Advice for Three Legged Cats

Should you become a three legged cat you will still be able to enjoy your pampered cat lifestyle. Here is some advice for the newly three-legged cat:

1. Prepare to become a local legend

Everybody loves three legged cats. Absolutely everybody. Even the man next door who didn’t like you at all when you had four legs will say “Ah!”. Make the most of your fame and use it to your advantage.

Train the paperboy. He will think you are so cute that he will turn up with little treats for you hidden in his pockets, you will hardly be able to keep up with him as he does his round because you have to keep stopping to eat them.

The two children across the road will fall in love with you and worship you. Allow them to pet you, then they will feed you bits of chocolate biscuit when they think no-one is looking.

When your human pet has gone to work, hang around looking very sad and neglected. You will be able to persuade the nice lady who lives up the road to set out early for work, just so that she can stop and make a fuss of you. When you sneak into her house later on, she will feed you little dishes of tuna fish, allow you to sleep in front of her fire and play with her own cat’s toys.

2. You will discover just how stupid some humans can be

Some foolish people will completely fail to notice that you only have three legs. They will make stupid remarks such as “I think your cat’s limping, is he alright?” Do these humans really think that you can’t run about on three legs? They seem to manage, even though they only have two. Do not allow these idiots to rub your ears, for they are not worthy of it.

3. Develop some new climbing techniques

At home, you may need to be more imaginative. When your human pet thinks that an unattended dish of trifle is out of your reach, you can prove her wrong, by climbing onto a chair, then jumping onto the table, before finally launching yourself at the work surface. Mmm custard, your favourite thing in the world…

However, it is best if you do not attempt to climb any tall trees, this will result in an undignified failure. Instead hang around on the ground looking disinterested and mock the four legged cats who attain more height, but who look most ungainly as they clamber upwards.

4. Play cat and mouse.

Hunting birds is more difficult when you have only three legs, it is so much more effort to leap in the air. You may prefer to develop a taste for mice instead. When you get really old and lazy you might even try hunting worms. Or slugs. (But don’t let your human pet see you do that, or she will shout “Yuk!” and decline to cuddle you.)

5. Train your human pet to pander to your every whim

Your human pets will worry greatly about your three legged status and will be acutely aware of your every difficulty, so make the most of their feelings of guilt and use them to your advantage.

In the first weeks after your operation, decline to eat anything apart from the finest cuts of meat. Your humans will be extremely vexed about your health and will happily serve your choice of food.

When you begin to recover, pull your claws wildly on the carpet of the bottom step of the stair and on the base of the sofa until your dozy humans get the message and provide you with recumbent scratching facilities.

Once you are fully mobile, remember to look as if you are struggling from time to time, this will allow you to keep your human pets’ undivided attention. If you see one of them walking home laden with as much shopping as they can carry, hop out pathetically to meet them, making sure that you appear to be struggling to walk, then ride home in state, sitting on their shoulder whilst chuckling inwardly at how much they are struggling to carry you and all those bags. Once you have reached home in this manner and been placed gently back at ground level, run off at top speed with no difficulty whatsoever.

Three Legged Cat IV

You will quickly discover that your three-leggedness is not necessarily a disadvantage as some humans might think; in fact it often makes it much easier for you to train the local humans to worship you and do your bidding.

837 comments to Advice for Three Legged Cats

  • Heather F

    Tonto was used to being out a lot and I’m sure once he is well he will be out and about again. He got himself up on the bed last night while we slept. I’m not sure if he jumped or climbed the stair I got for him. Hubby is now happy with the decision to go ahead with the surgery. Hugs Heather and Tonto

  • Heather F

    Well, 3 weeks post surgery Tonto is doing great! Stitches are out and we have been letting him go outside again. He doesn’t go far, mostly the back yard to watch the birds and squirrels. I am so relieved. The only thing I am really worried about is that he will push himself to hard to do things he used to do and injure his other front leg.
    Hugs Heather and Tonto.

