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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I hope I can focus on my welcome post, there is a lot to go over (or at least it seems that way in my mind lol).
April 22nd, 2019 I lost my best friend Domino, who I rescued at the end of 2013. I still have another cat Trouble (totally the wrong name, this sweet girl ended up being anything but!) who I’ve had 11 years now since she was born, and she seemed “lonely”. I finally waited enough time to “heal” before attempting to get another cat. I know now there is never healing 100%, but I felt mentally well enough about it to want to get another cat to add as opposed to replace. Me and my boyfriend went to the ASPCA here in Richmond after looking at cats on their site for months. We visited with the first cat we were looking at, and it just didn’t “click” if that makes sense. There wasn’t a connection as much as it feels weird to say that. Then enter Charlie (formally Chandler). This little guy came in there and immediately started meowing at us, and jumped in our laps! We felt an immediate connection with him, but he was missing an arm! “Can we handle a cat with an arm missing? Do we have what it takes? Will our other cat get along with him?” All questions we asked the person there, and we were assured that even though he was missing a limb, he was just like any other cat, and we COULD handle having him.
Turns out the owner before did a really good job of bringing him in for appointments/taking care of him etc, HOWEVER, she also had another cat and a pit bull. The dog grabbed his arm and broke it, and she waited too long to surrender him because the surgery was $3500 (I’m not judging not getting surgery, I surely don’t have that kind of money), but the waiting too long to surrender him bugs me. They ended up having to amputate his arm. She told us he was kept in the back while he was healing, and the day we visited happened to be the first day he was brought up with the other cats to adopt. Not only that, we were also the first PEOPLE to even visit with him!!! It seemed like fate, our feelings clicked with his, he seemed like the perfect fit, it was his first day, etc. We didn’t even have to discuss it that much, he became part of our family 3 weeks ago! He’s a handful though, that’s for sure! He has no chill when it comes to jumping where we don’t think he can reach, he really doesn’t seem to be scared of ANYTHING! At one point he jumped onto the sink in the bathroom and then on top of the bathroom door.
It’s been 3 weeks like I said, and we did the Jackson Galaxy method where we kept them in separate rooms at first, fed them by the door, didn’t let them see each other, etc……and they’re still not getting along. It’s a lot for my older cat I’m guessing, maybe she wasn’t as “lonely” as were thinking, and she just isn’t cool yet with another cat in her territory. Add to that Charlie has the trauma of what happened only a few short months ago, his arm was amputated August 1st so it hasn’t been all that long, then he’s in a new place after being in the SPCA, AND my older cat isn’t being the nicest yet, it’s been a challenge for sure. Sometimes he’ll growl at his food when he’s eating randomly, his “love bites” can turn into more in an instant and it goes overboard, he seems to have some aggression issues (hey who wouldn’t after all he’s been through!) so we’re trying to be patient, just neither of us have dealt with a pet like this before with these issues, so some days have been easier than others! I’ll make a separate post to get into more details about his issues so I can get some advice, I wanted this post to be mainly positive since we love our new friend!! Really glad I found this forum to talk about having a 3 legged pet!
Paw shucks, we’re really glad you found us! Charlie knew good people when he saw you two, congratulations! I hope that the grief you felt over losing Domino (I’m so sorry!) is eased by bringing this fearless ball of fur into your life. He sounds like a ton of fun!
I’m not the expert at introducing two cats, or even two dogs, into the same household, so I’m going to defer to our Trikitty members’ expertise when it comes to Charlie, Trouble and all the pawsonality quirks you’re confronting right now. But my guess is that in time, they will acclimate to one another. You’re so right: Charlie has been through so much, so my guess is that he is doing what comes naturally until he feels like he can relax. With your patience and great attitude, it won’t be long at all.
I wish we could see the photos you shared. Check out this post about adding images to the Forums. I think your image settings on the website where they are hosted may be set to private, because it looks like you did everything else correctly. Let me know if you’d like help, just PM me.
Thanks again for joining, we look forward to following along with all your adventures!
Oops thanks for the heads up about the pictures, I uploaded them to a site but forgot to save! lol And I really hope we’re the right home for Charlie…there’s been a few times we talked about if it was the right decision, but so far our attitude has mainly been “let’s give him time to adjust”. We’re pretty attached to him at this point. 🙂
22 February 2013
What a cutie! Love the pictures!
And yes, this does sound like”fate”…..definitely meant to be!
So sorry to hear about your other kitty. I do know though, that you have a really good Guardian Angel watching over you.❤
Our kitty experts will chime jn. One member, Jackie, will be able to give you great tips on how she got a feral kitty (who also dealt with amputation at the same time) to become a family member, as well as get along with the other kitties. It was a sloooow process that required lots of patience.
First of all, your kitty is still relatively early in her recovery process from the amputation (which is MAJOR surgery). In top of that, he has gone from a home, to a shelter, to isolation, to adjusting to three legs and now to another new home. Charlie probably has no clue that this is a furever home and that he just won the kitty lottery!! Charlie is having to adjust to a lot of things all at once. I have NO doubt everything will work out with patience and time, and more patience and time!!
