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Caring for Amputee Cats

 by danielle on 06 Aug 2014 |
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After an especially dreadful accident, or the onset of a disease such as cancer, amputation of a cat’s limb may be the only treatment option available. Adapting to life on three legs is never easy, however with owner support the challenge can become far easier.
Even the boldest cat will be disturbed at first by the procedure and suffer pain that requires medication to ease any discomfort. However, owners of amputee cats generally note after the initial recovery period, they see little change in the mood, appetite and behaviours in their cats except for an overall decrease in activity and speed. However, actions that used to be a part of the cat’s everyday life will become impossible using only three legs, such as climbing trees and jumping from great heights.

However, cats missing a leg can still jump and climb, only lesser distances that previously. A cat will discover their limitations as they begin to explore their old territory. Whilst it can be difficult for owners to watch a cat flounder as they try to do what once came easily to them, it is important to resist the urge to overly baby your cat by carrying them from place to place. They need to build up additional strength in their remaining limbs and exercise is the only way that will be achieved.
Given time, many cats will adapt well to their new limitations. Foreleg amputees generally find movement more challenging than hind-leg amputees as forelegs are used for landing whereas back legs are used for propulsion. Yet cats, with their excellent balance and flexibility, usually find amputation far less challenging than other species.

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Modifications made to the house are amongst the most useful ways owner’s can provide assistance, especially when the cat has just returned home from the veterinary clinic. Step stools or boxes can be used to create stairs to a cat’s favourite spot on the sofa. Some owner’s create imaginative ladders from wood so their cats can climb to their favourite spot on the roof.
Weight management is another vital component of amputee cat care. An obese cat will struggle greatly with the extra strain on their legs if their do not lose weight quickly. Cats who previously did not struggle with weight issues may become susceptible following surgery due to the decrease in activity that tends to follow.

Caffrey the Persian demonstrates the capacity for amputee cats to thrive following the loss of a limb – or in his case, limbs. After being struck by a car aged three, it was necessary for him to have his left hind leg removed. Aged fourteen, when a malignant growth was discovered in his left front leg, it was decided that too had to go. Caffrey, missing two legs both on the same side of his body, roams his house and garden unbothered.

Fortunately, cats everywhere tend to prefer catnapping over any other activity, and that requires no legs at all.

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