Caring For A Cat With An Amputated Limb
16 April, 2012

My sweet friend, Amy, wanted to adopt a cat.  She went to a shelter close to her home and fell in love with an adorable tabby cat that had a broken back limb.  Amy and her big heart decided to take the cat home and give him a new life.  She now had to take the next steps in caring for her cat with a broken limb and I wanted to help her in any way that I could.

What causes a cat to break his or her limbs?

The most common causes for limb amputation in cats are injuries. Some bone breaks are so bad that setting them with casts will not make them heal. In these cases, removal is the only way for such felines to heal and thrive. Other types of injuries, such as those caused by animal attacks can result in irreparable damage that requires amputation. Diseases, such as malignant tumors, also may warrant removal of a cat’s leg so the cancer does not spread.

Take your cat to the vet for an evaluation

When you realize that you cat has a torn or broken limb, you will need to take your cat to your veterinarian for an evaluation.  If your vet has determined that your cat needs an amputation, the procedure is fairly common and straightforward.  Your cat will be given anesthesia and pain medications and the leg will be removed.  It sounds awful, but the pain will be less than a broken limb.

My back leg is better now!

Once our feline friend comes out of surgery and is sent home, the owner must follow up with pain medications as instructed by your veterinarian.  Further, bandages must be changed and the wound cleaned. The cat’s owner will be instructed to keep the animal as still as possible for the first few weeks until the wound has healed. A follow-up veterinarian visit must be made to evaluate the area, and remove any stitches or staples that were used during the amputation.

Helping a Three-Legged Cat Adapt

Following the surgery, our feline friend will try to get up and walk around the house within days of the procedure. However, he or she may seem confused by the missing limb as she tries to walk, jump or scratch.  The pet owner can help by making sure the cat is kept in a safe area with soft surfaces.  Try to keep your cat away from areas where he or she would be likely to jump.

Special Care Consideration

As your three-legged cat adjusts to his or her new life, the owner might need to make some adjustments for her comfort and well being. Using ramps will help your cat get into a window or up on allowed furniture and the owner might need to adjust the size of the litter box based on the cat’s abilities. If your cat becomes less active and gains weight as a result of the amputation, it might be time for a diet to counteract his more sedentary lifestyle.

As always, keep in touch with your veterinarian to assure a safe and happy transition.   To all that have to deal with a three-legged cat, the best of luck!  However, once your cat gets used to the transition, he or she can live a long, happy life.


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