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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She told me to post this angry selfie and excoriate ALL followers for lack of serious bids on her used cone..
Princess Raven! I know!!! Did you see how hard I tried to raise the bid and all those selfish kitty’s wanted to do was burn…! Burn…! Burn…!!! LOVE THIS FACE!!! 😂
I told her that wasn’t nice, and her choice of language was likely against forum rules. I’m embarrassed that she’s turned into just another bratty celebrity. We raised her better.
Hehehe, you should here my filthy mouth!!! 😲
Fortunately, Raven is doing great physically. She’s doing everything she did before without any serious limitations. We keep checking her for additional mass growth, and she has follow-on appointments around the corner. All joking aside, she really seems pretty content. Happy and healthy!
Excellent news!! Well done all of you!!!
I posted earlier that Raven’s thread wouldn’t die anytime soon, then I immediately let her thread die. Sorry!
Dont ever be sorry Mark! We are just smothering Mother’s who want to make sure that you are all okay!
Later on, I intend to post a “lessons learned” piece on Raven’s recovery, engage some valuable comments posted by others earlier in the thread, and talk more about tripawd life after recovery. But I am juggling some other priorities right now, and that might take a while.
You know we will look forward to these in your less busy future! Please, no rush!
All the very best to you and your family. Extra cuddles to Princess Raven.
1 October 2017
OMC… LOVE IT!!!!!!! That is a face that should be framed. If I had an emoticon like that for every time somebody @@issed me off I would use it every day!!!
So very glad all is well, give big smooches to that kissy face please. I hope that everything smooths out and works out for all of you.
Huckleberry and crew
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry
Petra & Sally did try Raven we just had more kitties voting of course all cats wanted to see the cone burn! Your still a
We can resume the bid when you & dad return & we kitties will butt out;)
Don’t worry about Ravens thread it will never go anywhere, take care of the family we can all only do so much why we are a community;)
Look forward to the “Lesson’s learned and the duct tape usage trial & errors” .
Don’t juggle us take us off your list. Take care of yourself the Warden, Raven, Abby & the rest of the family & health issues.
Glad to hear all is well with Wolverine Raven!
Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way!
Hugs, Holly & Purrkins
Hope Raven and the family are doing well? All of Ravens precious pictures have gone missing?
Give the kitties chin scratches from us please! Update us when you can!
Holly & Purrkins
“WHO TOOK DOWN MY PICTURES!!!?”
Hi Holly! Yes, unfortunate.. the pics really were half the fun, weren’t they?
I didn’t mean to disappear after Raven’s recovery. Immediately after recovery, we experienced some unfortunate events to include a death in the family, and another family member in hospice. When it rains, it pours. We’ve been quite busy! I’ve had the intention of doing a “lessons learned” post about Raven’s experience, but it’s been floating at the bottom of the priority list the last few months.
I’m glad I’m still subscribed to this thread. The short update on Raven is she’s been doing great! Super active, and seems quite happy. Multiple vet checks/scans have been clear of trouble so far. That’s a relief, because I was suspicious from the get-go that the cancer would reoccur shortly after the procedure.
Raven is a total success story so far. We are blessed. I’ll be back to post more when things calm down a bit.
Thanks for checking on us!
22 February 2013
RAVEN!!! Loooooove that expression of yours! It says it all!! REALLY glad to see you are your feisty xelf!
.ark, we completely understand your not being able to check in. Just really sorry you and your @oved ones are going through such a sad time.
We are all sending a group hug and holding you in our thoughts for better days ahead.
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!
Glad to hear Raven is doing so well and all clear! WHOO HOO! That is fantastic!
The pictures were fun and educational both! We look forward to your lessons learned post!
Our sincere sympathies to you and your family!
Treats for Raven keep it up girl! Thank you for the update!
Holly & Purrkins
17 September 2017
Echoing the sentiments of everyone else. So glad Raven is doing so well that you don’t need to be on here. It is always good to hear from everyone and know things are positive.
We are so sorry your family has had to go through so much in such a short period of time. In our thoughts and prayers.
Head scritches and sandpaper kisses,
Gina, Nick, and Rusty
Rusty "The Bunnyman" adopted us in 2014. Aug/Sept 2017, back left leg amputated (HSA cancer). He is cancer free, at least for now. He is hopping around, getting spoiled by Mommy Gina & Daddy Nick, new tripawd parents who are still learning! Head Scritches & Sandpaper kisses for all his fellow tripawds!
