believe the stairs are quite easy for cats since they are small and agile. Going up is simple for a front-leg amputee and they are initially more cautious going down but they figure it out very quickly.
Life will be so much easier once the stitches are out. Although cats are agile and light on their feet, one less leg makes it a bit harder on their bodies so you might want to consider putting some steps or boxes in places Fiona likes to climb. They help to protect the remaining limbs and prevent face plants. My tripawd Mona didn’t use them initially but began to use them once I showed her each level. She figured out they were for her and began using them all of the time.
Also, look out for some hazards. I had to discouraged Mona from running (hopping) across the 3″ headboard – well, she might have discouraged herself when she slipped and slowly slid off between the mattress and headboard. Thankfully I was there to move the mattress. I ended up plugging the narrow gap with a body pillow.
Enjoy Fiona’s cuddles.
Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona
26 June 2019
Thank you for sharing Fiona’s story. Its so heart warming to hear that shes doing well.
You obviously have a strong conection with her and knew exactly what she needed. Having her warm, cuddly, safe spot to recover in, and letting her move at her own pace. Big victorys this week for fiona on her new adventure!
Lots of love from Moe & I ❤
Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾
My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.
1 October 2017
That is a wonderful update, way to go! And yes, telling the story and sharing this kind of detail is so very helpful for new pawrents coming in. You know your girl so well, she is a lucky kitty to have you two
I cannot even count how many dances we have done in here!! I myself did a jumping up and down for joy when Huck finally let it go
It is really relieving to see things start to function again after such a major surgery. I am thrilled for all of you!
Jackie and Huckleberry
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry