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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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New front leg amputee 14-year old cat will not urinate
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Member Since:
28 February 2017
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28 February 2017 - 8:15 am
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Suki, my 14-year old feline companion, had her front leg amputated four days ago. She came home from the hospital three days ago and managed to flop herself into the litter box her first night home and twice on the second day home. Ond day 3 post-surgery, she had not urinated for over 30 hours so I took her back to the vet. While being examined, she urinated a huge puddle. Everything else checked out fine. The vet did increase her pain medication a bit to make sure she is comfortable. She has yet to defecate. Today is day 4 post-surgery and she has yet to urinate or use the litter box again. She eats and drinks and is starting to "scootch around". She doesn't move much, though, and seems happy to hang out on the couch.

How can I help her to get comfortable using the litter box? She absolutely will not go if I hold her there. I can't keep running to the vet; nor do I want my couch saturated with cat urine. Any advice will be helpful. Thank you.

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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28 February 2017 - 11:09 am
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Hi Suki and family, welcome. Just curious, what was the reason for her amputation? That's great your vet had a look at her and made sure she's on good pain medication.

I'm not a cat parent so take this for what it's worth, but I'm wondering, is there anything different about the litter box that may have caused her to avoid it? 

This Tripawds News blog post may be helpful:

Litterbox Tips for New Tripawd Cats

And I'm sure our feline families will chime in here too in just a bit, so stay tuned.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
28 February 2017
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28 February 2017 - 1:29 pm
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Suki's leg was amputated because of a growth just above the pads of her paw. It has been present for about two years and within the last two weeks doubled in size and began to bleed. She was obviously in pain. The vet does not believe the mass was cancerous, but we are still awaiting testing results from the lab. I just went home from work to check on her and administer another dose of pain medication. She was still hanging out on the couch but had managed to get down to eat and drink from her bowls, which are on the floor.

The litter box is the same size as the box she normally uses, but with lower sides. The litter is the same stuff she's used her entire life. It remained empty.


Member Since:
11 July 2016
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28 February 2017 - 3:18 pm
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Hi & Welcome ,

I'm sorry to hear about Suki. Glad you took her in and had her checked out. Does she appear to you to be comfortable pain wise now?

Has she peed on the sofa or just no pee at all at home?

Where is the litter box, Can you bring the box closer for now , by the sofa area so she does not have to go far? If you move the box do not put in by her food and water bowl. She will not like her food and water by the litter.

Can Suki get in and out of the litter box without flopping into it?

I had to hold our kitty Purrkins who is also a front leg amp in the box the first day home. I was fortunate he did pee for me while I held him steady. 

We got a low sided litter box for recovery and it still did not help Purrkins. We ended up cutting the front of our litter box out ( we used a dremel tool to do it) the plastic was really tough to cut. By cutting it out further Purrkins was able to walk (hop) in and out easier without so much flopping. It made all the  difference for him. I suspect its her mobility issues, and she does not like flopping in and out of the box.

I would try something even lower or provide a step up in some way. 

I would try putting her in the box any time she arises. If she eats and drinks , put her in the box. If there is a lid on the box? If so take it off. 

As far as her not pooping the pain meds can cause constipation . I gave Purrkins 1/16th tsp Miralax on the 6th day and 1/8 tsp on the 7th day. We got BM day 8💩  You can get miralax anywhere its a powder, you can add it to her food. It works best with added water or if she eats a wet food just mix it. 

Let us know if anything helps or if not let us know too please, we will try to help further.

Hugs !

Holly & Purrkins


Member Since:
11 July 2016
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28 February 2017 - 3:54 pm
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This was the box we got Purrkins for recovery , we thought the low side would work for Purrkins. It was still too high.

IMG_0749-1.jpgImage Enlarger

This is after we cut it down further, this did the trick Purrkins could get in and out with less flopping.

IMG_0750-1-2.jpgImage Enlarger

After recovery we went back to our regular large size litter box, We did the same thing to it we cut the front out with a dremel tool and filed it smooth.

IMG_1792-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Just providing a visual for you, this is what worked for Purrkins. I know someone who used a box lid with a litter liner in it for recovery. Just as a temporary recovery box. When their cat was getting around better they were able to go back to the original litter box they used prior to surgery. I think getting in and out easier will help her. In whatever way you can do that.

You can use a rubbermaid tote and cut those very easily with a box cutter .

I would be concerned if she does not pee anywhere and keeping our paws crossed you do not have to take her back in to the ER. 

Please keep us posted please


Holly & Purrkins

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