Lovely to see you Mark and Oh Raven, with a picture and a face like that, how could we not say… ‘give us a kiss!”
Really good news that Raven is ALL CLEAR!! That’s the kind of news that we all want to hear around here!!!
Im very sorry for your families loss Mark. Never a need to apologize for not being around.
All the best
Petra, Stewie and his Pride
Wow! it’s been almost an entire year.
It has been fun revisiting this thread. I intended to post a bunch more after Raven’s recovery, but we’ve had a rather bizarre run of bad luck the past year. We lost three immediate family members between our two families in an 8-month period of time, and spent a bunch of time away from home as a result. We’ve been quite busy, so say the least.
So the good news is, during this awful time, Raven had a great year. She recovered nicely, and quickly got back to her VERY active lifestyle. I was quite astounded by it all. I was initially obsessed with setting up the house to accommodate her “disability.” Maybe a handicap access litter box? Stairsteps for high perch areas? Maybe I should carry her around more to preserve her energy? Well, Raven was having none of it.
So one of her favorite sleeping spots is my office desk, which offers window sunbathing, exciting views of sidewalk passersby (sometime s waving at her), birds, pets being walked, etc. The problem is the desktop sits 28 inches high off the ground. My solution was to create a stairstep situation for her, but she didn’t want to use it. She kept trying to launch herself to the desk from ground level like she always did, but with just that one little leg. I have one of those big, L-shaped desks that sits in a corner, and her launch spot was in a blind spot behind me, so these launch attempts usually caught me surprise. I’d hear a meow, front claws tapping the desk, then the boom/crash of her falling to the floor. “Damnit Raven! Stop that! Use the handicap access!” Then I would pick her up and put her on the desk. She never gave up. After about 3 months she was launching herself on the desktop with that one leg! Incredible. Keep in mind, this cat is tiny (5-6 lbs). Athletic phenom Michael Jordan has a 46 inch vertical leap, which is an incredible 59 % of his generous height. Now imagine if he could more than double his height jumping with one leg? That’s what Raven did. Unknown to me, she charted out her own workout routine and accomplished her self-directed physical therapy rehab goals. Needless to say, nothing else in the house was a challenge to her as a tripawd vs. her old self. Pretty funny that I was concerned about the 6-inch step to clear the litterbox threshold. ALL concerns I had about her post-recovery issues turned out to be needless worry.
Raven’s year after recovery was bliss! She was a very active, happy, loving life pet. Unfortunately, a few months back, an ultrasound detected abnormalities in her liver. Fortunately, Raven did not seem to exhibit any symptoms at all. No signs of pain. This month, an ultrasound detected a mass on her liver, which was biopsied as cancer. We were told she had a shot at a good outcome with surgery. We took her in for surgery last week, and they discovered her liver was quite diseased and she had other inoperable masses on liver. Post-op was problematic, her blood pressure dropped, and she spent an agonizing three days in the ICU trying to correct that problem. We spared no expense trying to do every procedure they could reasonably do for Raven, but it got to a point where a good outcome was no longer possible. I’m sorry to say we lost Raven at the hospital Friday. She passed away at the hospital in my arms purring.
I am so sorry to return after a long break and relay this sad news. But I must say I am not overwhelmed with sadness today, because Raven’s overall time with us was a happy, uplifting, and fulfilling given context not yet available on this thread. It’s a cool story, IMO, so I feel compelled to share a little to offset Friday’s sad news.
So I’ll do a follow-up post on Raven’s Bio. It will be cathartic for me, and hopefully cheer up a few folks who for some strange reason enjoy reading my rants about a spunky kitty.
Biography of a Spunky Kitty
So I have a tripawds confession to make. I am not what you would call a “cat guy.”
I am sorry to say I have a common defect found in many men in that I am not a genetically-wired cat lover. I grew up with dogs. This is a common source of banter between the wife and I. She: “Cats rule!” Me: “Yeah? Find me a story about a cat rescuing its owner after falling through the ice on a frozen lake? Where’s the loyalty!?” Of course, this is all in good fun.
So cats, to me, have always been about keeping the wife happy. We adopted two after much lobbying by her shortly after we married. My initial impressions were “Well, they poop in a box, don’t need to be walked, and sleep 25 hrs a day, so this is not so bad.” The longest surviving of the pair lived to be 19! Getting adopted by my wife is like winning the kitty lottery. Gold-plated medical care, premiere nutrition, smothered with love, and easy living, thus promoting long lifespans.