    • Sonja P

      Happy that he is doing so well. From experience with a front leg amputee cat, if he tries to do things that he used to and he can’t, I promise he won’t keep trying. I have high stools by the counter in my kitchen. My Tre’ used to sit on those and help me make dinner. But, it was a long jump down and it hurt when she would. Now she sits by the end of the counter on the floor and helps me. They learn their limits quickly. Not to say that some freak accident won’t happen but they are smart and they learn quickly that they have new limits and they really won’t push those limits very hard. Hang in there, if he has amazed you to this point, just wait, they are SO amazing. Hugs from Sonja and Tre’pod.

      • Sarah B

        Ella is almost two and appears to have no limits as a TLC 🙂
        She jumps on an off counters and bookshelves
        I worry about her but like Sonja said, she’ll learn
        What’s funny is watching her dangle her front paw as far down as possible to “shorten” her desent

        Sarah B and Ella Catticus

      • Karen

        Hi Sonja — How old is your cat? Mine just turned 12 and will have surgery next Monday to remove her left leg. I’m a wreck.

    • Catherine Smith

      Hi, I’ve come across your post here and hope you don’t mind me asking a question about 3 legged cats going outside. My 1 yr old boy, Dexter, had his right front leg amputated 5 days ago, he’s already doing well getting around the house, but I’m already beginning to stress BIG time about when he eventually goes back outside. He’s a big explorer/hunter and loves being outside along with his other 2 brothers but I’m worried sick he’ll disappear off and get himself into a situation he can’t get out of…… how did you cope with your Tonto going back outside? 😻

      • Lois Lindemann

        Hi Catherine,

        Good to hear Dexter’s doing well. My three-legged cat lost a back leg and we had to keep him indoors for a long time because he had his amputation in early February during a cold winter. He had so much fur shaved off we couldn’t let him out until some had grown back.

        Our cat was desparate to get back outside. I was paranoid that he wouldn’t cope. He was fine (I remained paranoid – but I carried on letting him out.)

        I went into our garden with him the first few times he went out, but he wasn’t happy at being contained. There were a few undignified moments as he established that he couldn’t jump onto the fence in one go or climb trees, but the only thing he hurt was his dignity. He quickly adapted to being an outdoor tripod, gave up on climbing trees and went back to loving the outdoors and roaming our neighbourhood.

        Good luck with re-introducing Dexter to the great outdoors!

      • Patricia Avery

        My cat, Taku, is an indoor/outdoor fellow. I know he’d want to go outside after his amputation healed. I made the yard as amputee friendly as possible …built a big gate so larger animals like coyotes can’t get in, modified the fence with cat doors so he doesn’t try to climb and jump down from the fence, built up easy spots for him to get down in case he does climb the fence…just made it more easily navigated for a three legged cat. Good luck!

  • Sarah B

    Glad to hear he’s up and running
    It is amazing how resilient cats are!

    Sarah B and Ella Catticus

  • ross

    Hi all
    Just an update on my cat Harry
    He lost his front right and had a rear knee reco about 12 months ago
    someone had shot him
    well he went too the vets today for a check up and sum meds the vet hasn’t seen him for about 5 months
    Ha ha ha he put all the vets on their bums in shock how healthy mobile and strong he is
    I was quite proud of him well I do call him 99.9 that’s how much of a cat I got back after his operations
    he does everything hasn’t missed a beat
    Thanks too all the people who posted support when he lost his leg that made a hell of a difference

    Cheers Ross & Harry Cat

    • Sonja P

      Yay for Harry! They really are amazing animals, they adapt so well, I’ve learned so much from my baby!

  • Sarah b

    Three cheers for Henry!

  • Heather F

    I’m glad to hear he’s doing so well. Cats are such wonderful creatures.

  • Chichi is a tortoise shell cat that lost her front leg due to cancer. A tumor made the amputation necessary.
    She is 8 years old and pretty chubby. Any ideas to keep her active so she will not lay around? She is the least motivated of the cats. What can I expect? Will she still be able to jump onto the bed and couch, or will landing strain her one remaining good foot?

  • Amanda Weir

    Varjak is going to have in front leg removed tomorrow after being hit by a car. Pretty devastated and worried whether he’ll be happy after being so active! I do feel more optimistic after seeing these comments! I’m wondering if there is any specific difficulties with a front leg amputee?

    Any advice on the first few weeks?

