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.
My name is Jackie, I am Huckleberry’s new mama. Huckleberry is a feral kitty that started visiting our yard about a year ago. My husband David and I have been feeding and caring as much for him as possible.. without him allowing us to touch him, lol. Huckleberry disappeared on us for a little over 3 weeks and I thought for sure I would never see him again. We found a trap neuter release program but it looked like we might have been too late… until he showed up again (finally) looking very thin and limping really badly. He spent the next couple of weeks pretty much living full time in our yard. We put out a bed for him and fed him several times daily hoping he would recover from whatever happened to him. I found somebody in our neighborhood that volunteered with this trap neuter program, and she loaned me a trap and a kennel. We trapped Huckleberry and took him in. He is a wild one… seriously! He was neutered, given shots, de-wormed, de-flea-ed (if there is such a word ha ha) and I requested that he be tested for Felv because our plan was to take him inside to recover and we have 2 other kitties that are indoor only. He tested negative. We brought him home and I placed him in the kennel while he was still knocked out. He woke up pretty disgruntled, and we expected that. At this time I had the kennel set up in our garage to keep him quiet and give him time to adjust. A few days later we moved him (and the kennel) to our sunroom and one by one let Oscar and Andy in to meet and greet him. That worked out very well, but being so feral Huckleberry spent most of his time either seated in his litterbox or with his legs tucked underneath of him on his bed. When he finally started to relax a little I got to see his limp up close. It looked like his rear right leg was dislocated. I could not find anybody that would give me something to sedate him so that I could get him to a vet and he was still not handle able. We finally took a carrier, put it in the crate, and shut the door behind him when he went in to check it out. We got him to a vet that would see him and after sedation, a physical, and x-rays we found out what was wrong with his leg. It had been totally broken just below his pelvis. The top part was still attached to his pelvis. The doc told us that reconstructive surgery would not be a good option for him because he is feral and not handle able. She recommended that the leg be amputated instead, and we agree with her. So now we have a feral kitty who is beautiful and otherwise perfectly healthy living in a large dog kennel awaiting surgery this Thursday. He has finally allowed us to pet him, matter of fact he insists upon it every day now. I don’t think he would let me pick him up yet, and with his leg in such bad shape I won’t even try for fear of hurting him. My husband and I are devastated at the idea of having to have his leg amputated, and I have not yet figured out how to take care of him during his recovery. He and his big crate have been moved into our kitchen area, but I don’t know if I should leave him in this area to heal or to bring it all upstairs to a spare bedroom so that maybe after recovery he can start walking freely in one room with no fear of him getting hurt or getting out. I am afraid if we isolate him that it will slow down the socialization process and he is getting on quite fine with Andy and Oscar around him. We plan on keeping him and not letting him out anymore. After finding this site I see that we will have quite the task ahead of us and even more questions and fears for his recovery. E-collar on a feral cat.. omg.. pain management will also be a challenge. I have worked with a lot of animals, did it for a living for a long time in an animal shelter as well as an animal hospital, but I have never had a pet that needed an amputation. I haven’t even encountered a lot when I was a tech, just never came my way I guess. I am dreading this, dreading his reaction, and hoping we will have what it takes to domesticate him and give him a happy healthy forever home. My avatar pic is of Huckleberry before he got hurt. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Jackie, David, and Huckleberry
18 October 2009
Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.
Good for you for taking care of Huckleberry! I’ve been primarily a dog parent for the past many years, but I do have some limited experience with feral cats. It’s great that he lets you pet him, I never got that far with the adult feral cats I dealt with. I never had anything more drastic than a spay surgery to deal with so I can’t really help you with how to deal with Huckleberry and amputation recovery. Once he gets through the recovery period he should do just fine.
We have some awesome cat parents who will stop by shortly and who will have great input for you. In the meantime look through this forum, Three Legged Cats, for lots of good information.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
Thank you, after seeing some of the posts and digging into other articles I have purchased different kinds of soft e- collars and a baby gate for the spare bedroom that I can use for entry without his making a grand exit lol. I love the idea of a onesie but I’m not certain a feral baby would agree with me.
27 July 2014
Huckleberry struck gold wandering into your yard. Very smart cat.
We’ve had some outdoor or semi-feral cats get amputations and, as with most of the cats, there are always unique challenges. I have some suggestions:
- if you put him in a room ensure that the bed is on the floor so he can’t hide under it. You always want easy access to the cat and crawling under a bed is not much fun.