It wasn’t long after the last of the pair passed that the wife started visiting the kitty shelter on a regular basis. “Hey, I need you to come checkout these two perfect kitties!” Here we go again. She described their histories on the drive over. Raven was eight years-old and this was her second long stay at the shelter, meaning she was adopted there, and then taken back. I was a bit worried about this. “Should we be adopting a repeat offender? Maybe something’s wrong with that cat?” The warden felt bad for her because the shelter said they have a hard time finding a home for black cats. So we get escorted to the kitty petting room, which is a big room where you can interact with all of the cats. Ellen points out Raven, “See! She’s so cute and tiny! She’s like a little kitten!” The shelter volunteer lady said “Yup, that little one just rules the whole roost!” I thought that was just a cute thing to say about a little cat. Ever have those moments in life when you should have listened to someone more carefully, or taken them a little more seriously?This was one of those moments for me. More on that later.
So we adopt Abby and Raven. The shelter was thrilled that hard-luck Raven had finally found a home.
Things were not so lovely in the beginning. They were very scared of us. Raven was dirty/stinky, and they both had viruses and both required a good bit of vet care from the get-go. Raven had extensive dental work. It didn’t take Raven too long to figure out she now had a home, and all the love she had ever wanted from my wife. She absolutely loved to be kissed on and petted, and a codependent lovefest blossomed with her and my wife. Problem: Raven now perceived Abby as a threat. It is as if she saw love as a zero-sum game. If Abby got some, it meant less for her, and maybe she thought the loser of this perceived competition got taken back to the shelter. Raven began attacking Abby on a regular basis. Odd, because Abby is a big, powerful Turkish Van, and is at least twice Abby’s size. But Raven was quick, determined, fought dirty, and easily outmatched Abby with her superior street skills. So now I understand what the shelter volunteer was talking about. Raven really DID rule the roost, even as the smallest kitty in a crowded room of shelter cats. Pretty impressive.
Things got much better as the months went by. They both got much healthier with vet treatments, and thrived with better nutrition and overall care. Raven figured out there was plenty of love to go around, and no longer saw Abby as a threat. They adopted each other as sisters, and became inseparable. They napped together, groomed each other, and seemed overall very content as they settled in their new home. Cats really seem to feed on the energy of their environment, and these two clearly benefited from being in a home vs. shelter. One small wrinkle—Raven was terrified of me. Stayed that way for two years. We’ve speculated about the possibility she was abused by a man in her previous life. Sometimes the mere sight of me entering the room would send her to running to a hiding spot. But, no big deal, the cats were primarily there for my wife, and they all got along splendidly.
Then life for us took a turn. My wife had to leave for a few months to care for an ailing family member, and parallel with that, Raven started developing health problems. She started pooping all over the house, which is a hell of a problem to contend with! So I’m at home solo, and now find it my task to capture this skittish kitty, put her in a carrier, and haul her off for multiple vet hospital visits. Very expensive, and diagnostically extensive hospital visits. Diagnosis: GI lymphoma (low grade, treatable cancer). Treatment: daily pills. Pills? Oh, God! Not pills! This cat will barely let me touch her! I still remember that first pill at home. My strategy was to lock her in the bathroom with me and I resolved not open the door again until the pill was in the kitty belly. That took an hour. I don’t know how many YouTube “how to pill a cat” videos I watched, but none of those techniques worked on Raven. With daily practice, I was able to figure out a system of incentives, encouragement, leverages, tactics, etc. that eased this chore significantly. I was able to associate pills with love and food in Raven’s mind, and things got a lot better. It got to the point I think Raven actually enjoyed the challenge of fighting with me a bit, and then indulging herself with food and love. Not unlike two buddies arm wrestling, and then enjoying a beer together afterward. Oddly, the vet visits and daily pilling seemed to bring us closer together, and I seemed to gain her trust after so much daily interaction with her. I told the wife if she didn’t put me in for “Husband of the Year” for my ordeal during her absence, I was quitting. But it was a good year for Raven and I.
Then, a year later, we have the vaccine induce sarcoma, which is well documented on this thread. What a time that was! I really thought Raven was going to hate us for putting her through that ordeal, but it was actually quite the opposite. She seemed to really understand we were trying to help her, and she basked in all of the special attention we gave her as she got better. We developed an even deeper bond through this shared experience. In the end, she learned I was a good guy looking out for her best interest. I learned the skittish, weird kitty we adopted had the admirable qualities of bravery and an indomitable spirit. We’ve been best buddies for the past year. A lovefest born of mutual respect. We had a great, great year together since her leg operation.
Of course, it is unfortunate that Raven had to deal with all of this cancer. The GI lymphoma, vaccine sarcoma, and the liver cancer were all unrelated to each other. It was just terrible luck. Nonetheless, Raven’s time with us outside of the vet was extremely high quality. I know for a fact she felt she landed in paradise in the last years of her life after the rough years in and out of the shelter. All she ever wanted was a loving home. She got it! And we got a lot from her. She was a very entertaining, unique cat. She taught us a lot about caregiving, mental toughness, stamina, problem solving, and compassion, which prepared us well before we had to navigate VERY tough times coming to the aid of our families. In many ways, Raven and us seemed like a match made in heaven. So maybe you understand why I said I’m not overwhelmed by sadness today. Raven’s time with us is a success story, not a tragedy. I hope that takes the edge off Friday’s bad news.
God, I loved that cat. Maybe I’m a “cat guy” after all.
Some Lesson Learned
I’m deeply indebted to this wonderful website. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. I thought maybe the best way I could give back to this community, and honor Raven, would be to express a few lessons learned from our experience in the hope it provides a little hope somebody out there dealing with this tough situation. A few thoughts..
1. Tough decisions: You have my deepest sympathies if you’ve just been told by your vet the best course of treatment is to amputate your pet’s leg. This is awful, agonizing news. Trust me, I feel your pain. Amputation seems radical (it is). To be honest, when I got this news, I pondered whether it was ethical to do this to my cat. This will make me unpopular here perhaps, but I wondered if euthanizing Raven might be in her best interest. People differ on this matter, but I think we can all agree there is a line somewhere you don’t want to cross where medical intervention causes more suffering than you want to put a poor animal through. It’s a dilemma. And in my opinion, the calculus is different for animals than people. The fact they can’t provide consent, communicate pain, or talk through their anxiety makes major medical intervention a dicey issue for pets. My bottom-line was I wanted to do what was in Raven’s best interest. Two things helped me. 1. My vet told me cats typically have good outcomes and quality of life with amputation. 2. She directed me to this website. I spent hours reading stories on tripawds, and was convinced it was in Raven’s best interest to proceed with amputation. Raven’s results were typical with the majority you can read here—she was happy, and had excellent QOL as a tripawd. I have no regrets! So my best advice to you is to take advantage of this wonderful resource and read the stories, and have confidence your pet’s outcome will likely be as successful as the majority in this community.
2. The sleepless night. This is the night before the operation where you feel so bad about what’s about to happen to your pet. Your last night before he/she loses a leg. Please don’t sweat it. Unlike humans, I’ve noticed animals don’t have the capacity to feel sorry for themselves. Know that you’re doing your pet a good deed by prolonging his/her life, and that life will be a good life as a tripawd. Again, this site is a great resource for that confidence. Give yourself a break, and get some sleep. You’ll need it!
3. Homecoming preparations. Plan on being busy, especially the first week while your pet convalesces. Clear your schedule, arrange time off with your employer, run all of your errands, and stock up at the grocery store. That’s my best advice. Caring for your pet may be more time consuming than you imagine beforehand. Strategize on recovery accommodations for your pet that restricts activity. Big dog kennels are popular, though it didn’t work for my cat because she hated confinement. If that’s also the case for your cat, I found clearing a spare room of jumpable temptations worked pretty well. Lining the floor with a canvas paint drop cloth helps too–your cat may be prone to potty accidents the first few days. On to useful products…
4. Useful product #1—Nature’s Miracle Disposable Litter Box. Excellent for recovering cats. Comes as a 3-pack. Cuts like cardboard, so you can use a utility knife to carve out handicap access.
5. Useful product #2—Dr. Elsey’s Cat Litter. Wound-friendly, hypo-allergenic cat litter. Doesn’t clump well, but won’t get into your cat’s wound like sandy/dirty variety cat litter.
6. Useful product #3—Dog pee pee pads.
Great for lining kennels, and for placing food dishes and small litter boxes on. Handles spills very well. Disposable. Added bonus: Both of our cats loved lying down on the pads. You’ll do a lot of cleaning up during recovery. These help.
7. Useful product #4—Grooming wipes. Your cat’s daily licking routine will take a hit during recovery. These help. And your cat will appreciate staying clean during recovery and conehead days.