    • sarah b

      don’t worry about your new tripod at all. It is actually the two year anniversary of when Ella Catticus had her front leg amputated. Since then Ella has had no problem becoming a full speed cat, even faster because now she’s more streamlined 🙂
      She can easily jump six feet, her biggest hurdle is navigating how to drop off of high places so she just dangles until her paw is as close to the floor as possible. She does have the phantom limb sometimes in the litterbox but is quick to figure things out. In true cat fashion she continues to stick her other paw in unknown crevasses which is what got her leg amputated in the first place. Just keep an eye on your kitty and a smile on your face, he will be much more concerned about why you’re sad than the loss of his arm 🙂

  • roolalenska

    Our Bonnie had her right front leg amputated due to nerve damage. She was a very young kitten at the time so probably doesn’t have a lot of memory of having 4 legs at all. She is an extremely active and quick little cat. She climbs on everything and goes everywhere. She did have a little trouble learning to use the litterbox with only three legs and still tries to scratch at the box with her ghost limb. Her litterbox clumsy-ness combined with an upset stomach from the post-op medications made for a messy transition till she figured it all out. She also gets her claw caught sometimes when reaching above her head, like on a window screen and cannot get herself free because there’s no other paw to push off on.

    Other than these things she seems to be a perfectly happy and playful little spirit. Good luck with your kitty. I’m sure that he will be just fine.

  • Julie-Ann

    My rescued siamese cat Nelson had his front right leg amputated over a year ago. I was very worried at that time, and made various posts about his progress. I have not been on the site since then, but I can safely say that he is fine – he can jump up to a 5ft windowsill, beat up my other neutered male cat Moxxie, eats like a pig and then goes to the lady next door for extra cat treats – claiming I think that he is a poor starved amputee! Basically he is hell on 3 paws, spoiled rotten and as fat as a bull sea-lion. Do not worry about how your cat will cope, everything will be OK and your cat will easily learn how to walk, jump, use a litter tray and, most importantly from a feline perspective, manipulate you.

  • wendy

    We have a 6 year old cat called marley who lost his back leg last year and has adapted brilliantly he hid for the first couple of weeks under the bed but now does everything he used to but i think its down to his nutty personality that has made him the loveable cat he is today

  • Kathy

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a 14 year old cat – waiting to hear back from the vet if it is cancer – but they seem to think amputation will be necessary based off the preliminary information. Other option is to leave him alone since he is 14 and has arthritis. He will be a front leg amputee. Would anyone share what was the age of their kitties? While Simon (my cat) is a healthy 14 year old and very active, I am worried that the arthritis in his front legs will be an issue for jumping down and moving around. My house has three levels (lots of stairs) any stories about how a three-leg cat with missing front leg goes down stairs?

    I appreciate anyone’s story.


    • Sonja P

      Hi Kathy, My Tre’ was 11 when she went through her right front leg amputation due to cancer. She is now 13 and doing great. I was worried that she would have problems as well with arthritis but we have made life easier for her by putting steps everywhere. There is a set at the end of the bed and we have a chest under one window that has stairs on it. She can still get up on furniture but doesn’t do it very often as we don’t have stairs by the couch or chairs. But we do have a rug under her favorite rocker that softens the getting down. In the basement she has a favorite window that we have placed plastic lugs by so she can get up and down easily. The actual basement stairs aren’t a challenge at all. I had them blocked off when she first had surgery and when I saw her going down the steps of the deck, I realized she had adapted to the stairs well. My suggestion is, if he is healthy, then he’ll adapt. Find someone that can build you several sets of stairs, the height of regular steps or a little shorter. Put carpet or padding on them and place them Simon’s favorite places. The hardest part of all of this is watching them go through it and knowing that they have to find their new normal on their own. I cried for weeks at having to make this decision but now that we are 2 years out, I’m so happy I did. Tre’ is a healthy, happy, well adjusted girl who is incredibly spoiled. This is going to be harder on you than on your Simon. If you do decide to go through with the amputation here are some suggestions from my experience. Keep a positive attitude around Simon, they pick up your emotions and staying positive keeps them in good spirits. They will probably give him some pain medications. These can cause constipation so give him lots of extra liquids. I gave Tre’ tuna juice which was one of the things that she really liked and soft food with extra water in it. And be patient, they have to find their own new normal. They are amazing animals that adapt so well but you just have to give them time. He’ll be the same wonderful boy that you’ve always known, he’ll just be special and you’ll be blessed to have a special needs boy in your life. One last thing, read all the stories here of the successes that everyone has experienced. Also get on You Tube and look up 3-legged cats, there are videos of them getting around. I will give you hope. Hugs, please keep us posted, you’re part of the family now.

