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.
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29 December 2020
I need help. My sweet Ruby just had her rear leg amputated December 10th. She was going to the box regularly and had no out-of-the-box accidents before, nor while she was fresh from surgery and wearing her cone. Shortly after the cone and staples came out, Christmas Eve, she started going just outside the box. She seems to prop her front legs on the rim of the box to squat, relieving herself infront of the entrance. I thought maybe the sides are too tall now for her, maybe she’s unsure? So I got new, senior cat pans with low walls. So far that has done nothing. Today will be a week of this new behavior. She is an only kitty in a quiet condo. She’s 1.5 years old.
I need any guidance. Is it a stability thing? What exercises work her core? Would setting a ledge at the back of the kennel work do you think? Should I switch gears and ditch the box for alternative options? Peepads and astro turf type set ups?
My current retraining method is to clean her mess. Place it inside the pan, then calmly set her in the pan to associate her scent with the inside of the pan, then scooping the waste out. Then setting her back in and giving her love. Is there another method I could try?
She really is the most precious angel and I just want to make life easier for her to use thr pan. Thank you for any help you might have.
Hmmm. I’m not a cat expert by any means but in my non-vet opinion, it’s a combination of her being weakened from the surgery and just tired from moving her body in an all new way. For now, I would try to help her ease into using the litterbox again. These Litterbox Tips for Tripawd Cats are super helpful. I’m guessing you may need to craft a DIY super low litterboxright now.
Your training method makes sense to me but I’m hoping our cat members will chime in with some ideas for you.
As for exercises, oh boy do we have some ideas for you! Take them slow and easy though, you don’t want to overdo it with her since it sounds like she’s having some weakness. Have you seen our Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats e-book yet? Here’s another article to check out:
I hope this helps, let us know what you come up with OK?
1 October 2017
Huck had his right rear leg amputated a little over three years ago and for a long time he seemed to feel more comfortable with something to lean on when he pooped. Our box is larger than the average, it has one low side for entry and the other sides are taller just for that reason. It ended up being good because although not perfect, the cats don’t seem to kick as much litter out of the box.
We had gone through several trying to find one that worked and this for sure has been the best for us. Adding the extra room for him to dig around and get comfortable has helped.
The only other thing I can ask is have you changed cat litters at all? They can be very sensitive to that also. I hope this helps!
Jackie and Huckleberry
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry
27 July 2014
Mona’s litter box had high sides so I had cut one end down so she could walk in. I changed the litter to Yesterdays News as suggested by the vet. Well Mona, a front leg amputee, wasn’t too keen on her new box and litter and initially would balance 3 legs on the rim of the litter box while she tried to go in it. I finally got rid of the new pellets and replaced it with the old used litter I retrieved from a plastic bag in the garbage can. Mona then used the litter box.
Mona’s favourite litter box continued to be the great outdoors.
Hope you find something that works well for your sweet Ruby.
22 February 2013
11 July 2016
Hi and welcome to you and Ruby.
I saw your post in the newsletter;) Sorry, you are having litter issues. Is Ruby pooping outside the box or peeing outside? Both?
We always ask FIRST has the vet ruled out any medical issues?
Here is a post where members posted tips on what has helped their tripawd.
Litter Box Tips for Tripawds – Member Tips
I would also suggest adding Dr. Elsey’s’ cat attract litter to your old litter type to help get ruby back in the box.
Some cats do not like abrupt litter changes. So yes, i have the same question did you switch litter types along with litter box?
If yes – go back to all ways you were doing when Ruby used the box; then we can slowly modify things ok.
We ended up modifying our original litter type box for Purrkins; you will see that in the post above. We now have two boxes cut out placed side by side! Purrkins uses one to pee in and one to poop in. Purrkins is a front leg amp, and depending on where his business lands on whether he can adequately cover it or not. If he can’t, he hops out and uses the other box.
We added the ramp because Purrkins stands to poop. There is very little lip on our litter box for him to balance on one leg. The ramp provides a more prominent perch for that front leg, and then Purrkins uses it to get out w/o hopping out after pooping.
When we have switched litter or litter boxes etc., we have given our boys a choice, and nothing is a forced change. Let Ruby decide and tell you what works for her. She is telling you this is not ideal. Rule out medical first, and the rest is troubleshooting/detective work with Ruby as your guide.
Also, here is a post on Feline Rehab– things you can do at home to slowly build up strength.
Hopefully, something here helps you and Ruby!
Give Ruby a chin scratch from us, please!
Holly & Purrkins💝💝💝