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Fang's Story

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

Eleven Months – Same Kitty, New Place

October 10th, 2013 · 8 Comments · Fang's Story

Fang in his beloved yard before the recent move

Fang in his beloved yard before the recent move

Hey there everybody! It’s been a while since our last post – I miss everyone! I just had some dental surgery that took a whole lot longer to recover from than I ever imagined, and, as I mentioned in my last post, Fang’s grandparents and I have been in the long and arduous process of moving! My parents and I now live about a 5 minute drive away from each other in a residential neighborhood, and yes, Fang went to live with his grandparents (as they have a large empty field behind their back fence due to an infrequently used rail line and a creek).

That’s right, there’s no more rural areas, cows, horses, and fields for the kitties to romp around anymore – but that’s okay. The initial split-up of the pack was, I think, a little hard for the kitties at first. Two came to live with me (Feral and Mamma) and three went to live with their grandparents (Wikka, Duffy, and my beloved Fang), but I think it went better because none of the babies are alone. They’ve got companion kitties they know and love, and of course, they’ve got us door-opening-slaves if they sink down low enough to need us. 🙂

As always, we were far more worried about Fang being able to handle the change in environment than we should have been, and as always, he proved to us that cats just keep going on being cats, no matter where they are or if they lose a limb :P. It’s only been a week in his new place, but he’s already taken to sleeping between his grandparents all sprawled out taking up as much space as only a kitty can. And of course, I visit every day to cuddle with him. And no, he’s not mad at me 🙂 — he runs down the stairs and hops on my lap, purring in his Fangy way.

We’ll see what happens when he goes out into the yard for the first time! But, I am sure he will be just fine. He’s a wise boy, and I am done underestimating him time and time again. He’s got a very Jill-inspired “Keep calm and hop on” mentality that I am growing to trust more and more!

Fang on his designated scratching post chair

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • rica55

    oh FANG! it’s so good to hear from you, our hero and fearless leader! Is it 11 months already! How crazy! You are lookin’ good Fang, so calm and zen-like. Before you know it, that big one year ampuversary will be here! I sure hope your mom is going to throw you a big pawty!!!

  • benny55

    Glad all is going so well for Fang and ALL the pack!

    Heck, he may just decide to be an i door kitty all the time! He seems to be lovi g his life of cuddles and snuggles!

    We can clearly see in that photo how he fot the name “Fang”! Doravle kitty face!

    You keep on keeping on Fang! You are a very loved kitty! Thaks for the update!

    Kitty scratches to all! Oh, I like your new scratching post”,

    Sally and Happy Hannah

  • Christine

    what a lucky Kitty!!!! and kuduos to you AND your paarents for accommodating Fang and giving him a happy, kitty go lucky life! and he is only 5 minutes away, so any visits are just a hop, skp and a jump!
    Congrats on 11 months!!!! That deserves a high 5.. or 4.. or three pawed salute!!
    Christine….. with Franklin in her heart♥

  • cldavis

    Awwww, thanks guys as always! He issss doing very well there, I’m so happy. And I am really glad that I’m so close that I can be with him every day! I miss my little snuggler!

  • Marlene

    I just wanted to say thank you for the blog you have done. I got home from the vet yesterday and I also have to make the decision about whether or not to amputate. Its been very hard to think of but reading as you had documented it, gives me a very positive hopeful view so thank you!

  • cldavis

    Marlene – I am so glad that you feel more positively about the amputation process. It really is not anything like the horrible idea we fur-baby-mommies think it is at first. Especially for kitties – it is just amazing how quickly they hop right back on their feet and go on with life like it’s no big thing. We can really learn a lot from our furbabies.

    What is your kitties name? What sort of situation brought you to this circumstance? If you have questions that Fang’s blog doesnt answer, I’m happy to help you out. Additionally, Jill and her mom are very active Tripawd members (rica55 in the comments above), and she is always happy to answer questions. Jill is a hind-leg amputee kitty.

    And, of course, if you post a question or any thoughts at Tripawds.com you will find a huge web of support and information to help you through the process of making a decision, recovery, and all the good times afterward too! 🙂

    Hope to hear from you soon!

  • Marlene

    Thank you very much! It is nice to have a support group to turn to right now as it is something I am not familiar with and I don’t know anyone who is.

    My baby boy’s name is Quinn, he is eight (we think) I adopted him six years ago. He is a huge mama’s boy. He is an indoor kitty and likes to be near me at all times. I love his snuggles every day. He is always reaching for me to wrap his paws around my fingers, almost like a little child would do. And when he is not sleeping on top of me he is busy hogging the entire queen size bed.

    About a month ago he had a small bump on his front right leg just above his paw, I didn’t think much of it though I knew I needed to get him checked. I was in the process of moving, away, working a lot and on the weekend when I saw it again, it has rapidly grown and is huge so I booked him for an appointment right away. The vet was very alarmed when she saw it, though otherwise there is absolutely nothing wrong with him and none of his habits have changed.

    She did the xray right away and said there is no bone damage but she did try to take a sample and said she ruled out it being any type of cyst. Unlike Fang, she thinks there is a large probability it is cancerous but regardless, the leg needs to be removed.

