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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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outdoor kitties: when are they ready for unsupervised roaming around?
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Member Since:
17 July 2023
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20 August 2023 - 1:37 pm
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Hi,

we're 11 days post-op the frontleg amputation of Freek now. See for an introduction: https://tripawd.....till-uses/

Freek is 4 years old and a real freebooter and bushranger.

He escaped today with his onesie on (although just halfway, didn't fasten the buttons on his behind legs) and with an not fully closed (infected) part of his wound. He gets 4 times a day 50-75 mb gabapentin and weighs 4,4 kg.

It took 1,5 hours playing 'hide and seek' and 'catch me if you can', mostly in the bushes. He even managed to do a number 1 and covered it with leaves at his usual outdoors toiletspace single handed. Everything went well, except an exhausted human struggling through the bushes in vain and neighbours thinking she is a lunatick, talking to the bushes, like trying to exorcise a demon out of it. (He actually can be a demon when he is overstimulated and I want to catch him right then).

Obviously, Freek believes it's time to let him roaming around unsupervised. I think he's not as long he as he needs antibiotics for his wound.

My question to fellow (semi-) outdoor kitties is: when did you decide your cat was ready to let him go outside unsupervised? What criteria did you use?

Advice for future outdoor amputee 'parents': chose the red or other bright coloured onesie, not the zebra-print, leopard-print or camouflage design....

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 August 2023 - 2:02 pm
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OH my gosh Freek! You have such an independent spirit! Your neighbors got a real show yesterday didn't they?

Wow I'm glad you caught him. Honestly we generally tell folks not to let their new Tripawd roam while stitches are still in. Sounds like his have not been taken out and he has a small unhealed area? If that's the case I would definitely keep him indoors at all costs until that area is healed.

See what others think. I know that cats can be really tricky during recovery, so hopefully our cat parents will have better feedback.

Virginia







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20 August 2023 - 2:58 pm
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Ditto Jerry avout keeping that wild child indoors at a bare minimum  until his incision  is fully healed!

Glad you caught tjat rascal......and glad you came out of the bushes unscathed.  I  guess there's no way Freek would consent to a harness with a really long lead when you do start letting him go outdoors?  

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!

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20 August 2023 - 3:03 pm
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Freek had dissolvable stitches. Knots were taken out friday. The vets intended a Y-shaped scar, but while stitching it became more like a mirrored C-shape. The center of the intended Y was a little bit infected and not fully closed. 

I'm trying to keep him indoors or only in a bench outside, but we've warm weather here and I was gardening, so forgetting to fully shut the door is easy...

I'll try to insert the foto's of Facebook of this evening....

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20 August 2023 - 3:07 pm
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Freek's great escape...

 

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20 August 2023 - 3:26 pm
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I  guess there's no way Freek would consent to a harness with a really long lead when you do start letting him go outdoors?  

Nope, tried that 2,5 years ago, when he had paralyzed his paw... great disaster.

Tried last week with a short lead. It seemed to be okay, until he got overstimulated and stressed out because of a nearing neighbour: escaped, been captured, protested, scratched and bit his human very hard. Result: human could go to the emergency pharmacy for preventive antibiotics. 

Freek is really a sweet cat, just acting out frustration and redirected agression... 

Where ever my car goes


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20 August 2023 - 7:10 pm
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I know everyone and every cat is different, but ... After my outdoor cat Tuxedo became a tripawd (rear leg amputation), I never deliberately let him outdoors again.  I was just too worried about what could happen, esp since he became a tripawd due to being attacked by a dog while outside.  Though he certainly did succeed in getting out several times, being the super fast sneaky boy, despite his missing leg.  A case of easier said than done with willful kitties I guess.

Incidentally, Tuxedo also had an infection in his incision.  It took around an extra six weeks to clear that.  Hopefully you will not have that long of a healing timeframe.  But my recommendation would be to if at all possible, keep him inside, esp while he still has an open wound and active infection.

Best wishes

-Dawna, Tuxedo, Lilly, and Angel Dazzle 

Virginia







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20 August 2023 - 8:02 pm
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Glad Dawana chimed in about her experience  with Tuxedo.

Just want to add I wasn't  able to see the pics on facebooger.  Maybe you jave them "private`?

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



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20 August 2023 - 8:40 pm
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Yesss thank you Dawna!

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20 August 2023 - 11:15 pm
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mommatux said
I know everyone and every cat is different, but ... After my outdoor cat Tuxedo became a tripawd (rear leg amputation), I never deliberately let him outdoors again.  I was just too worried about what could happen, esp since he became a tripawd due to being attacked by a dog while outside.  Though he certainly did succeed in getting out several times, being the super fast sneaky boy, despite his missing leg.  A case of easier said than done with willful kitties I guess.

Incidentally, Tuxedo also had an infection in his incision.  It took around an extra six weeks to clear that.  Hopefully you will not have that long of a healing timeframe.  But my recommendation would be to if at all possible, keep him inside, esp while he still has an open wound and active infection.