  • Andrea

    We adopted Maisy when she was still very young. She had her right front limb amputated due to severe infection. The vet friend that gave her to us said that after amputation Maisy was not walking as well as she thought she should. She performed an x-ray and it showed an old fracture to her left front limb. The vet friend sent the films to a vet radiologist and they recommended to not do anything because it would cause further trauma and she did not seem in any pain. We have had Maisy for several months now and she seems to be very happy and comfortable. I was wondering if you guys were giving glucosamine chondrointin. The vet friend that gave Maisy to us said that she might need it one day. Any advice would me greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Sonja P

      Hi Andrea, My Tre’ had her right front leg amputated due to cancer about 2 years ago now. She does very well as a tripod or Tre’pod as we call her now. We do give her glucosamine that is made specifically for cats that we get from the vet. She is now 13 years old and seems to be doing fine. We do have steps all over the house to make it easier for her to get down. My husband built them kind of deep but we will be re-doing them so they are more like regular steps or a little shorter. I’d start giving her the glucosamine now while she is still young and strong so that you are supplementing rather than trying to improve the joint as it gets older. Hope this helps. Hugs and head butts from Sonja and Tre’

  • Andy C

    Hello, I have a 9 year old female cat called Whispa. She hurt her leg and we took her to a vet who did an X ray and told us it was a fracture and would heal on its own. It didn’t so took her to our new vet who did some tests on the swelling and confirmed it is a tumour. The leg needs to be removed next week. Any advice you can give me to make her life more comfortable would be appreciated. It is her back leg, she is a house cat and just goes out to the toilet. Vet has said will be ok with cat flap but how about stairs? Will it take her long to adjust to life with 3 legs? Thanks

  • Heather F

    Sorry to hear about Whispa. It will take her a few months to really adjust but should be getting around in a few weeks. My Tonto has been a Tre for about 18 months. He gets around fine, though has gained a lot of weight. He doesn’t go quite as fast, or jump on high places. He also has problems with trying to scratch and falling over. Over all though, he’s happy and loving. I tried getting a pet step for the bed, but he didn’t want to use it. Good luck and good thoughts.

  • Sarah b

    Don’t worry Andy cats are super resilient
    Remember to stay positive, whispa will get over it and will be back to her self before long
    I adjusted my house by putting some foot stools near the higher furniture and folded blankets for a softer landing site
    Ella Catticus has no problem keeping up with her four legged pal Minerva, I think I took the amputation harder than Ella did 🙂
    Keep posting and read some of the older posts, I know it helped me out greatly
    Best wishes!

  • Andy C

    Ok thanks Heather and Sarah, she has lost a lot of weight recently as well so hoping she does put on the weight again 🙂
    She enjoys sleeping on our bed so hoping the stairs won’t be too much of a challenge for her, plus having two young kids she likes the peace and quiet up there! Thanks for the advice and will keep you posted.

  • susan

    We have a 3 legged cat from a rescue center, we ve had her for 2 years now. The first year we were in a flat so she didn t go out although was desperate to.
    Now we are in a house and when she s let out she challenges other cats and uses momentum to climb trees and then gets stuck. I keep finding her being held hostage behind a bush or up a tree by other cats. She doesn t seem to have learnt about her limits. Im worried she ll get frightened and run in front of a car again. My partner thinks we should just let her go where she wants and hope for the best but I cant bear the thought of anything more happening to her so
    I ve been keeping her in the garden for now. Any thoughts please!

    • Sonja P

      Hi Susan, My Tre’ lost her leg to cancer going on 3 years ago now. I’m sure that I’m way to protective of her but, she can’t defend herself like she used to be able to and so I keep a very close eye on her. I let her out in the morning for a bit but I never go more than 5 minutes without checking where she is. We live in the country and so have no fences and she would freak out on a leash but my feeling is, let her out but if there is a way that you can keep her contained and be able to always know where she is then that is what I would do. My Tre’ is a scardy cat and one day something scared her and she hid for 9 hours and wouldn’t come out, I had no idea where she was or if she had been attacked by another animal. I was beside myself with fear and grief, thinking I’d never see her again because I didn’t know what had happened and I hadn’t been vigilant enough watching her. When she finally came home I couldn’t let go of her I was so happy to see her, needless to say, she is now highly supervised. Good luck and hope that you find a solution that works for both you and your baby. Sonja P.

