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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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Running/Jumping Skills for a New Tripod Cat
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Member Since:
6 December 2018
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6 December 2018 - 7:44 pm
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Flopsy is roughly 2 and a half years old, and was surrendered to the Humane Society of my city in early September of 2018. From then, it was pretty obvious her back right leg was injured. She had xrays done and it was discovered that there was a bullet in her leg. (Don't even get me started on how disgusting a human being has to be to shoot this loving little angel. It makes me impossibly angry and sad for Flopsy). Her back right leg was completely amputated on September 6, 2018. I brought her home with me earlier today (December 6, 2018) and today marks exactly 3 months since her amputation. She luckily had no complications with her surgery and has no lingering pain. Obviously, she has an altered walk. She walks normally with her front two legs, but hops with her one back leg. I have yet to see her run, but she is definitely more of a calm, cuddly, lap cat. She adjusted to her new house and family very well. She was completely comfortable within a few hours of arriving. She has trouble jumping up to us on our couches, even though they are fairly low. I'm just wondering how long it'll take for her gain more running and jumping skills back, or if she ever will? I know it hasn't been long at all since her amputations. I don't know much about tripod cats, but she's already the sweetest, and most loving cat I've met.

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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6 December 2018 - 8:07 pm
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Hello and welcome to you and Flopsy.

Have you seen our Tri-kitty forum? Tons of information there from our kitty parents.  We also now have an e-book for cats.

Hopping is normal for Tripawds- the slower they go the more pronounced the hop.  When she gets to running you might not even be able to tell she is a Tripawd!

I've had two rear amp dogs, both small.  Maggie was a Pug who lost a leg to cancer- she never could really do stairs after her amp.  She could do two or three but that was about her limit.  My current Tripawd is a little Pug mix who lost her right rear leg after being hit by a car at 10 month old.  Elly flies up and down the stairs and jumps up on furniture even though I would rather she didn't.  I have steps or stools up to most of the furniture she is allowed on, but she can jump up on anything lower than the beds.

Flopsy might benefit from from rehab to help strengthen her core and back leg.  There are some ideas in the Cat forum and the ebook.  We also have a reimbursement program so if you decide to take her to a rehab vet your first visit could be paid!

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


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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6 December 2018 - 8:19 pm
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You've come to the right place for tons of informstion on tripawd kitties.

Try downloading one of our e-books written, in part, by one of our most knowledgeable kitty parents 

Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats    NEW!
Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats
Rated 5.00 out of 5
$19.95 $16.95

Our kitty family will chime in, but this will give you a start.

Thank you for giving the adorable Flopsy such a loving home!   She dounds like a real sweetheart❤


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!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 December 2018 - 10:51 pm
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Flopsy had a rough start but she found heaven on earth with you! Thank you for adopting this sweetie.

You've gotten some great tips already, I'll just add that it's important to make modifications to your home to accommodate her need to climb (and reduce the risk of high jumps) so that she doesn't put too much stress on her joints. I wouldn't expect her to jump the same as a four legged cat, because she has lost half of the propulsion in her rear leg.

Keep her slim too, that will help her so much as she gets used to life on three legs. 

We're so glad you joined us, thank you!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
23 February 2017
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7 December 2018 - 11:28 am
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Welcome Sara and Flopsy. Such a pretty kitty!
I got my cat Jet a few months after his amp, and he's also a rear-legged amputee. I've had him over three years now, and fortunately never had any issues with him regarding running/jumping. Feel free to check out my blog. I will say that it took him a while to jump onto certain surfaces in my house - I think it's a confidence thing. Rear leggers have a harder time getting up, but easier getting down. And it is easier for them to run than walk. Do you have other animals? I have another cat, and they are not best friends, so she chases him a lot, which I'm sure motivated him to learn to run and jump 🙂

Keep her slim too, that will help her so much as she gets used to life on three legs. 

Yes! Jet was a few pounds overweight, and I altered his diet to get him slimmed down, which helped a lot with his mobility.

I also highly recommend the cat e-book. Lots of good stuff in there.


Member Since:
6 December 2018
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7 December 2018 - 11:42 am
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Thank you to everyone who replied! (And so quickly too!) I'm definitely a little concerned about Flopsy's weight because she's just a little bit bigger than she should be, and she's a very calm cat by nature. She's not one to play often, and we do not have any pet siblings for her because we're in a fairly small apartment. The few times I went to visit her at the shelter, she was always napping and wanted to be held rather than play. That being said, she's very outgoing and friendly (and the biggest attention seeker in the world). She's definitely trying to walk across my laptop right now so I'll stop typing and pay attention to her. What are some tips on keeping a very laid-back tripawd kitty in a healthy weight range? Any other tips you can think of are welcome too!

Member Since:
23 February 2017
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7 December 2018 - 8:01 pm
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I switched Jet to a better quality cat food, plus started rationing/tracking the amounts I fed him, and that made a big difference. Exercise helps of course too.

She’s not one to play often

Jet didn't play much when I first got him, but I think he just wasn't used to playing. I'm guessing his previous owner(s) didn't play with him much. Through trial and error, I found a few toys that he likes. His faves are a small foam ball, and an old shoe string. Me playing with him keeps him active enough (I think) and helps with maintaining a good weight.

Member Since:
16 October 2018
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15 December 2018 - 6:09 pm
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Hey there! Your story touched ❤️  - just coming back to Tripawds after a little break while we enjoying our Tessie's recovery.

YES to all above tips. You may find, too, as we have, that Flopsy May go through adjustments in her type of “play.” Ours now requests at least twice - brushing with a soft brush - and while all the ecstatic rolling and squirming isn’t exercise per se, it’s a bit of movement! The routines may morph.

We’re feeding ours really nutrient-dense food, and that seems to satisfy her with less.

i would’ve been lost without the hotline & pamphlet. So glad you’re getting support here!

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