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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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Seeking Post-Amp Advice for Blind Cat
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
14 May 2018
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14 May 2018 - 12:41 pm
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Hi there. My name is Heather and my cat’s name is Sallie. She is an 8-year-old blind Torty who was recently diagnosed with cancer in her front left paw. Tomorrow she has surgery to have her leg amputated and I am nervous about bringing her home after her surgery. I was hoping to receive advice on post-surgery recovery – particularly advice on where she should recover and how best to make her comfortable. She is blind, so she’s prone to running into walls and furniture and her hearing is intensified, so she HATES the sound of the Elizabethan cone. After her last surgery to remove the cancerous mass, we gave her a soft cone and that helped but it wasn’t great. It took her forever to find a comfortable sleeping position. So I want to make sure, this time around, I do everything I can to make her comfortable. 

Here is our housing situation: we live in a one-level, two bedroom apartment, with hardwood floors. Her litter box is in the small second bedroom (my office, where I work from home), which has a large rug in it, and her food/water is down the hall in the kitchen. I just bought a raised food/water bowl and a thermal mat (per advice I read on the Tripawds blog and forum).

Anyone reading this who has been through this experience (esp. parents of blind cats), could you give your favorite advice for keeping your cat comfortable? Should I keep her confined to my office (will my working in there bother her?), and cover the entire floor with blankets and pillows? Or should I let her roam the apartment (since it’s small) and set up cozy spots for her throughout the apartment? 

My partner and I love our little girl and would do anything for her but we are definitely feeling overwhelmed and nervous about her recovery. Any advice at all would be so appreciated. 

Livermore, CA

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14 May 2018 - 1:30 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I don’t remember a blind cat here recovering from an amputation, but maybe someone else does.  I know we had a Great Dane named Nova who lost a front leg to cancer and later her sight.  I’ve had dogs with very limited vision, not totally blind, and they have adapted well to life in general but I haven’t gone through an amp recovery.

Have you seen the forum post Best Tri-Kitty Resources? Also there is a list of Front Leg Kitty Amputee Blogs.

Sounds to me like making her a recovery room is a good idea.   Make sure there is no furniture she can try to jump on or get under. Many here have had luck with baby onsies instead of a cone.

Stay tuned for our kitty members who can provide more insight and advice!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo


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14 May 2018 - 2:23 pm
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Goodness kmows Sallie is a well loved cat!  You are clearly  devoted  to her ❤  

We have an incredibly  knowledgeable cat family member’s here who can give you unbelievable  information.   Karen alreaey gave you some helpful links.

Im going to chime in on tje “blind” part from the perspective  of a newly blind four legged dorg.  She was hit with glaucoma  and went totally  blind very quickly.

As you already know THE most important thing is not to move one single thing in your house .I would try and keep jer in the area she is most familiar  with, which sounds like the second bedroom, the hall and the kitchen.  Putting down blankets, rugs, etc will definitely  confuse her at this point.  Yes, she will need traction with nonslip scatter rugs, but  to introduce those now on the path from the bedroom to the kitchen  could throw her off completely.. 

As you already know,, the importance of touch …the importance of change in texture…….tells them a great deal of information as to where they are at any given time.  

If she gets comfused and panics,  take her to a ,space that she is completely  familiar  with and have her start over.  I take my Merry Myrtle back to her bed , or to her food bowl,  and then she can figure out where she is.

As keen as their sense of smell is, it can actually be a vit confusing for vlind dogs and cats ( based on what Ive read and based on what her Eye Doctor said)  He explained it like this.  Close your eyes and try and pinpoint exactly where a particular  scent is coming from.  Have someone  wave  a scented soap,,or perfume around you.   The scent can overwhelm the heightened  awareness. Vut if someone made a trail with it in a line, then you could follow the path directly  to it.   I’m  probavly not explaining  it very well.

Any sharp edges you might try wrapping in vubble wrap or bavy vumpers, pr rubber pool bumpers.

Most importantly , remember  you are doing this FOR Sallie and not TO her!!  Recovery is no picnic, and sometimes it’s  hard to remember  this!



Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS… like her name…..😎😎

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!

Forum Posts: 102
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14 May 2018 - 5:21 pm
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Good luck to Sallie (and you) during her upcoming amp surgery and recovery. I have little to add, but can say that my own cat did not use a cone. My husband made a onesie type shirt for him to wear to keep him from messing with his incision and it worked well. My cat recovered in a large kitty condo; however, he was not without his sight, so I’d imagine that your kitty would do best in an area she is used to. I’d love to follow your cat’s journey. Please update us when you can with Sallie’s progress. 



Hattie and Jerry Cat (right front leg and scapula amputation due to chondrosarcoma at age 14, lived 2 1/2 years post amputation, succumbed suddenly to suspected lymphoma at age 16)

10/2001 - 10/9/2017 R.I.P ~ Love you always

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16 May 2018 - 1:47 pm
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The surgery went smoothly and she stayed overnight at the vet. As soon as she walked in, she immediately went to her litter box and peed (we got one of those litter boxes that are for senior dogs, with a low entry point. It was less than $20 at Petco.) We then gave her some food and she ate a couple bites, not a lot. She proceeded to do this low long growl/moan as she tried to get comfortable. We took that as her way of saying she was in pain. We gave her another round of painkillers and she’s been asleep every since. She’s moved a little bit but not a lot. We planned on setting her up in the back office but she really seemed to want to be in the living room, where she normally hangs out. She seems to be gravitating towards being under the couch. We set up a thermal pad and she seems to really like it, so that was a good investment! And she hates the soft cone, so I sewed up some baby onesies and she hasn’t tried to take it off yet. To be continued on that one. 

Here and Now

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Forum Posts: 19687
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16 May 2018 - 3:26 pm
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YAAAAAAAAAY!!  So glad surgery  is done and Sallie is home!!


Recovery is a little tough fpr a bit.  Stay connected  and let us kmow how we can best suppprt you and Sallie


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!

Forum Posts: 45
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30 May 2018 - 7:36 am
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I just want to add hooray for you and Sallie. I hope recovery is continuing to go smoothly. It is tough at the beginning but every day things will get better. I am so so so happy you have given your baby this chance. Being blind and three-pawed is certainly a challenge but cats ( especially ones loved as much as your Sallie clearly is) are remarkably adaptable.

Wishing all the best for you


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