Best wishes

-Dawna, Tuxedo, Lilly, and Angel Dazzle 

  

Thanks Dawna for your reply. I fully understand the choices you've made. But the staying indoors forever: Freek couldn't live with it.

Some copy-paste of my other topic about Freek (and changed it a little bit)

Freek came to me as a lonely stray, maybe feral, kitten at the age of five weeks. He was found in hayland, when my brother was mowing it. The rest of his litter is probably killed by the mower, my brother kept a meaningfull quiet when I asked him. Freek is domesticated and very chilled and sweet when he wishes, but is a real rascal, freebooter and bushranger. Was trying to escape and roaming outside at 10 weeks old I guess. He has an intense hunting drive, and lives outside in summer when he is not eating or sleeping indoors. Just keeping mice in my street under control, and occasionally a bird that flew against a window. Freek really would be very unhappy when he has to stay inside for the rest of his life, thats a no-go.

My living situation is quite safe for an outdour cat: lots of hiding places, no outdoor dogs and a no-carzone around my house. The only cars that come into my street are coming there to park, because it's a dead end. Freek wouldn't come near to them when the motor is running. In the Netherlands we have no natural predators that would fight with mature cats. Well, actually better to say we didn't, since a couple of years the wolves are back in our country and my city is located in the 'wolfzone', but they won't come nearby my street. Foxes stay outside of this city too, for as far as I know.

Freek lived the first five weeks of his life probably outdoors and he's really strong minded about letting him go outside. He starts vandalizing my house if I don't obey.... He has shred a lot of cardboard boxes allready... It is under the influence of gabapentin that my home is quite safe now. So transitioning him to an indoor cat: won't gonna happen. If the vet had told me he had to stay inside the rest of his life, I think I would choose to euthanize him instead of amputate, how harsh that may sound. Just because I know he really would be depressed staying inside for the rest of his life.

Seeing Freek moving around yesterday, does give me trust he will be allright outside when he doesn't need any gabapentin anymore.

The Rainbow Bridge



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21 August 2023 - 11:51 am
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I do get that about Freek not being able to manage staying inside if you were to try it.

Still, we do encourage people to try building a Catio so cats can have the indoor/outdoor experience while staying safe. When that isn't possible, there have been some cats like Fang who did continue living outdoors, but one cat I can recall here who did, and never came home one day, was Misty Grey. It's such a tough spot for a pet parent to be in!

A long time ago I tried turning an outside cat into an indoor one and it didn't work. Probably because we had a dog at the time. But I've seen others here like Huckleberry who were able to transition to an indoor life, so it gives me hope that some other cats may be able to manage and be happy. I would be happy to connect you with Huckleberry's mom if you'd like to ask her about the experience. Every one is an individual though, so no judgement, I promise!

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21 August 2023 - 2:28 pm
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I understand your point of view about staying safe in a catio. But it is really not the same experience as going outdoors, the way Freeks goes out. Freek wouldn't be happy in a catio.

He has lived with 3 and a half paw the last 2,5 years living mainly outside in summer, he will manage with 3 legs. When fully healed, I would not worry more about him staying outside then I would one year ago. Freek is also young and very healthy

I know the pain of a cat never coming home, lived it through as a child very often (mom didn't want to spay and neuter our domesticated barn cats, but the farm was located at a busy road). But it would also hurt as hell seeing Freek withering because of being locked inside or in a catio.

It's hard to explain why I think locking in Freek is really not the way to go, but I'm sure of it. Maybe cultural differences and different living circumstances in the Netherlands play a part in this point of view too, that I'm less worried about it.

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21 August 2023 - 3:07 pm
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Some pictures of Freek with four legs, after amputation and of his escapade Sunday-evening:

before:

https://ibb.co/CsFwqgN watching with Vicky what's happening in the street

https://ibb.co/ZVYGBGw inside a hedge, why do you stick your head in the hedge human?

https://ibb.co/Jn1k8d0 watching a bird (typical plexus brachialis avulsion pose)

after:

https://ibb.co/HzpwmVQ looking handsome

https://ibb.co/vmfnpxP the scar, regaining fur already

escapade:

https://ibb.co/mhG2BgB hide and seek

https://ibb.co/pbS59W8 inside a hedge again

https://ibb.co/CVJNZx6 listening to a bbq party

Virginia







Member Since:
22 February 2013
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21 August 2023 - 4:33 pm
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Oh gosh!  Cant wait to come back and get fully immersed in looking at those pictures.

But just wanted to pop in quickly  and say that no one knows Freek (such a great name) better than you.  And you are heard loud and clear and you know what "quaility " means to him better than anyone.  So please know you needn't  "explain" your decisions   further, okay?  Suggestions were   offered with purest intent but with none of us knowing  Freek as well as you.

Now, go give that handsome boy some ear scratches for us and I'm gonna hop back and look at pictures in a bit!

Hugs

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!

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22 August 2023 - 9:20 am
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I don't doubt the best intentions of anyone around here, thanks.

Freek was thankfull for the ear scratches and was shedding som fur as a token of appreciation.  😉

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