- I had an open closet and made a bed for my cat Mona under a bottom shelf. Cats like cave-like places to heal. Mona slept on a bath mat and I’d just slide her in and out when I wanted access to her.
- The vet sent Mona home with high-protein, high-fat canned kitten food. She loved it and the moisture helps replace required water. Some people feed their cats baby food.
- Mona didn’t wear a onesie or collar but most cats wear something for protection. The vet putting the collar on after surgery may be best for everyone’s safety.
- Folks who work with feral cats may have some good suggestions on how to administer medications. The vet may be able to give long lasting pain shots. Some have a fentanyl patch for a few days. Also, there are some transdermal medications that can be applied to the ears. It’s usually prepared at a compound pharmacy. The vet will have some suggestions.
You are obviously doing some great planning. I understand wanting to keep him socializing with the other cats but I do have a concern with the baby gate . Although they have had surgery, some cats can still be feisty and leap and run with amazing strength. My little Mona was a little crazy from the pain meds and would go from flopping around like a worm to jumping on to a window sill and getting stuck between the window pane and screen. You can assess using the baby gate as you go.
Huckleberry is a beauty. I look forward to more photos.
Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona
Thank you! I am planning on crating him from now until he recovers. Right now it is so hard not to try and let him out so I can truly cuddle him, but I know once he’s out, he’s out. Can’t go back from there. I will look in to long acting pain meds and antibiotics. We tried without luck today to give him a sedative that we are supposed to use the morning of his surgery to transport him. It tastes terrible! I’ll try a pill pocket tomorrow or Tuesday after withholding food and see if he will take it that way. He was a stinker to get into the carrier the first time without any meds. My downstairs is an open floor plan. That’s where he is right now in his crate in the middle of everything. I cover his crate with a blanket at night and any time he seems stressed or over stimulated and that is working ok. I think i need a small carrier to put in there so he can rest if he feels overwhelmed. The one i used to transport is too big to leave in there. The only problem with keeping him where he is post-op is that there are lots of places for him to get in trouble with full run of the downstairs when we finally let him out of the crate. I would rather have him in a smaller room when he is ready to slowly give him some freedom back and keep him safe. Grr.. there are pros and cons to each idea. Thank you so much for your input, it is truly appreciated. I have to see how I can post pictures here so you can see him now
Hi Jacke & Huckleberry,
I’m sorry you have to be here but glad you found us. Huckleberry you found the best yard to be a feral in. It sounds like he will end up being a love bug!
You have gotten great advice from Kerren!
I ditto the long acting pain medicine ask about the pain patch Fentanyl you do not want the pain meds to be a challenge & you want him to have his meds. Tell your surgeon everything & that you cannot medicate him. They can do long term meds injections or patches & you may need to take him back for more. There is a long term antibiotic Convenia I am not a fan of injecting kitties but in these cases they are great options. Do some research on that before deciding upon it ok. I would ask ahead of time ASAP by phone incase something needs to be compounded for you!
Is the medicine your going to try a pill pocket a long acting one? I ask because if it is not you can pulverize it to a powder form and add a little bit of tuna water and syringe it in up a syringe and give it to him that way. I don’t know if you know how to do that or if you want to try. I use tuna water to mask bitter tasting meds. I have a feeling Huckleberry will find that pill and not eat it. You can even try seeing if he will lap it up with a lot of tuna water or sardine water. Both are worth a shot and great at masking bitter meds! We have a forum on Administering Medications to your Cat if you haven’t seen it already.
I also ditto the baby gate ! If your going to us one you should double high or triple high them Cats can still jump and with multiple cats one will scale it! We had a cat scale a 3 high gate yep! Purrkins could scale one on his 3 legs I have no doubt!
I personally would move the crate into the spare room for Huckleberry to recover in, thats just what I would do. Huckleberry will appreciate a quiet place to recover in and you can allow visits with your other kitties & see how that goes. He is going to come home from major surgery and just want to hide and recover. He will smell different and the other kitties may not appreciate it and that can cause issues. It may not too. It causes issues in our multiple cat home. Some people don’t have problems.
Great your already covering his cage ! I would do that for recovery too he will appreciate it!
Kerren gave you the under the bed advice we took ours off the frame and put in on the floor. If you cant do that stuff it full with blanket pillows your name just make it not accessible !!
Here is how you post photos in the forums- they have to be hosted somewhere online. You can open a free blog and upload to that, even if you don’t plan on blogging its a great place to start and just load pictures for forum use.
If you have any other questions just ask thats what we are all here for.
