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Fang's Story

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

Fang’s Five Months on Three Legs

April 6th, 2013 · 7 Comments · Fang's Story

Hey guys. It’s been five months since Fang lost his front leg! He is still doing wonderfully – running, playing, tormenting furry critters in the yard (what’s left of them anyway), and just generally being a cat.

Cheshire smile.

Cheshire smile.

I’d like to impart a few things I’ve learned from watching him these past months.

Firstly, cats on three legs find new ways to do things that they can no longer do in the fashion to which they had previously become accustomed. For example, for spots that Fang would have had to groom by leaning on his now-non-existent front leg, he might use other objects to do so. As you can see in this picture, Fang is fond of using the outside chairs to grab onto while he turns himself over to groom his side. Smart Kitty.

Fang grabs the chair with his claws to reach back to groom difficult areas

Fang grabs the chair with his claws to reach back to groom difficult areas

Secondly, there is the issue of clawing (which is fundamental to claw health for all cats). After his front leg amputation, Fang could no longer do the “push with one arm while pulling with the other” motion that cats usually do when clawing things. This meant that when he clawed anything, that thing would just come back at his head when he pulled his claws back toward him. Clearly this upset him, because cats need to claw, and cats don’t like to be hit in the head with random objects. That’s just part of being a cat.

So… he moved to things that are heavy or rooted enough that he can’t accidentally pull back and hit him in the face. Outside this means trees and things (which is perfectly fine) but inside, it meant furniture. I am not a fan of that. But I understood why!

We went on a hunt and found what has been for us a wonderful new scratching-toy for Fang as a front leg amputee. As you can see, it has a wavy shape. This allows Fang to sit with his back legs in the lower part of the wave and claw the upper part. In other words, his own body weight keeps the scratcher from smacking him in the face (because he’s also sitting on it at the same time).

Fang's new Scratcher

Fang’s new Scratcher

This was a great solution for us, because we could not fit any more large furniture (such as a cat tree) into the house. I set this next to the couch where he had been clawing and voila, no more clawing the couch. Instantly. He is a happier cat, and I am a happier mommy.

I don’t know if it will work for all kitty front-leg-amputees, but you might want to give it a try!

Note: The first time Fang approached this he did so from the front (without sitting on it) and attempted to claw it and naturally dragged it over to himself (which he didn’t like). We had to set him inside it and then play with a feather on the top part that we wanted him to scratch – and then when he attacked the feather and got his claws into the scratcher he realized that the thing didn’t come back to hit him in the face, and he was clearly pleased. He’s used it that way ever since. And he doesn’t let any other cat come near it. 😛

The Scratcher (A more clear view)

The Scratcher (A more clear view)


7 Comments so far ↓

  • chelleb78

    Looking good, Fang! Little Man has a similar scratcher. It’s arched and has a cardboard insert that has lots of ridges to scratch and rub against. He also has a mat that just lays on the floor. I love how they come up with new ways to keep doing what they’ve always done. LM has a time scratching the ear on his amp side, but he has figured out that he can turn his head almost like an owl and reach over with his remaining back leg. I don’t know how he keeps from falling over, but he’s made it work. lol That or he will come make me scratch that ear for him.

  • cldavis

    !!! Fang does that owl-head-turn too! Awesome. Cats are such acrobats!

  • rica55

    This toy is brilliant! I have to get one because Jill cannot use her scratching post anymore and has taken to scratching the couch!!! Awesome! way to go fang!! thank you for being our inspiration!!

  • Karma

    Fang looks great. And that belly in the air just needs a big rubbin’! That cat scratcher was a great idea.

  • wyattraydawg

    Hey Fang it’s great to hear from you! Congratulations on that five month milestone, that’s a very big deal.

    I’m digging that scratching post, how cool! Can you show me how to use one? I can’t scratch on my right side and it makes me crazy always having to ask my people to do it for me. I’m an independent kinda guy like you so I know you know how that feels!

  • Codie Rae

    GO Fang! You are one pawesome kitty!

    Codie Rae and the OP

  • cldavis

    Thanks guys! We are very happy.

    Jilly, lemme know if that type of scratcher works for you, too!

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