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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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Will My Senior Cat Still Be Able to Jump?
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
15 September 2020
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15 September 2020 - 10:29 pm
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Hi.  Sorry if this topic is covered but I couldn’t find the specific answers I was looking for.  Tonight I got the diagnosis for my 13 year old Mittens. She has the soft tissue cancer in her left rear paw, sarcoma. My vet recommended amputation. 

Logically I get it. My concerns are it’s a rear leg and she jumps up on her cat tower,  on my book shelves,  kitchen sink… you all know cats jump every where.  Will she,  have people experienced cats with 1 rear leg still jumping? I feel that’s a big part of her life. 

The other issue is I also have a young cat that is sometimes mean to the old one.  But she gets as good as she gives.  I wonder how cats,  other cats,  act around amputee cats? Maybe that’s not really a concern,  just notice the young one really gets aggressive after mittens comes back from vet.  

I see a lot of positive blogs, that’s encouraging.  

I’d appreciate any experiences,  input and or advice 


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16 September 2020 - 10:50 am
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Hi Jays! I’m in the Tripawds Chat room right now if you want to talk. 

I’ll try to answer your questions but I know that our Trikitty members will have tons more insight for you on the day-to-day life of a rear-leg amputee cat.

Will she,  have people experienced cats with 1 rear leg still jumping?   

When it comes to cats and dogs, they carry their propulsion power in the two rear legs. If they lose 50% of that power, jumping becomes more difficult. Our rear-leg amputee canine Wyatt Ray cannot jump very well (a bonus when you don’t want your large German Shepherd jumping on people!). But I know that cats are tons more spry and nimble than dogs, so my guess is that even with one rear leg missing, cats can still have quite a bit of oomph in one rear leg. Again, our Trikitty members can let you know how their rear-leg amputee does.

Even if your kitty does lose some of that jumping power, you can still enable her to climb up to her favorite perches by the use of pet stairs and ramps. MANY people have built climbing gyms for their kitties to make it easier on them. And not only does it make it easier for them to climb up, but these aids are much kinder on their body when they go back down, especially as a cat ages.


Remember, Safety First with DIY Ramps for Cats and Dogs

The Purrfect Steps for Tripawd Cats (and Dogs!)

I wonder how cats,  other cats,  act around amputee cats? 

This is another question that’s our Trikitty members are better equipped to answer. I do know that many people here will keep their other cats separated from the recovering Trikitty, at least for a little while, until they know that things will be OK when they’re in the same room together. 

I hope this helps. Stay tuned for feedback from others and let us know what you decide to do. We are here to help!

{P.S. our e-book, Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats , will also answer many of your questions}

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Forum Posts: 79
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6 July 2017
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17 September 2020 - 11:50 am
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Hello Jays and Mittens!

It is nice to meet you, but sorry that it had to happen under these circumstances.  My 13 year old baby Tuxedo had a hemipelvectomy (right rear leg and partial pelvis) about 3 1/2 years ago due to trauma.  He also had a brother at that time (subsequently passed) and a sister now.  Tuxedo has always been kind of a wild child (climbing, jumping, fighting, etc).  He was before the injury and he still is.  But yes, he has lost some ability.  

Like Mittens he would jump on pretty much anything.  To an extent he still does.  However, he has been slowing down this last year.  When he wants he can still jump on the fridge, all furniture without any aid, etc roughly limited to ~6 ft in height and about 4 ft in width.  But usually his jumps are smaller (~2-3 ft).  I try to encourage him to use steps and ramps that I have placed throughout the house to make easier access to his favorite perches.  So while no guarantees, because every cat is different, if Mittens wants she will still b able to jump.  But you might want to look into some helping aids for those favorite places.

As to cat interactions, when Mittens comes home, I suspect that there will be some conflict.  The different smell, the cone, etc.  Dazzle and Tuxedo had many slap fests.  But of course those two played very rough with each other anyways.  Things smoothed out a lot once Tuxedo no longer had to wear his cone.  Other than play, the two got along great, sleeping together, etc.

I got Lilly after Dazzle passed away.  She was young and full of energy.  Always running, talking, jumping, just doing things.  She immediately started picking on him and he would roll throw her around.  This went on for a few days with me watching constantly.   Now Tuxedo and Lilly “fight” at least twice a day.  Lilly loves to run at Tuxedo and knock him over.  Due to the loss of leg and pelvis Tuxedo topples easily and she knows it.  He smacks her around for a little while, then sits on her and it is over.  Both Tuxedo and Lilly have over the top “I am going to get you” type personalities.  So I pretty much ignore their play now.  But I sure worried at first about Tuxedo getting injured.  It is obvious they love each other and he adores the rough rough house play, because he will go sit in the middle of the floor and meow at her to get things started.

Anyway, long story to say, if the cats love and accept each other now, they will again after the amputation.  The missing leg does not seem to affect their interactions.  Though there likely will be an adjustment period. From what I have heard that is typical for when pets come home from the vet.  Some on here said they used cat diffusers.  But most just kept them separated while the one was healing with supervised visits and then allowed gradual reintroduction.

If you have any specific questions for me, it is easier if you private message as I am not online often these days.

Hugs and best wishes,

-Dawna, Tuxedo, Lilly, and Angel Dazzle

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