Holly & Purrkins
25 April 2007
Hi Jackie, David and Huckleberry. Welcome to the club nopawdy wants to join. But as you can see we have some amazing members including our fabulous TriKitty parents here who can help you get through it.
My husband and I are devastated at the idea of having to have his leg amputated, and I have not yet figured out how to take care of him during his recovery.
Try to remember that we set the tone for their recovery. Animals reflect our emotions right back at us so the more pawsitive, strong and optimistic you can be, the better that Huckleberry will respond to it. Not all amputation recoveries are difficult, even though it might seem that way. It’s not a picnic as you figure out his pain management needs, but humans often make a bigger deal out of it than the new Tripawd. I think you will be amazed and inspired by how well he does!
Thank you all so much for the words of encouragement. We will get through this one day at a time. I went out and got some nice stinky tuna on my way home from work. I am supposed to be doing a trial run of Gabapentin, 100 mg. We are supposed to give it to him 1 hour before we try to crate him to sedate him. It is in a capsule and I tried opening and mixing it in some nice wet food but that was a flop. I added a little milk to it and it still wasn’t good enough. I tried to put a whole capsule in a pill pocket with no luck. Weird thing is that I have successfully pilled him twice before his neuter with Capstar… he acted like he loved it and now I cannot even get him to smell it by itself, lol. I will try the tuna juice in a little while, and maybe after a whole evening of fasting on Wednesday night he will be more open to suggestion lol. If not… we wrangle him in the carrier one more time and just do our best to not hurt or be hurt.
I spoke to the Dr. today, she is going to give him the Convenia so we will not have to worry about that. They will give him a long acting pain med (3-4 days) and if I need she will give me something that can be dropped on his gum line and will absorb that way.
I believe he will be better upstairs to recover also. The more I think about it the more it makes sense. I can always open the door (he will be crated) to let the other 2 visit him occasionally. Once he has full run of the room, my plan was to attach something tall and smooth (like an amazon box) to the front of the gate so that I can gain access, but he will not be able to bolt when I open the door. I saw it on a video and it seemed to work well. I will make sure to heed your advice and not assume that he won’t be able to jump lol. I truly did not think that even if he could jump that it would be that high… thank you for the heads up.
I just tried the tuna and medication and it worked…yeah! I will see how sleepy he is in an hour, this should give us some kind of idea how he will be Thursday morning.
It’s funny .. well kinda.. I have worked with animals most of my life but sometimes when it’s your own and you’re on unfamiliar grounds how easy it is to forget all the things you taught others. Thank you for being so welcoming and patient. I work on a computer all day but I have never blogged anything, lol. I guess this will be my opportunity to learn something new. I would very much like to post some pictures, the ones I see in here have been comforting. If you see some pics pop up you will know I was successful Thank you again!
Jackie, David, and Huckleberry
22 February 2013
HOLY CAT!!!! JUST CATCHING UP ON HUCKLEBERRY!!!!
You’ve votten the usual outstanding advice vrom the most knowledgeable tripawd kitty moms anyone coukd ever hope for,,,: KERRE. ZND HOLLY!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 They are an invaluable source of info for our kitty contingent!
YES INDEEDY, HUCKLEBERRY HIT THE KITTY LOTTERY FOR SURE!! He may not realize it yet and would rather go out and “run the streets”! He’ll soon learn the joys of being spoiled!
As you can see, we are here cheering for HUCKLEBERRY every step of the way!
Thank you soooooooo much for giving this beautiful kitty a wonderful furever home!
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!
Yaaaaay for Tuna juice!!🎉🎉👏🏻
Your ahead now you have a plan and solution & if he huckleberry changes his taste try sardine water ! I used both for the Gaba & Purrkins was not adverse to either I did syringe Purrkins. If I wouldn’t have put the tuna or sardine water we would have a frothing upset kitty. This masks it enough you don’t get much resistance ! Great on the pain management and I would bring some home so you don’t have to go back if needed, We are taking off a limb and too often we see the animal is still in pain and have to go back anyway for more meds! We did! Many have. What I know now I would have come home with more then 3 days worth of pain meds & not have that worry too! I would of rather had too much pain medicine then not enough!
We have heard that a lot about people who have worked with animals your not the first to say that ! It makes sense that it would be different your emotionally attached to your own animal, how could it not be different ! Now the patient is yours and you will get Huckleberry thru this and you guys can hop on! You will be amazed how well a 3 legged cat can gets around!
Purrkins is a front leg amputee he lost his leg to soft tissue sarcoma. He gets around fantastic and it hasn’t slowed him down one ounce if anything it has increased his activity. With Huckleberry being a injury you will get this done he will recovery beautifully and you can hop on!
