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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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When to start introducing stairs?
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Member Since:
23 October 2022
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25 October 2022 - 6:27 pm
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My 15 year old cat had rear leg amputation surgery 4 days ago. She is doing well all things considered. She’s always been very athletic even in her advanced age, and is wanting to jump on and off the bed, even though it is definitely not safe for her to do so yet. I ordered some stairs for her last night and they should be arriving very soon. 

Is it too soon to start training her on using the stairs? She gets her stitches out in 8 days. When we do start using the stairs, any advice for helping her adjust? We’ll likely have to put them on the opposite side of the bed from where she’s used to jumping up and down, just because of space issues. I’m sure treats will help, but any other tricks people have had success with? Thanks!

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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25 October 2022 - 10:14 pm
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Hey there I'm so glad you posted in the Forums! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

Everypawdy check out Nini's blog, there's some great info and pics and you'll also see how yes, for 15 years young Nini looks amaaaazing.

Generally we tell folks to wait on stair and ramp training until stitches are out. I would wait, you just don't want that incision to come apart. I know 8 days seems like an eternity especially for a bouncy athlete like here.

Here are some stair / ramp / and cat tree training tips for Tripawds:

What kind of steps did you get? How tall are they? Maybe a couple days before the stitches come out, as long as the incision looks good, you could start luring her with some nice treats placed on the first step maybe, just to get her interested. Thinking out loud here.

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23 October 2022
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1 November 2022 - 10:25 pm
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Thanks Jerry! I got the Frisco brand stairs from Chewy. They are the perfect height for our bed (25 inches tall). She still has one small ‘step’ to make it from the stairs onto our bed. They were super easy to put together, and seem like good quality. https://www.che...../dp/167090

I started Nini on them a couple days ago, about 5 days before she gets her stitches out. I know you suggested we wait, but she’s been moving around well and kept on wanting to jump off the bed, so I figured better to use the stairs than have her kamakaze off the bed! Yes, she is such an athlete and really doesn’t seem to feel that life with 3 legs should be any different!

She took to them right away! I put treats on each stair, and she was up them in a jiff. Getting her to go down was another story. She would go down one step and then sit on the very edge, like she was unsure what to do next. But after a few tries, she got more confident and now after 3 days she is going up and down them without any help or encouragement from me. 

it’s wonderful to see her becoming more independent. I’m so thankful for all the info and support on this site! Thank you to everybody who makes this community possible! sp_hearticon2

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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2 November 2022 - 3:23 pm
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That's awesome you found some good stairs, and that she actually took to them! Wow! So many people are frustrated by the stair training experience. I agree it was better to get started now than having her do some flying leaps off the bed. Nini is super duper smart!!!

If you ever feel like videoing her doing stairs, I know we'd love to watch. Put it on YouTube and we can add it to our Tripawds channel!

We are thrilled she is adapting so well. Thank YOU for being part of this community and adding to our knowledge. Participation is what keeps us all here and making life better for animals with three legs!

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