  • Kate

    Hi Susan

    My Merlin had a broken back leg this time last year and endured 5 months of enforced rest before he was allowed out to spend the summer and autumn in the garden. He is such an active and endearingly naughty little moggy that you wouldn’t guess he was supposedly middle aged at 11. Little cat, big personality! Sadly last week he started to limp and the vet has diagnosed a tumour (which explains why the leg broke in the first place). He had the op to remove the leg yesterday and the decisions were all about what was best for him.

    But I was pretty down today – he’s been through a lot and now he has another recovery to make. Its one thing to make the decision, but then you start to worry about whether it was the right one – but then I read your blog and the comments from other tripaw families and its cheered me up no end.


    • Anna

      Hi Kate, I also have a merlin who had his back leg amputated nearly 2 years ago, he is 16 now nearly 17 and always been on the large side, please try to keep your chin up, it is a very devastating time for all but I think they cope better than us, people on this site really helped me, you just never know what’s the right thing to do, but it’s the best decision we made, I don’t think cats with 3 legs see it as a problem, they just adapt, my merlin was up and about the next day trying to keep him still was a problem, they know what they can do, I’ve made sure that he can still get to his favorite places by making a few steps and he has become very fussy with his food but I think that’s because he can get away with it now.
      Wishing merlin a speedy recovery and you lots of positive thoughts, best of luck
      Anna and Merlin xx

  • Andy C

    Hi Kate,

    You can see from my comment that Whispa had her leg removed in June. The first vet wasn’t sure what it was but she had a broken leg and now know it was a tumour. We had to have her put down on September 8th as the cancer had spread to her stomach and she stopped eating. I am hoping they caught Merlin’s in time, when Whispa had hers removed it was very large but thought this was from a break initially and not a tumour. But I will say that it was the right decision to keep her alive and remove the leg, for the 2 months till September she led a normal life and was very well loved, spoilt and fed. I am hoping Merlin makes a full recovery and leads a long life.


  • Sarah b

    I have a three year old tripod and a 1.5 year old four legger. Just for and example of the capabilities of tripods, if a mouse gets in the house the tripod (ella catticus) mouses while the four legger (Minerva) guards the food bowls 🙂

    • Sonja P

      That’s pretty funny Sarah, my tripod is also the best mouser in the house. The two 4 leggers just chase a little then lose interest or play with it for a few minutes.

  • Tupie

    My Sir Winston became a tripaw about 3 weeks ago. Got caught in a trap of some kind and we believe he was stuck in it overnight. He had only stayed outside one night , always came in to sleep with mama. I called him till almost 3 am he came around 8. Complete shock when I saw it. Rushed to hospital and they keep him to X-ray and such, he was in hospital over a week trying to save his right front leg. Swelling never went down in toes , he is doing get, except he walks crouched now. Is this due to getting use to the amputation or is this how they walk after? Also when he plays he likes to stand on back legs now. Any info you can share with me I would love.

    • Sonja P

      Hi, I think that every tripod heals differently than the next, but they all heal and they all just get on with life. My girl lost her right front leg to cancer almost 4 years ago now and she kind of hops like a bunny when she walks, kind of in a crouched position. This might be to help with balance, not sure, but she can still run like lightening. Give Sir Winston some time and he’ll find his new normal. I have put steps all over my house so my Tre’ can get down from things easier. Balance will always be a problem with the front leg gone when they are trying to jump down. Tre’ can still jump up just fine but getting down, she needs steps. You and Sir Winston will figure it out, be patient. Cats don’t mourn the loss of a leg like a human does, they just figure that this is the way it’s going to be from now on, I better figure out how to work around it. They are truly amazing animals. Love, hugs and head bonks to you and Sir Winston from Sonja and Tre’ aka Tre’pod.