    I had a lot of mixed emotions and talked to some family and friends about it and I was surprised that some of them suggested that I shouldn’t even bother doing any additional tests, that I should just put him down. It was a really hard decision and I spent all of last reading about three legged cats, which is how I came across your blog.

    Today I made the decision to do the biopsy first as if he does have cancer that has spread, I don’t want to put him through any unnecessary surgery. If it is cancer, at least I know. And if it’s not, then I will proceed with the amputation. I would never be able to live with myself if I decided to put him down without even knowing for sure and I think you are right about them being very adjustable. Something you wrote really touched me too because it’s how I felt. If he was in the wild and lost it, he wouldn’t just lay down and die and he deserves me to do everything I can to try and help him.

    Its a very overwhelming decision to make. I’m young, I’m on my own in my house and these are my babies. It’s even more difficult because I just had to make the decision to put my dog down about three months ago, its hard when you start to reach that point with your animals. I have another cat as well, who is fifteen and the perfect picture of health – she has never had anything wrong with her, luckily and no one can believe how old she is. They mean a lot to me, I have all of their paw prints tattooed on me. No matter what animals come after, these three will always be in my heart as my first little animal farm 🙂

    Thank you for letting me talk to someone who understands exactly how I feel right now. I sincerely appreciate it.

  • cldavis

    It sounds like Quinn is a very lucky boy to have such a loving mommy! (As well as the rest of the furbaby family!) I do know exactly what you are going through, and I know that it’s very difficult. When I was searching for information for Fang’s amputation, I couldn’t find much of anything. Tripawds was the most helpful community, but at that time there were mostly tripawd dog parents rather than kitties (though I still got a ton of information and support from the community). Since then, we’ve seen a lot more kitty activity :).

    You say that Quinn is 8 – I was worried that Fang would be a bit too old to adjust to amputation at 11 years old but he has been perfectly fine. I believe that this is especially the case because he has always been rather athletic, though I have met quite a few tripawd kitty pawrents of chunkier babies. It does help a lot to keep them fit (they’ve got less legs to carry the weight). You mentioned that Quinn is a house kitty – My house kitties have always been on the chunkier side :3. In that case you may want to think about some light dieting. Just something to think about!

    I think that the fact that Quinn is already a snuggly, loving baby would really help him in the first recovery stages of the amputation. You will be able to be more of a support for him to keep him comfortable, happy, and calm. Fang has always been very solitary and so he had to sort of figure all of that out himself. Which he did, don’t get me wrong, but I think that a snuggly attitude would help that process even more.

    The vet also believed that Fang’s lump was cancerous. They offered to biopsy, but I decided that because it was growing so quickly and would hurt him either way that I would just get it amputated (especially since cancer is time-sensitive as we didn’t want it to spread). We did not find out it wasn’t cancer until after we took it out. But, like I said, in our case we decided that cancer or no, we would do the amputation and if it was cancer we would fight it. It sounds like in your case, you feel that you don’t want to have Quinn go through fighting cancer. I can completely understand you there – that is a difficult decision.

    Your story reminds me so much of Jill’s, if you got a chance to read her blog. She had a lump like this on her toe, they had just the toe amputated and thought they were done. Then it showed up in her shoulder so they took her whole arm instead. In her case, it is cancer. However, Jill’s story is a happy one! She’s just done her final chemo treatment I believe and she looks to be clean and healthy. If you are worried about cancer, I really suggest reading her story. Jill and her mom are really pioneering what treatment’s work for this cancer in kitties, since there was not a lot of information on that for her (or her vet) to go on. It’s pretty amazing, and very helpful for pawrents afterword who want to help their kitty tripawds fight cancer, if you decided to go that route.

    Did they do an X-Ray of Quinn’s lungs? Thats usually a good way of telling if cancer has really spread. If it’s still just in his arm, you might be able to get rid of all of it in one go, even if it is cancer. Just something to think about!

    I understand exactly what you mean about the mixed emotions. This is a very hard decision to make for, basically, your child. I felt exactly that way. And the point you mentioned about realizing that he would just learn to live with his disability if it was his choice is also what made my mind up that I would amputate. I believe I did what he would want. I’m glad that you found strength in that point too. 🙂

    And my father also did not want me to do the amputation – he thought that it would not be for the best and that Fang’s life would be too hard. And I also had friends that said that that is just too much money to spend on “a cat”. But I understand, this is family. Some people don’t feel that way about their pets, but I know exactly what you mean. There are a lot of mixed feelings there, and a lot of people pulling you in different directions. But I find you should just do what you in your heart believe is right, because you truly love Quinn and you will choose what is best for him – whatever that might be. Listening to people is always good, but only you can make the choice.

    I am so sorry for your recent loss of another family member, and I am sure that that makes things so much more difficult. The important thing is, though, that you made a happy home for your babies – all of them – and that’s the best life anyone can have. 🙂

    You will be fine, and you will make the right decision. I know it feels like you could easily make the wrong one, but the fact is that you love your Quinn and you are putting so much thought into his well-being that either choice you make is absolutely the right one for your situation. I can guarantee that.

    Chin up, stay strong, keep us updated!

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