You are doing a great job! Charlie has to “heal” from a lot of things on many different levels.
Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!
PS. For whatever it’s worth. often times surgeries on broken legs sometimes often fail, or requir seceral surgeries, etc. Depending on the circumstances, amputation is often the best solution anyway.
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!
27 July 2014
Charlie You are sure feisty!
My cat Mona had her leg amputated due to cancer. My other cat is very sweet to her but she really doesn’t want anything to do with him, however, she is very protective of him. My vet said it’s like a brother/sister relationship.
I agree with Sally that Jackie, who is much more experienced with cats and their relationships, will be very helpful. I’m sure she’ll chime in soon.
Charlie hasn’t fully healed and has gone through a lot. Over a year I could see Mona become more comfortable with living on 3 legs.
I’m not sure who is food aggressive and biting. Charlie or the other cat? Some people use Feliway products for their cats, you could talk to your vet about that.
I’ll put more thought into this and get back to you if I have any ideas.
Hugs to you and Charlie!
26 June 2019
Just wanted to pop in and welcome you and charlie and Oh what a handsome boy he is!
We have fella that can be kind of a grouch and a bit over enthusiastic when he “plays” we’re talking dead asleep to full out aggressively attacking the dogs face for no reason??? (Good thing the dog is nicer than he is) our vet felt that he needed something to occupy his mind and tire him out. She also recommended feliway to mellow him when hes feisty.
Hugs to that handsome fella
Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾
My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.
23 February 2017
Welcome, Charlie and family!
I have a similar story to yours — I adopted my 4-legger Jery when she was just a few weeks old, and she had the run of the house for about 6 years until I adopted my 3-legger Jet. I tried same method you did, introduce them slowly etc., but she’s never accepted him as a buddy. They tolerate each other, and fight often, but it seems to be mostly play-fighting. Sometimes they get carried away, then I step in and break it up. But it’s all good!
Yeah 3 weeks isn’t very long. They’ll find their groove soon enough.
As far a having a 3-legged cat, I don’t really see a difference. Both my cats act very, um, CAT lol.
Does he have any problem using the litter box? And any idea how old he is?
Oh my goodness, what a story! I missed this, I am so terribly sorry.. wow! OMC what a GORGEOUS kitty!! He looks very young, maybe 1ish? 1-2? You did a wonderful thing here, giving this boy a chance and yes.. like you said, and the others agreed.. some things are meant to be.
I am getting ready for work, but I will be back with a story that will make you laugh. Please hang in there, this is all still fresh and new. Some meets are smoother than others, they WILL find their groove.
Jackie and Huckleberry
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry
How are you guys doing? I have some suggestions that may help you out, I hope things are going ok over there. Huck was a huge handful when we first trapped him and took him in. And we did introductions the same way that you did with a few adjustments. I started by letting Huckleberry meet Andy and Oscar separately first, just so that nopawdy felt overwhelmed.
They all got along pretty well for the most part. Oscar was a 5 week old feral kitty when I took him in. He came from a long line of feral as I work on government property so all creatures great and small here are protected and they do not encourage interaction. It just so happened that Oscar was sitting on the suspension spring of my boss’ cars right front tire, lol. Once he was caught he thought he was a mountain lion and tried to eat us all…. I ended up putting him in a box with a towel and called my husband. He came to the office and I handed him the box and asked him to put the box in our spare bathroom with the door closed until I got home shortly after. It took him about 3-4 days to stop hissing at us every time we opened the bathroom door, but he was so small and so young that it really didn’t take too long to convince him that his new home was better than sleeping under cars.
Long story shortened a bit… Oscar looks at me as mama. I am still mama. Huck was a threat to Oscar, but they now live pretty well together. Once in a while I have to separate them, but as time goes on it is further and fewer in between.
I have Feliway plug in’s and Feliway spray that I use in the house even now occasionally. I spritz the cat trees when they are not occupied, and I keep a plug in at any place that seems to spring tension between them. In the beginning for quite a while I used something called Rescue Remedy. Just a few drops in their drinking water each day and I do believe that helped as well.
I did have to let them work things out between each other to an extent. As long as there was no screaming or aggressive chasing I just kind of let them work it out. Every time there is a major change in your home, what I call the “pecking order” changes for everyone, especially when a loved one crosses over.
I am going through the process right now as one of our dogs crossed over a couple of weeks ago. It takes time.. lots of time and patience. Give your girl extra cuddles and attention, I really think they grieve just like we do. Everything you are describing about your new addition sounds like stimulation overload coupled with recent surgery recovery.
Charlie is going to need to check every crevice and corner in the house as he grows his roots and settles in with his new family. He looks young (he is GORGEOUS!) and he has been through a lot. Definitely expect it to take time to transition and get settled. Trouble may find in time that even begrudgingly she may learn to like and accept her new brother. It is definitely going to take time!
I am so very sorry for the loss of your Domino. I know how hard it is to lose a loved one. I think he maybe even coached your way to Charlie. That really sounds like a “meant to be” kind of meeting.
I wish you luck with your new addition. Have you tried catnip for the both of them yet? That can also be a stress breaker!
Jackie and Huck
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry