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My cat has had his leg amputated - any advice on how to help him once he gets home?

(57 Posts)
ApocalypseMeow Sat 24-Oct-15 21:47:08

Hi there, have looked at this topic for advice but never posted before. On Thursday morning my beautiful boy arrived home with a horrific injury (that I wish I could unsee sad ) and I had to take the hard decision to have one of his front legs amputated. The vet recommend this as the alternative quite probably wouldn't work and would have required months of surgeries and skin grafts so the kinder option was amputation. We are not sure what happened, it could have been a car accident or an animal attack, I don't know how my brave boy got home to me, it must have been a slow and painful journey and I feel so guilty that he had to suffer that and I wasn't there for him.
He also had to have an operation to pin a small fracture in his hip so is in a bad way. I am devastated this has happened to my dear, sweet and gentle boy. The vet hopes I may get him home next Tuesday if he is able to move to get to the toilet, he can't at the moment but it is early days.
I wondered if anyone has any experience of caring for a cat after amputation or any other major surgery? I want to give him the best care possible, I'm sure the vet will give me instructions but other people's experiences will hopefully be reassuring.
Sorry for the essay, so many thoughts going through my mind just now.

thecatneuterer Sat 24-Oct-15 22:11:38

Oh your poor boy. What a heartbreaking story.

I don't have any practical advice. However we do a surprisingly large number of amputations and the cats recover amazingly quickly and seem just as agile and happy with three legs as with four.

I doubt you will need to do that much other than make him feel safe and loved. I'm sure he'll surprise you with just how well he copes.

greenhill Sat 24-Oct-15 22:20:55

Poor cat, hope he recovers soon. Lots of love will keep him going smile

CocktailQueen Sat 24-Oct-15 22:27:11

Big hugs from me. Hope your boy recovers soon. Xx

cozietoesie Sat 24-Oct-15 22:30:57

Poor lad.

I've never had a cat who had to have an amputation but there's some interesting research noted here - a fairly authoritative source - which among other things, touches on the importance of addressing pain issues post operation.

That might be something to discuss with your vet before he comes home. (I know that supplemental pain relief has made the world of difference to my own elderly boy both in his ease of movement - he has severe arthritis - and his general enjoyment of life. (He has a very indulgent vet.))

Gileswithachainsaw Sat 24-Oct-15 22:33:03

I saw a cat have its leg amputated when I worked with animals.

it was up and hopping about straight away.

most cats and dogs recover well and manage just fine on three legs. and can outrun and out climb 4 legged ones

rest fir the hip to heal will be imprint. the vet will instruct you on that. and it may be a rough few weeks.

but as fir mobility on three legs well he should he back to causing mahem soon.

so sorry fir what he went through wishing him.speedy recovery

Gileswithachainsaw Sat 24-Oct-15 22:33:52



YouveCatToBeKittenMe Sat 24-Oct-15 22:39:45

I've seen a few leg amputations, cats and dogs. They usually do really well, you might want to look into getting a crate for him so you can keep him contained until the wound has healed.
I wish him a speedy recovery.

ApocalypseMeow Sat 24-Oct-15 22:44:25

Thanks for your kind words and for the research link too, I will have a read of that now. It's reassuring to hear that other cats with amputations have made good recoveries and become agile again. I haven't seen him since the operation, the vet hospital seems to discourage visiting. I can't wait to see him and tell him how much I love him. He will certainly be getting plenty of love and tlc when he gets home!

TheSpottedZebra Sat 24-Oct-15 22:48:17

Oh your poor boy.
One of my childhood cats had a front leg amputated -iirc, he was a 'grown up' cat when it happened -maybe 10 ish? He lived 'til 19. Some things changed - he couldn't run fast anymore and he rarely left the garden. He also had more trouble jumping up and down to the window ledges (where he loved to sit), so we rearranged the furniture to give him steps. Sofas and beds were ok, but then they are less high, and deeper, and a soft landing.

Eating took longer at first, and we had to experiment a bit with dishes and blocks to make sure that they were bag the right height for him and he was a bit wobbly at first. Because of this, we fed him away from other pets.

We also had to pay more attention to brushing and grooming him, as some bits he couldnt reach and i guess his injuries meant he was less flexible. Nothing drastic though -we just brushed him, and occasionally took a damp flannel to him if he felt a bit grimy! And also his claws had to be attended to, as they didn't seem to get worn down.

Is he litter trained? Ours wasn't, and he took to pooing in the garden, as opposed to a bit of wasteland over a fence he used before. Of course this was fine. And he kept his bottom etc clean. All in all, he coped well, and we just made tiny adjustments that then seemed normal, eg the series of steps made of footstools, tables and sofas. He lived a really long, very happy life with our family incl. us as kids, other cats and a jack russell, and I really don't think he suffered, apart from after the initial accident.

Very best wishes.

