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Fang's Story

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

2 Weeks after Amputation

November 16th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Fang's Story

Fang on Day 10

Fang on Day 10

It’s been two weeks now since Fang had his front left leg amputated, and really I could not be happier with the outcome of this whole endeavor. I never would have imagined that things could be so normal after what seemed to me like such a catastrophic and life-changing loss. Fang can do everything he used to do – he runs, he jumps up and down from things, he plays, he rolls around happily, he purrs and loves life. And all this while his wound is still in the process of healing! I’ve not had to change a single thing in our house to better accommodate him.

Here are some of the highlights of week 2 of Fang’s recovery from becoming a three legged cat:

Day 8: Going Number 2

Yeah, it probably shouldn’t have consumed my life as much as it did – but not going number 2 after a large surgery can be a big deal! Anesthesia and pain medications slow the digestion process way down, and sometimes it can slow down so much that the body can’t get it going again so well! A lot of people said I should expect a bowel movement after 3-4 days – well that certainly didn’t happen! But, after 8 days and 1 small dose of Miralax he finally went. I’ve never been happier about poop….

Fang Loving the Outdoors

Fang Loving the Outdoors

Day 10: Fang Gives Us the Slip

By day 10 after Fang’s operation, he was back to getting up to sleep on top of the bed rather than under it, going into the rest of the house, and just generally being part of the family again. I was still keeping Feral, my fat cat, away from him, but he had already re-met and had the same mutual distaste for Mamma-Kitty that he always had and they were their normal snotty selves with one another. His personality was still strange – he wanted desperately to go outside, he hated using the litter box, and he spent a lot of the time acting a bit gloomy.

So on day 10, I walked into the house and Fang hopped out right into the yard. He had been in his usual spot whining at the door, and for some reason we didn’t think about it and Fang was out before anyone could catch him. So we went out looking for Fang around the yard (mind you, we have a bit of property). He still had his staples in, and I didn’t want anything to happen to them. Eventually we found him…

I have never seen Fang so unbelievably happy. He was rolling and stretching and grooming and sun-bathing – his demeanor was entirely different. He ran around in the fields, and eventually found himself a nice high spot on the wall to sleep in the sun. That’s when I knew, 100%, that Fang was not only going to be fine – but that he would thrive. He was not gloomy about his arm! – he was gloomy because he was cooped up inside! His full personality came back within one hour, and it hasn’t left since.

So, yeah, we kept letting him out when he wanted to go. Would the vets say that was a good idea? Maybe no. Do I think it’s necessary? Heck yes. His confidence, happiness, and energy far outweighed any potential costs. Besides, his incision was nearly healed anyway… just a bit scabby.

Fang's Staples on Day 3 v. Day 10

Fang’s Staples on Day 3 v. Day 10

Day 10: Fang and Barrel meet

I was warned that with cats, after the recoup period where the household kitties aren’t together, there is a fairly good chance that the cats will not get along as well as they once did. The smell of the vet and the lack of interaction can deteriorate a once good relationship between cats, and the owner might have to put in some ground work to get everyone happy with one another again. People suggest doing positive things while they’re near each other, switching bedding amongst the cats so that they can get used to the new smells, etc. Well, when Fang booked it out of the house we didn’t get to do any of those things. He met Barrel, our fat cat, pretty quickly. I was worried because, while they get along well and can often be seen cuddling, Barrel does sometimes try to assert dominance over Fang by biting and playing rough – and Fang is much smaller and now has only three legs. Well, I’m happy to report that things were completely normal between them. In fact, after smelling each other Barrel licked Fang on the head a few times and was off to do other things. I have since then seen Barrel try a few dominating moves, but Fang batted him away just like he always did, and Barrel took the hint.

Fang and Barrel's first interaction since amputation

Fang and Barrel’s first interaction since amputation

Day 13: The Staples Come Out

The veterinary office said to wait for 14 days to have Fang’s staples removed, but at this point he was already going outside and had gotten one staple turned on something, somehow. It wasn’t bad, but I knew it was time to get them removed. I emailed the vet, she said yes, and off we went to the vet’s office. I hated taking Fang back to the vet when he had just gotten his personality back – and he hated going as much as I hated taking him. But I had looked online about taking the staples out myself and, because I don’t have the special tool to do it, I would have done more harm than good. It took all of 5 minutes for them to remove the staples, there was no charge, and we were back home shortly thereafter. Fang didn’t do his usual after-vet run under the bed – nope, he went right back to the spot on top of the bed he was laying before that and rolled all around on the side where the staples were. I imagine they were itchy and bothersome, and he certainly seemed happy as a clam to have them out. Just one more happy surprise, I suppose. 🙂

In the end

I feel like there’s just not a whole lot more recoup to go… I mean, realistically at this point he’s pretty much exactly like he was before. Sure he hops now instead of walking but he gets around as quickly as always, runs brilliantly well, and lands perfectly without hitting his “bad side”. It doesn’t even make me sad to look at him without his arm, because he just doesn’t seem to miss it. Even my dad, who really sincerely believed that amputation was not the way to go, is thrilled at how well Fang gets around and how normal his life is.

So, there it is – the answer to the question that horrified me only two weeks ago: Would Fang be okay? Heck yeah – he’s more than okay! So here’s to our newly tri-pawd cat, living life like he always has! Active, healthy, and happy. 🙂

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Perfectascats

    Thank you so much for sharing Fang’s story and for chatting with me on the Advice site. This gives me so much hope and takes away a lot of my fear for my kitty, Xerox, who is in Day 3 of post-amputation recovery. 🙂

  • cldavis

    No problem at all! I’m so happy to be able to help you in what I know is such a difficult time!

    You might even think about joinging TriPawds and starting a blog about yours and Xerox’s story! There are so many other tri-pod cats out there, but so few stories for people to read to give them hope for the future!!!

    Absolutely let me know if you need anything at all.

    He’ll do great!

  • admin

    Lookin’ good there Fang!

    Thank you for upgrading your blog with a Tripawds Supporter subscription!

  • cldavis

    Thanks – He’s totally living it up!! And I’m happy to support such a wonderful cause! 🙂

  • Rainy

    What an amazing boy you have there, i was so touched by Fang’s story and want to thankyou so much for sharing it. My cat is an amputee too, She had her left hind leg removed just yesterday and she is struggling and it is so sad. She is walking fine on her 3 legs but she is getting really frustrated as she wants to jump up on chairs and beds like she used to before her op but she can’t figure out how and to see her growl and thrash about in frustration is utterly heart wrenching. I hope she makes a good and speedy recovery like you lovely Fang has.

  • Lisa & Spirit

    I am hopeful Spirit will make the remarkable recovery such as others I am reading here. His hind leg was amputated yesterday, and he returns home today. Though I know him to be a mighty tough warrior, I have to admit I am scared.

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