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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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Patient with no litter box
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London. UK
Forum Posts: 55
Member Since:
10 January 2021
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10 January 2021 - 12:48 pm
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My 12 year old cat, Sephy, is having her hind leg chopped off in a few days due to a growing fibrosarcoma. As I am sure you will understand it is a hard decision but as my wise step daughter said, better a three legged Sephycat than no Sephycat.

Since she was six months old she has never had a litter box, she just uses the cat flap and goes outdoors whenever she wants to.

How does this work immediately after she is delegged?

Can I just place her outdoors twice a day or do I need to arrange something?

I hope that her mobility will be OK as she barely uses the poorly leg anyway, she is also not spending the night at the vets (they do not have the facilities).

Thank you for any advice. 

  • "what shall be done for these innocents? I have been warned not even to raise the question of animal immortality, lest I find myself “in company with all the old maids”. I have no objection to the company" - C S Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
  • "Mr Toplady was touched by the cruelty of the scene, and exclaimed, ' Who could bear to see that sight, if there were not to be some compensation for these poor suffering animals in a future state' 'I certainly hope,' said my grandfather, ' that all the bulls will go to heaven; but do you think this will be the case with all the animal creation' 'Yes, certainly,' replied Mr Toplady, with great emphasis, ' all, all!" - Josiah Bull (recording a meeting with the great A. M. Toplady, author of "Rock of Ages" in "Memorials of the Rev. William Bull of Newport, Pagnel")
  • "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God" Luke 12:6
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Forum Posts: 29596
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10 January 2021 - 1:26 pm
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Hi Sephy and furmily, welcome. We are so glad you found us and hope we can help your journey be much easier.

First, I’ll be honest; it’s not easy when you bring your cat home the same day after amputation. That’s just the reality of watching them being very woozy and wonky from the surgery medicines. She could be very vocal and dysphoric, or she could be so zonked out she can’t go to the bathroom.  But, bringing her home same day is still a better way to go than leaving her alone at a vet clinic. So please talk with your vet ahead of surgery to ensure your cat gets good pain control so that she is as comfortable as possible while recovering. See:

What to Expect: Post-Amputation Pain in Cats

As for her toileting outside. Well, it’s going to be quite a journey for her to get out there the first couple of weeks. So yes, you will need to directly supervise her when she goes outside, at least until she is healed and stitches are out. After that, we highly recommend building a catio to keep her safe from predators. As a three-legged animal she will be extra vulnerable so this sounds like an opportunity to train her to be an indoor cat? I know that’s hard but I’m hoping our feline family members will have some pointers for you.

Be sure to check out Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats and let us know what other questions you have OK? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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London. UK
Forum Posts: 55
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10 January 2021 - 1:55 pm
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Thank you for the reply.

I am actually comfortable letting her go outside if she wants to, she just sits by the back door anyway and does not go far. 

Additionally you try explaining why the cat flap no longer works to her brother Calvin who is much more adventurous and regularly gets his face kicked in by the neighbourhood cats, no doubt doing some damage himself in the process, as he grows old disgracefully.

But if we need to keep her in of course we will.

Thank you again.  

  • "what shall be done for these innocents? I have been warned not even to raise the question of animal immortality, lest I find myself “in company with all the old maids”. I have no objection to the company" - C S Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
  • "Mr Toplady was touched by the cruelty of the scene, and exclaimed, ' Who could bear to see that sight, if there were not to be some compensation for these poor suffering animals in a future state' 'I certainly hope,' said my grandfather, ' that all the bulls will go to heaven; but do you think this will be the case with all the animal creation' 'Yes, certainly,' replied Mr Toplady, with great emphasis, ' all, all!" - Josiah Bull (recording a meeting with the great A. M. Toplady, author of "Rock of Ages" in "Memorials of the Rev. William Bull of Newport, Pagnel")
  • "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God" Luke 12:6


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10 January 2021 - 5:38 pm
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Hi and welcome!

Between the anesthesia and pain meds that she will need I do not believe it would be safe to let her out during recovery.  She will not have her wits about her for at least several days and will be very vulnerable.  Amputation is MAJOR  surgery… think about if it were one of your limbs. 

She will need lots of rest and should be confined to an area where she cannot jump up on things or hurt herself.  And if you have other neighborhood cats coming into your yard that makes it even more dangerous for her. 

You can try to get some cardboard case bottoms,  like for canned goods,  line it with newspaper,  then litter, and dispose of them when they cannot be scooped clean for now to see if you can get her to use it.  Many amputees do well with a box that has one side shorter for entry.  

Huckleberry was feral and had always lived outdoors but he adjusted to being in and using the cat box very well. It was literally no effort. 

As far as the flap is concerned, can you confine her to a place in the house that does not allow her access?

I wish you well in your journey,  i hope some of this helps. 

Jackie and Huckleberry

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

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11 January 2021 - 10:47 am
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Thanks for sharing, Jackie! Such great suggestions.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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London. UK
Forum Posts: 55
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11 January 2021 - 10:52 am
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Yes, thanks Jackie and the necessary litter tray and “stuff” is being delivered tonight. 

  • "what shall be done for these innocents? I have been warned not even to raise the question of animal immortality, lest I find myself “in company with all the old maids”. I have no objection to the company" - C S Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
  • "Mr Toplady was touched by the cruelty of the scene, and exclaimed, ' Who could bear to see that sight, if there were not to be some compensation for these poor suffering animals in a future state' 'I certainly hope,' said my grandfather, ' that all the bulls will go to heaven; but do you think this will be the case with all the animal creation' 'Yes, certainly,' replied Mr Toplady, with great emphasis, ' all, all!" - Josiah Bull (recording a meeting with the great A. M. Toplady, author of "Rock of Ages" in "Memorials of the Rev. William Bull of Newport, Pagnel")
  • "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God" Luke 12:6


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11 January 2021 - 9:29 pm
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My cat Mona preferred to go outside also. I closed the cat door so she couldn’t go out of it until her stitches were out. I didn’t want any bacteria from soil to potentially infect her incision. Mona had an indoor litter box which I had to adapt so it was easier for her to walk in.

