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Fang's Story

Cat Amputation – Our cat's transition to having three legs instead of four

Day 3 – After Amputation

November 6th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Fang's Story

Last night at about 3:00AM (I was up, of course, and in the office with Fang), he got up, walked around a bit, ate his first dry food since the surgery, and decided to lay down on the blanket next to the coffee table instead of underneath it. I guess he’s feeling less afraid now, which makes me happy. 🙂 He’s also realized that he can use his new situation to his advantage, i.e. sitting up and staring me down until I pet him constantly. Only then does he lay down and sleep (whilst I’m petting him, of course). If he wakes up and realizes I stopped, he’s back up and staring me down again, lol. I know he’s playing me but I don’t care – I’m glad to see his mood improved. He has continued trying to remove his fentanyl foot patch off and on – not horribly but, as you’ll see in a note farther down the page, it’s something I’ve got to watch. He’s also started to get a bit of crustiness on the tippity top of his wound at the shoulder – I’m pretty sure that’s just scabbing though (that’s what it looks like to me anyway). He’s still not too bad about trying to lick the staples either so, all in all, we’re doing well. I would like to share some tips I’ve learned (so far) for future cat amputee parents (below):

Fang Sleeping Out

Your blankets would look dirty too if you took them with flash!! (maybe) o.O

Tips I’ve Learned (so far) About Three-Legged Cat Recovery

(1) Don’t be surprised or annoyed when your kitty ignores some of the things that you prepared for their recuperation period (i.e. pet beds, a new low litter box, new toys, easy-to-eat-foods). Just let them lie on, play with, or not play with whatever the heck they want. It’s their time anyway.

(2) Don’t be surprised when kitty decides that the recoup room that you have chosen is not the one for them (if you let them into the rest of the house). Just move what they need into whatever room they choose. They’re obviously more comfortable in there anyway.

(3) Block out the first week (at least) of their recuperation time so you can be home. Even if you were optimistic about kitty’s recovery, you don’t want to leave them alone if at all possible, and not for very long. They like your company and really, they need you to watch them.

(4) At the same time, don’t mess with them too much. If kitty says “not right now, mom and dad”, leave them be a while. You can stay near enough to hear kitty, but give them their space if they want it. Cats can be solitary animals, and messing with them might just stress them out even if they love you.

(5) Kitties want to be UNDER things while they recoup. I don’t know why I didn’t think about this beforehand, but I wish I did. If you choose, say, your bedroom as a recoup area, kitty will almost immediately go under the bed where you can’t reach or check on them AND you won’t be able to gently and nicely pull them out without hurting them so, ya know, plan for that.

(6) You can’t pick them up. There’s just no good way to hold them – their chest and side have stitches/staples (at least for front amps) so, plan for that as well. You might have to let them go where they want so make sure they can’t get anywhere you don’t want them to go.

(7) Clean the litter box every time they use it. Kitty will, at least once, hit their staples/sutures into the litter while trying to dig or jump into the box. You do NOT want anything more dirty than it has to be getting into that wound!

(8)Vets may not agree with me, but for ME, Fang was much happier with no cone or onesie on. Now, we haven’t gotten to the itchy stage yet, so this might change, but if they don’t need it and you can watch them very carefully, they might have a much better mood and be less stressed without the extra accessories.

(8)Don’t help them unless you have to. They do so much better when you let them figure it out themselves, even if it hurts to watch. This, of course, does not apply to letting them do something that will rip their stitches/sutures.

(9)I was not previously aware of a very important piece of information that I’d like to share: The fentanyl pain patch on the cat’s foot cannot be tampered with. It’s a big deal, and I’m glad I looked it up. If it is torn or cut it can let all the medication out to the cat at once and be fatal. And, of course, the same thing happens if kitty manages to ingest it. So, watch your cat like a hawk. Fang has already messed with his multiple times, and the cone doesn’t help stop him from getting to his back foot, where the patch is.

(10) Kitty can still make some pretty crazy jumps – so if you’re using a baby-gate in the doorway, consider using two (one on top of the other). Fang jumped his on day 1. Awesome, but probably not good with the staples and all.

(11) If they act like they don’t have an appetite, try a different food (especially a liquidy one). Fang has not touched his dry food since he’s been home – he’ll only eat wet food and cat milk, and mostly just want to drink the juice. He also decided he’s too good for “whitefish” flavor and won’t touch it. Kitty might very well be playing you, but let them! It’s only for a couple weeks anyway.

(12) By enough supplies BEFORE you bring kitty home. I have to try to plan a run to the grocery store because I didn’t buy enough cat food he likes (playing me), and it’s a headache because I don’t want to leave him alone.

That’s about it for now. As I learn more, I’ll share it!

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • daisygirl

    Aww Fang I’m glad your recovery is going so good. You keep milking it for all it’s worth!

    Marla and Daisy (& Fat Cat Maybelle)

  • labsrus

    This is a great post ~ well done! You are supplying new tripawd kitty pawrents with a wealth of information. Thank you for doing that. I can’t imagine how much harder it is to take care of a new tripawd kitty compared to a new tripawd dog. Our dog couldn’t leap out of his x-pen… he stayed put where we left him. And we didn’t have to double up on the baby gate at the top of our steps either. It’s amazing what cats can do compared to dogs… no wonder they think they’re superior!

    Sounds like Fang has the best pawrent possible. I really hope things continue to stay smooth and steady for you and Fang during his recovery period and beyond.

  • doggiemomma9

    Fang, we *LOVE* your motto! Keep up the good work on healing up. You are rockin’ it!

    Butchey Hudson & his Fam

  • cldavis

    Haha, they certainly do think they’re superior, the little devils :). I feel like the biggest difference for a dog vs a cat (and I dont know, since I’ve got no tri-pod doggies), is that you can provide so much emotional support to a dog – they genuinely are happier when you’re around and are happy. With cats you just kinda have to hope they’ll make themselves happy. I mean, you try but… they just don’t care as much about your affection (well, some cats anyway).

    — That motto is something someone told me on one of the forums I posted on and it REALLY helped me to stay positive! I hope it spreads!!!

    Thanks you guys, for the kind words, and all the support!!

  • virginia and my kitty - dixie

    as i am reading this – i am tearing up as all this info seems to have come to me at just the right time – amp will be happening in the next week or so. thank you soooo much for all this information. fang sounds adorable!

  • Ann Garner

    Thank you so much for posting this. In 10 days, my Buddy is having a front leg amputated due to bone cancer. Your observations and experience has really helped me with my plans on taking care of Buddy. Buddy is also a black cat.

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