8. Useful product #4—Old Grand-Dad 114. Human sedative, sleep aid, and problem minimizer. Don’t exceed recommended dose.
9. Coping skills. I’m not qualified to dispense psychological advice, but I can tell you what has worked for me during a difficult year of challenges. It is the very simple idea of focusing only on the next decision and/or step ahead of you and giving it your very best each step of the way. And resolve to never become exasperated and never give up. That’s it. Similar to the old saying that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. If you commit to never stop chewing, you will eventually conquer any challenge this way. Again, my first suggested step is to read this forum and start educating yourself. Nobody here had a clue about pet amputations and recovery when they first logged on, and they got through this ordeal just fine with a little help from the community. You will too.
10. Don’t fret too much about your mistakes. Despite the best of intentions, we allowed Raven to violate EVERY instruction given to us for post-surgery. We had a very tough time keeping her inactive. She busted stitches, and I thought for sure there would be follow-on infections and/or wound issues. She recovered splendidly nonetheless. If you feel like you’re screwing everything up, I would suggest starting at the first post of this thread, and then read forward. You will then feel much better about yourself! Bonus: some entertainment at my expense.
11. Be careful who you confide in. My wife encountered some inappropriate judgement at work when she told a coworker about Raven’s amputation. Unfortunately, the world is full of people who deem themselves fit to opine on the choices of others without full command of the facts. In this context, there are people who will have instant opinions about proceeding with pet amputation and/or the cost of the procedure. Ignore them. Only you and your veterinarian know what’s best for your pet. If you need helpful, knowledgeable support and advice, this community is your resource.
12. Gratitude. How cool is this website? I am so grateful for the existence of this community, and all of the help I got along the way. It is really heartwarming for me to see people coming together to help each other like this. Definitely a bright spot in the vast jungle of internet interactions! They are always trying to raise money on that front page. What a wonderful opportunity to support a very worthy cause! Maybe read up on their wonderful assistance programs, and set a reminder to donate after the dust settles post-recovery and those vet bills get paid off.
Thank you, Tripawds! My time spent with you has been wonderful. What a lovely community!
All the best,
You know I got these emails and knew I did not want to open them!
We are so sorry to hear Raven had to get her Wings. She was a rockstar kitty on three legs, and her humans are brilliant. You always wrote wonderfully and in the worst of times carried on with humor. We always enjoyed reading what Raven was up to next. I agree her life was a celebration and what a warrior kitty!
Wow, three cancers that SUCKS and yes they warned us of this in oncology. Cancer can come back in different types and different places that is why we do rechecks with Purrkin like you did with Raven. It is not all that popular with kitties, but hey we took a leg we feel it is the least we can do. We hope god forbid it decides to come back we can help Purrkins but cancer has it’s own rules. We do the best we can and try.
I love the story how you were not a cat person. I don’t think I have shared this here ever, but I was not a cat person either at one time;) Yes we can all be converted and to love and be loved by a cat or dog both are gifts from above no matter the species!
Thanks for writing all this Mark you know you will help countless people here by doing so! Raven will always be remembered here!! Do you remember I was asking for Ravens photos post 154? I could not share then why.
We wanted them for a book we were working on Cool tips or Tripawd Cats The Tripawds Feline Amputation Recovery and Care Handbook,
Raven story is in the book FYI. So know she is and will continue to help others in this post and in the book. The book links to this post so all you wrote and all of Raven’s story and recovery will help countless kitties. So PLEASE leave the photos of Raven on this time ok;) Here is a screenshot of Raven’s story in the book. (I hope it is ok that I’m sharing this)
Big Hugs to you and the Warden and thank you for sharing all this with us and the community & we will celebrate Raven’s life and look up knowing she is having all sorts of fun on 4 pain-free and cancer free thanking her people for giving her such a wonderful life on 4 and 3!! Until you meet one day again!!
Run free Raven we will miss you!
Holly & Purrkins❤️
25 April 2007
Sorry for the font and terrible formatting….
Absolutely no need to apologize! We took care of that. FYI: Copying content from other sites or applications can cause unexpected results since hidden style tags also get pasted in with the copied text.
Thank you so much for the update, and for sharing these tips. They will prove valuable to others, and always remain here. So sorry to hear about the challenges you family has faced this past year.
And thank you for your generous contribution to the Tripawds Foundation . We’ll use one of these photos and include a link to this topic in your Tripawds Honor Roll Tribute. Or, feel free of course to reply to our email with anything you wish to include.