      • Tupie

        Thanks Sonja,

        We have snow today and Sir Winston took off running after his Yorkie sister, tried to climb a tree twice but he kept playing and rowing in snow. His first snow, he is 10 months, we usually have ice. He is playing more , jumping in windows.

        Just worrying about his left leg being overcompensating and it get hurt.

        He is adjusting so well and agree the balance is off. Be so happy to see his hair grow back over that ugly scar.

        • Sonja P

          Make steps for Sir Winston, it will help with over use and over compensation with the left leg. I have a chest in the bedroom under a window that my Tre’ loves and it has steps, there are steps at the end of the bed, there are steps under her favorite window in the basement. The steps will most definitely help. The other thing I do is use this stuff from the vet that is called joint gel and I give it to Tre’ every night with her soft food. It has glucosamine and chondroitin in it to help the joints. Your vet should have something similar that you can use and if you can get him to take it, I think it helps. I hated the look of the scar on my girl and like you couldn’t wait for the fur to grow over it. But gotta say that I’m grateful for the scar because if she didn’t have it she would have been gone long ago. Glad he is doing so well. Hugs and head bonks, Sonja and Tre’

  • Liz

    Just found out today that our 9 yr old kitty Master Pain (Painy for short) has cancer in bone of his front right leg. He is also vision-impaired from birth & is quite anxious when anyone approaches him, until he knows who they are. But he is a happy little guy, is an outdoor cat mainly.
    We’re thinking of amputating, but tough decision to add another disability to his life.

    He is managing to get around on 3 legs at the moment – pain prevents him using the bad leg much. (He’s on painkillers tho, until we decide what to do.)

    Comments very welcome!!

    • Sonja P

      Hi Liz, I have a now, almost 15 year old, that had a right front leg amputation almost 4 years ago now. She was 11 at the time and she had an aggressive form of cancer that could not be treated by just moving the tumor so the whole leg had to come off. I cried for 2 weeks solid, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make but we decided to have the amputation done and it was the best thing. My Tre’ is now almost 15 and doing great, healthy, happy and incredibly spoiled. If he is already getting around on 3 legs then the transition will be an easy one for him. You will probably have to keep him inside if you can for a while during the healing process but sounds like he should do just fine. I tell people that cats do not mourn the loss of a limb like a human does. They just get on with life. He’ll adapt and learn his new limits and his new normal fairly quickly. Don’t be afraid to take the leap and just do it. Cats are amazing animals and they adapt an adjust so quickly. He sounds like a cool cat and needs to be given a chance to be around for a while. He’s lucky to have you. Hugs and head bonks from Sonja and Tre’ aka Tre’pod.

  • Anna

    Hi Liz, my merlin also had cancer but it was in his back leg, I agree it is an agonising decision to make, we opted for amputation 2 years ago and have never regretted it, one of the main reasons for amputating was for pain relief. I don’t thimk cats see it as a disability they just get on with it, my merlin is also an outdoor cat but they adjust very easily to know their limits. Wishing you all the best and hope you come to a decisions soon, love anna and merlin xx

  • Lois Lindemann

    Hi Liz,

    I didn’t really have a choice with my cat – he lost most of his leg in a collision with a car so the rest had to come off. My cat adapted really quickly. I expected it to take months, but he was on his feet again within hours, despite other injuries to his remaining back leg. I never regretted him being a tripod – he lived a long and happy life. And he was always an indoor-outdoor cat.

    I don’t envy you the difficult decision, I can only say that having lived with a tripod, I would do it again if faced with that situation.

    Very best of luck. I hope that whatever you decide, it turns out well for you.

    Lois x

  • Liz

    Thank you so much for your encouraging responses!!

    I have booked Painy in for his amputation next tues (Friday evening here now), vet agrees it is worth doing & he will most likely be fine.

    In the meantime he’s pottering about on his 3 good legs, purring as usual!

    I will let you know how he goes 🙂

    Liz xxx

  • Lois Lindemann

    Good luck – hope it goes well.

    I’m sure it will seem hard at first (I remember thinking that I had done a terrible thing when I first saw my cat post-surgery), but it is amazing how quickly cats adapt and bounce back. Mine had been in accident, so had other injuries – including to his remaining back leg – but he was hopping around surprisingly quickly. We had to help him a lot for the first couple of weeks, but that was mainly because of his other injuries. After that he he got back to doing everything he had done before amazingly quickly.