My other cat, Eli, also uses a cat door so I just let him out through the human door if need be but he also used Mona’s litter box. He chose to hang out near Mona during her healing.

By the way, I introduced Mona slowly to the outside where she could enjoy the sunshine. She tended to spend most of her time in a safe place on her bench or under a bush when it got too hot.

I hope Sephycat has a smooth recovery.

Kerren

London. UK
Forum Posts: 55
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13 January 2021 - 6:00 am
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I know that information can help people so for Sephy the Biopsy report was a Fibrosarcoma with a Mitoses average of 2 per 10 High Power Fields (400x), this is listed as MI 2/10 HPFs, which I am told is quite low (which is good).

We initially did two aspiration tests that were inconclusive, so in the end we had to do a full biopsy which has not helped as the more the cat goes to the vet the more she has decided that she objects to the idea, she also ignores sedatives and they have to use full anesthesia to knock her out as she refuses to relax when she is there.  

As the tumour is on the lower part of the hind leg the vet strongly recommended amputation as due to the type of cancer and location this would hopefully be curative as the margins would be huge.

The problem is that cats are cunning and devious creatures, they are just not trusting like dogs. So this morning, and I have no idea how she knew, the cat must have worked out that a visit to the vet was planned (possibly because there was no food down for it last night) and this morning she just legged it and would not come near us. 

Half an hour and several pulled muscles later I had moved all the furniture and finally prised her out of the corner and a very unhappy cat got dropped off at the vet for the amputation.

  • "what shall be done for these innocents? I have been warned not even to raise the question of animal immortality, lest I find myself “in company with all the old maids”. I have no objection to the company" - C S Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
  • "Mr Toplady was touched by the cruelty of the scene, and exclaimed, ' Who could bear to see that sight, if there were not to be some compensation for these poor suffering animals in a future state' 'I certainly hope,' said my grandfather, ' that all the bulls will go to heaven; but do you think this will be the case with all the animal creation' 'Yes, certainly,' replied Mr Toplady, with great emphasis, ' all, all!" - Josiah Bull (recording a meeting with the great A. M. Toplady, author of "Rock of Ages" in "Memorials of the Rev. William Bull of Newport, Pagnel")
  • "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God" Luke 12:6
The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 29596
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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9
13 January 2021 - 9:00 am
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Super helpful to have this information, thank you for sharing! I’m sorry you had that struggle this morning, she really did know! Paws crossed for a fast and uneventful recovery. Keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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13 January 2021 - 10:32 am
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Just catching up in time to send pawsi energy to that spunky cat of yours!!  That kind of determination  and strong will Sephy sidplay3d this morning  should be a plus during healing.

You’ve  already gotten great advice, so just consider  to stay conn and let us know how things ate going. 

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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13 January 2021 - 11:03 am
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Sending pawsitive waves of energy your way for an uneventful surgery and a fast uncomplicated recovery💗💗💗💗💗💗💗

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

London. UK
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13 January 2021 - 11:20 am
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Well she came back from the vet (well most of her did anyway) and the first thing she did was to hop off to her bowl to get some food, then hopped back to her new cat bed in front of the fish tank, she really has the constitution of an Ox.

Time will tell how she is when the meds start wearing off, and if she will let me give her the meds she needs (cats really do not do the co-operate thing) but at the moment it is like a happy dream, not what I expected.

  • "what shall be done for these innocents? I have been warned not even to raise the question of animal immortality, lest I find myself “in company with all the old maids”. I have no objection to the company" - C S Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
  • "Mr Toplady was touched by the cruelty of the scene, and exclaimed, ' Who could bear to see that sight, if there were not to be some compensation for these poor suffering animals in a future state' 'I certainly hope,' said my grandfather, ' that all the bulls will go to heaven; but do you think this will be the case with all the animal creation' 'Yes, certainly,' replied Mr Toplady, with great emphasis, ' all, all!" - Josiah Bull (recording a meeting with the great A. M. Toplady, author of "Rock of Ages" in "Memorials of the Rev. William Bull of Newport, Pagnel")
  • "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God" Luke 12:6


Forum Posts: 3308
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13 January 2021 - 12:03 pm
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Yay!! Thank you so much for sharing that video… she looks great. One giant step behind you, whew. 

So.. next few days, couple of weeks may be a bit of a rollercoaster ride, ok? The anesthesia/pain meds/ hospital drugs will gradually leave her system over the next 3ish days. She may or may not be easier to medicate right now but we have some tricks up our sleeves if she gets too feisty. 

What medications did she come home with, how much and how often? When are you supposed to start?

Huckleberry came home just a few hours after his surgery too. Please try to encourage her staying put and resting if that is a possibility, ok? Drinking and fluids are really important so if you find her not drinking you can try wet food, broth, anything she likes. 

Please keep in touch, ok? Sephy is a beautiful girl. I know this part must be a relief to have behind you sp_hearticon2

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

Virginia




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13 January 2021 - 1:28 pm
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WELCOME HOME SEPHY!!!

Sweet photo of a comfy, and maybe a little bit high, kitty

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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13 January 2021 - 1:36 pm
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Wow! She is moving around soooooo well! Thank you for sharing that video, I’ve added it to our YouTube channel.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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