Any estimate on Huckleberry’s age?
This journey is full of learning somethings new;) Hope to see some photos up & I am sure you will figure it out! If you have any issues ask we can help direct you!
Chin & ear scratches to the feline pack & extra tuna;) Don’t waste the tuna;) Huckleberry and the other kitties will have a tasty treat!
Holly & Purrkins ❤️
Thank you so much… I don’t know what to say. All of our babies have been rescues. As I sit typing this now Huckleberry is sound asleep. There is hope One day at a time I will just keep telling myself..
I figure he is about 2 now. He looked like an older kitten last year, maybe about 9-10 months. He has filled out and gotten a more mature look, so about 2. I am really surprised at his size though. He’s just a little thing. Maybe 8-9 pounds and very sleek and slender. I think this will be in his favor. He went out heavily enough for me to feel like I could transfer him to the carrier without to much difficulty. He is waking up nicely and still quite calm. He cuddled a bit and he’s chowing on some dry food right now. I feel better now knowing he handled the medication well and didn’t go into that spastic panic that some do. I think he will have a tuna/ canned food casserole for breakfast lol. Gotta watch Andy and the tuna, he blocked on us several months ago and is on a prescription diet.
Haven’t gotten the blog yet, keep getting error messages that in not sure I can decipher yet ill try again tomorrow!
Jackie and Huckleberry
Hope today went as well with the Gaba!
Huckleberry being slender will be to his advantage on 3! He is very young and that will also be to his advantage. He will relearn his new life and adapt quicker being so young!
Sorry about the error messages? Not sure what was happening, did you decipher anything more? If you have more problems getting your photos loaded you can always post in the forum technical support.
Hugs, Gaba & Tuna for Huckleberry, Sorry Andy prescription diet only buddy!
Holly & Purrkins❤️
No Gaba for the Huckster today. Today and tomorrow are treats, food he likes, cuddles and calm. Tomorrow night he has to fast, after having problems for a couple of days trying to get him to take the medicine, I want him as strong as possible and well fed. I have been searching around the site looking at stories and products. I have already purchased the pheromones. I have the spray, the diffuser will be in soon. Is the kind of cat litter that you use really crucial post op?
I opened a free word press account. I thought I had the site domain address and all of that correct. First error was no caps. Okay, I made everything lower case. After that I keep getting an error- only alpha numeric characters. The site has decimal points. That is the only thing that I can see wrong but how do you put it in without characters? I’m pretty good with programs and such. I got home late from work tonight so it was an easy dinner and cuddling with our little ones. Feeling a little worn after all of the Huckleberry excitement of the last few weeks. I don’t think I’m up for any challenges tonight lol. If I put pictures in my drop box account does that count for allowing me to post pictures here? I would love to start my first blog, but I would be happy just being able to post pictures and communicate here for now.
I was watching some of the PT videos, wondering if my little boy will let me hold his back end, massage, ice, or heat his surgical area once I get him home. I really hope so. I slipped my hand under his side and rubbed his belly ever so gently to see how he would react and it didn’t bother him at all…I didn’t push it though lol His bad leg seems worse yesterday and today he does not seem as balanced with it, and I’m noticing it twisting underneath him as he’s trying to stand. I just feel so terrible seeing him that way. It hurts my heart. So…. I just sit near him, talk to him, tell him how wonderful he is, and cuddle as much as I’m able to for the time being. I really don’t do the social media stuff, just not my thing. I do have Twitter, which I check out once in a blue moon. If that is another avenue to allow me to post pics ill give it a shot.
Have a good evening,
Jackie and Huckleberry
We didn’t switch our cat litter & our vet didn’t ask us too. Not all cats will readily accept a abrupt litter change. If you vet suggests of course follow his instructions but be prepared to have your regular litter ready if Huckleberry refuses the new. We have had that happen here too & have to go back to what they were used to using.
Great job on the pheromones that will help.
I’m sorry Huckleberry is in pain, you do know Gabapentin is for pain management ? I understand you don’t want to fight with Huckleberry but the pain being managed will make him be at his strongest ! The Gaba giving it ahead of the surgery will also help with phantom limb pain . They give it in advance for that reason.
As for dropbox no that will not work, please post your difficulty in technical support they can walk you thru step by step and deal with the error messages your are receiving & they will be happy to help & get you up and running so you can post pictures.
We will be sending positive thoughts for Huckleberry tomorrow ! Please update when you can on how the surgery went.
Holly & Purrkins