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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Keeping Daredevil Kitty Safe
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Member Since:
6 May 2022
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6 May 2022 - 4:22 am
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Hi Tripawds community!

I am thankful this community exists. I’ve learned a lot from reading other’s posts. About a month ago I adopted two, 8 month old kittens, one of whom had recently had a leg amputation due to a congenital malformed knee in her rear leg. I adopted her with the idea that I would need to place steps and ramps to assist her in safely getting around, but she is more of a daredevil than her four-legged brother. She was the first one to jump from the counter into a cupboard, climb up and fall off the mantle, and launch herself off the upstairs railing to the stairs below. I want her to stay safe but she literally has no concept of self-preservation. I’ve thought about trying to block off access to any high locations, but I’m concerned she will just find a way still and it will be even more dangerous. Plus her brother is very athletic and right behind her in all her explorations. I’ve considered lining my house with bean bags or wrapping her in bubble wrap, those feel excessive and impractical. I know people say to not worry because cats always land on their feet, but what if they only have three feet to land on? Am I being an overprotective mom? 
Thanks for any insight you have from living with your seasoned tripawds!

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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6 May 2022 - 12:09 pm
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Hi Skittles Mom, welcome! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away. 

We are thankful YOU found US! And for adopting Skittles too (and her brother!). You ask GREAT and IMPORTANT questions!! Yes, cats land on their feet when they fly around but you are exactly right, when there's only 3 of them you're upping the odds of something bad happening.

Yes, it is really hard to keep any young animal with 3 or 4 legs from doing what comes naturally, especially when there's a co-conspirator of the same age! No need to go the bubble wrap route because well, that's impossible right? So in my not-the-cat-expert opinion, doing those things you have thought about, like blocking off access to high locations, is spot on. You've got to start somewhere and see what happens. The more you can give her ways to scramble up and have soft landings when she comes down, the better. Cats are smart, they learn how to do things the easy way and in time she will understand what those easier paths are in your home.

Have you seen our e-book Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats ? Also check out Purrkins and Huckleberry'sblogs for some great pointers. And stay tuned because they're very likely to chime in here with some more ideas. 

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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6 May 2022 - 9:43 pm
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Hi and welcome!

I have to admit to laughing a little when I read your post...not at you though!  I'm not a cat parent but my current Tripawd is a little Pug Mutt who lost a back leg at 7 months old- I adopted her at 10 months old.  She was full of mischief (from the Pug) and puppy energy, zooming around the house, flying up and down the stairs, jumping on and off furniture.  I've had small dogs for years so I already had little stairs or stools near all the furniture Elly is allowed on- but did she use them.... NO!  I worked with her, when she was calm, to use the stairs and stools with lots of treats.  I also taught her to wait at the top or bottom of the stairs until I called her to eliminate extra steps.  She is now about 7.5 years old and much better about using the tools I have in place.  For some things though I think only a bit of maturity slowed her down.

I have no idea what you do for a kitten though.  Maybe make the routes you want her to take more fun and attractive? The fun toys are only available in safe places?

I'm sure our kitty parents will have better input for you and your new crew.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Member Since:
6 May 2022
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7 May 2022 - 6:59 am
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Yes! She doesn’t use them! I too have benches and steps from my previous senior cat, but she much prefers to take the hard way. For example, she and her brother were on the table and I drug their toy down the bench to the floor. Her brother, Pete, used the bench, but Skittles jumped straight to the floor. It’s like she’s saying, “Anything you can do I can do better.” Both of them chase each other up and down the staircase and climb up the bookshelf for fun. It’s great to see her having fun and all but she’s going to give me a heart attack, lol. 

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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7 May 2022 - 12:28 pm
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Yeah it's scary to watch how fearless they can be, cats even more than dogs tend to give us heart attacks!

YAY for having a senior cat equipped house. All the things we do for Tripawds, we do for senior pets too. Only for Tripawds we do them sooner. How did your senior cat take to using them? Did you need to train him/her to climb steps and use perches/landings?

Member Since:
6 May 2022
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14 May 2022 - 12:51 pm
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Just an update. Skittles is gaining more strength and thereby increasing her balance. This is really helping her keep from falling. I have a rehab appointment this week so hopefully will be able to help her even more. 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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14 May 2022 - 9:30 pm
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Good job Skittles👍   And it gets better and better, espe with some guidance  from the Rehab  visit. 

Let us know how it goes.  We would love to see video or photos of the appointment. 


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!

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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15 May 2022 - 3:06 pm
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Ooooh pawesome news! She's making big steps every day. Isn't that so nice, when you don't have constantly cringe after stumbles?

I can't wait to hear about your rehab visit this week. Not enough people take their kitties to rehab therapy so we are always interested in learning more when a member does go.

Be sure to take advantage of the Tripawds Foundation Rehab Reimbursement Grant!

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