ApocalypseMeow Sat 24-Oct-15 22:48:33

He certainly was good at creating mayhem Giles, hopefully he will again soon!
My lovely friend has a crate which she is going to lend me so that is sorted smile

IHaveBrilloHair Sat 24-Oct-15 22:51:45

My cat had her leg, and a toe amputated just over a year ago, back leg, front toe, she was hit by a car.
We kept her in a big dog cage in dd's room until she got used to being home, and so the other cats wouldn't bother her too much (we have four).
I can honestly say that she bounced back so quickly, she still rules the roost here, and she's just our Supercat.
Hope your cat recovers quickly, I'll keep checking.

IHaveBrilloHair Sat 24-Oct-15 22:53:27

My Eponine

ApocalypseMeow Sat 24-Oct-15 23:04:59

Oh she's beautiful ihave, sorry to hear she has had an amputation too, it's great to know that she is back to her usual self. I will update when I get him home, hopefully with news that he is coping well.

uggmum Sat 24-Oct-15 23:16:01

I owned a cat that had a traumatic injury and lost a leg. It was her back leg. I found it distressing when I saw her after the operation. She did heal really well.
In the days after the op I kept her in 1 room until she was more mobile and gave her lots of treats.
Her recovery was impressive. Over time her remaining back leg appeared to move more central. Nothing held her back. She could jump and run and was faster than my fat 4 legged cat.
Sadly, she is no longer with us but she lived a good 4 years with 3 legs and was happy
(We lost her when she was hit by a car)

timtam23 Sat 24-Oct-15 23:19:00

Sorry to hear about your cat, how upsetting for you. I have no personal experience of 3-legged cats but I have heard good things about how quickly they adapt & what a full life they still lead. Hopefully your cat will be the same. Eponine looks to be a good role model smile

IHaveBrilloHair Sun 25-Oct-15 12:11:57

You can see her missing leg and lobster paw here

ApocalypseMeow Sun 25-Oct-15 13:19:09

Thanks uggmum it's great to hear your cat made such a good recovery. Sorry that she is no longer with you though sad. Eponine definitely looks like a positive role model timtam. Thanks for the photo, it is reassuring to see and great her fur grew back nicely too. The vet called this morning and said that he is going to the toilet but isn't getting up to use the litter tray. However, they are hoping to get him home tomorrow afternoon as he is not eating much and they think he might do better at home. Really looking forward to seeing him but a little nervous about how his first few days will be.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 25-Oct-15 16:04:56

I have amputated a fair few cats legs over the years both back and front legs. Every single one of them has gone back to having a normal active life.
Post-operative pain control is a really important part of recovery I use multimodal pain relief including local anaesthetics and systemic analgesics.
I would suspect at the moment it is the combination of the hip pining and amputation together that is preventing him getting up as most cats who only have an amputation are fully ambulatory in 48 hours of surgery.

Mincepies76 Sun 25-Oct-15 21:25:28

My cat had his front leg amputated when he was about 3 years old. We don't know how he broke his leg and tried for months to mend it but it didn't work. He is nearly 15 now smile It has undoubtedly slowed him down and changed his life! He had ben an active cat that like climbing and running around, which came to an end. We had to make a "disabled" access into our back gate so he could get in his garden and as he likes having his bed off the ground we make sure he has something to jump on to so he doesn't have to jump from a high surface to the floor. Otherwise he's had a pretty active life. We found he got quite porky when he was middle aged as he couldn't do as much exercise, but he's old now (and not in the best of health) and this is no longer a problem.
We were so sad when it happened but he's had a great life and we love him all the more, he's such a sweet boy x

Mincepies76 Sun 25-Oct-15 21:26:38

PS. When he poos he still tries to bury it...very funny to watch grin

ApocalypseMeow Sun 25-Oct-15 22:18:50

Thanks lonecat, I will make sure I know everything about his pain control plan when I collect him from the vet. I am hoping pain from the hip op doesn't last too long and hold him back.
Thanks for telling me your boys story too mincepies, good to hear he has still lived a long and active life. I think my boy will really miss jumping and climbing, why come in the door when you can climb on top of the porch and wait until someone lets you in an upstairs window grin. The image of your cat still trying to bury poo made me smile.

upandawayy Sun 25-Oct-15 22:46:49

My cat got stuck upside down at the top of a fence last year, something I wish I could unsee. He lost a toe but hyperextended his back leg and was on cage rest for about two months. He really didn't like it and was so sad in there. I was just posting to say that if your cat is on strict cage rest we found that carrying our cat to the sofa or bed and then supervising him having a snooze did give him a good break from the cage.
Also he didn't like eating in the cage, what with a bed, his food and litter tray always together. He tipped over his water pretty much every night and repeatedly used his bed as a litter tray as it was easier than trying to manage the tray with his bad leg. We also used rescue remedy as he was padding the blankets in his cage a lot as comfort.
I really wish your cat a speedy recovery

skyeskyeskye Sun 25-Oct-15 22:47:13

My cat had a front leg amputated. She lived for 111 years after that. She could outrun the neighbours cat and was forever chasing it out of the garden.

skyeskyeskye Sun 25-Oct-15 22:48:16

*11 !! what a typo! grin

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