First Vet Visit and The Decision

On Monday 10/22/12 I noticed a very large bone-hard lump on my 10 year old cat’s shoulder. I took him to the vet the next day and, after x-rays, they said that he has a bone tumor. They were surprised because apparently this typically occurs in large dogs, not cats, and so there aren’t a lot of previous cases to go by. Later in the evening they called to tell me that after an expert examined the X-ray, they believe that it might be a benign tumor since his bone has not been destroyed – it is just growing. He is not in any pain at all, and he has no limp (which would likely be the case if it was cancerous). However, they say that even if it’s benign it will continue to grow rapidly and will break his leg and cause extreme pain. We could do a biopsy, but its a painful surgery and even if it is benign, the amputation would still be required.

Fang's Arm X-Ray and Tumor
Fang’s Arm X-Ray and Tumor

So, I am faced with this horrible decision that I must make quickly, as this thing is growing very rapidly. I don’t know if I should amputate, or put him to sleep.

I keep reading that cats do very well with three legs, and I was feeling much better – but then I looked at videos. It seems like cats that lose a hind-leg do fantastically, but the videos seem to show me that when they lose a front leg, walking around seems to be very difficult. Some of them seem to almost have to crawl all the time. I am back to being a wreck. I don’t know what to do.

Part of the issue is my cat’s personality. He is already a skiddish – he likes to cuddle but hates strangers and quick movements. I have no idea if that will worsen after the surgery, but I kind of feel like it. Also, he is an outdoor cat. He has spent 90% of his life hunting outside and hates to be cooped up indoors. But, with a front leg amputation, will it be possible for him to really run around outside like he used to? It doesnt seem like it from the videos…. I think he might hate his life if I forced him to be inside forever.

I feel so guilty. I take him to the vet and they put him to sleep and then he wakes up with no arm? That’s horrifying, isn’t it?

I don’t know what’s best, and I don’t know what to choose. I feel like I’m condemning him no matter what I do.

Author: cldavis

I am a Sac State graduate with an International Business degree. I do consulting from home for Java programming, primarily in the Wicket framework. I have a wonderful fur-baby family, all with wonderful stories. Like with most cat-people, they're my kids.

6 thoughts on “First Vet Visit and The Decision”

  1. We’re so glad that you decided to start a blog, this will help so many others who are making this hard decision for their feline.

    Try not to look at it as condemning him to being a Tripawd…you are freeing him from the pain that he is in. When you see how much happier he is to be relieved of that painful limb, you’ll feel his gratitude. It won’t be easy to get to that point, but Tripawds have proven again and again that this is the case.

    Many hugs coming your way.

  2. Thanks Jerry! One tough part is that he’s not in any pain, he just will be in the very near future if I don’t do something about it… So, it almost seems meaner to take his arm off when nothing’s even bothering him yet! But… something obviously must be done. I hope it’s the right “something”!

    I hope you’re right about the blog! I wanted to start it now, while I’m still going through all of these feelings and questions before they get skewed by my experience. I hope someone else will be able to learn from it. πŸ™‚

    Thanks so much for all of your support!

  3. All i have to said is , lucky the pet who have a qwn really Love! Dont fell bad, do what you have to do, ! your cat not matter what always going to have the best from you! we wait so much for our baby Diamond, and we all fell, if we ampute Diamond leg when we just know her problem, maybe she can still be a life today! πŸ™‚ I want to said THANK YOU to be a good pet owner πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you so much. Your blog helped us make the decision to aputate. Our kitty Dio is 15 but the vet says he is as healthy as an 8 year old. He is an identical twin to your Fang. Surgery to amputate his right leg is tomorrow. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes and butterflies in my stomach, but know we have made the right decision thanks to you and Fang. I will update you as time goes on. Thank you.

    1. I’m sorry that you are Dio are going through this, but I’m so glad that you’re feeling a bit better about it, and that Fang’s story helped a bit. Keep me updated! Wishing you all the best!

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