    Very, best wishes to you, hope Painy has a speedy recovery!

  • Lucy

    Wow this site was a good find! Our three year old moggie Mo had an accident last night, and his left hind leg was amputated today. He’s been up and about (even managed a wee in the litter tray), and post op drugs aside, he seems okay. I on the other hand am a jibbering wreck! It’s been very reassuring coming here and reading so many positive tales. Despite being happy with the decision we made, I still feel a tremendous guilt 🙁

    • Lois Lindemann

      Hi Lucy,

      I know exactly what you mean about feeling guilty – I felt exactly the same when I brought my three-legged cat home from the vet. My cat adapted to being a tripod very quickly, but it took me a lot longer to get used to his three-leggedness.

      I’m glad the site helped! I hope everything goes well and Mo recovers from his op quickly.

      Best wishes, Lois

  • Terri

    I have an almost 15 year old kitty girl, and have just had her front leg amputated due to a fibrosarcoma. I was unsure at first whether I was doing the right thing, but as she was in good health otherwise, and it was just the leg that was the problem, it only seemed right to give her the chance. It is a week on, and she is doing ok, although we were advised to keep her cage rested until her stitches are removed (today) We have let her have a couple of 15 minute spells out of the cage, as she hates being shut in, and so far she has managed to hobble around the room, slightly at an angle, but is trying. She would normally jump up on the bed, and sat crying to come up when we let her out, but she then tried to jump down, which scared me, and I lifted her off again. I would like to know if anyone has any advise on just what to allow her to attempt, as I am so worried she will hurt herself trying to do things she used to do before the amputation. I had some steps made to put by the bed and sofa, but as she is so wobbly at the moment, I am afraid if she does try to use them, she will fall off of them.
    Any comments would be much appreciated.

    • Sonja P

      Hi Terri, welcome to the tripod world. I have a front leg amputation cat that is now 15. Four years ago she lost her front right leg to cancer. I spent two weeks in tears over having to make the decision and then another two weeks while she recovered. Today, every time I think back on the ordeal and look at how well she does and how sweet and beautiful she is, I know it was worth it. Your girl won’t do more than she is capable of. They learn their limits pretty quickly. They may jump down once but if it hurts she won’t do it again. Make steps everywhere you can, especially for places where she used to go. I have steps by the bed, I added them to a chest that sits under a window where she likes to sit and to a window in the basement where she sits. They learn to use the steps quickly. Don’t let her do to much to soon but when the time comes allow her to figure out what she can and can’t do. It will be more scary for you than for her, they do eventually get their balance and even though it’s never as good as with four legs, you’ll be amazed at how quickly she recovers and figures out her new normal. They are amazing animals and they don’t mourn the loss of a body part like a human does, they just get on with life. Good luck to you both, hugs and head bonks from Sonja and Tre’ (aka Tre’pod).

  • Lucy

    Terri it’s now quiet a few weeks since Mo had his leg amputated and after a nervous couple of weeks (us, not him!) He’s absolutely fine. Our vet suggested a cage to give him as much chance as possible to rest. We made one from a child’s playpen with a wire fireguard as a lid! It gave him enough room to move about without letting him jump. His litter tray and food were both in there. We kept him in for nearly three weeks which was tricky for everyone, but I’m convinced the forced rest helped his recovery. We bought an inflatable pro-collar which he wore for a further two weeks to reduce any risk of nibbling at the wound. He then stayed inside the house for a further two weeks, getting used to the place on three legs! The first time he went back outside I was a nervous wreck, but he ran straight up a tree whizzed around the gsrden, and two days later brought me his first ‘catch’! Now he’s just fine. He’s a home bird, and doesn’t wander too far.
    The vet stressed to us that the whole thing would be far harder for us than for the cat and never a truer word was spoken! I’m sure your cat will be just fine too, just give her lots of space and time to recover .

  • Terri

    Hi Sonja & Lucy,
    Thank you so much for your replies. Its lovely to hear how well other Tripods have recovered, and very reassuring! My Tabitha is doing well, she is only 11 days post-op, but is wanting to do all the things she did before, and is wanting to go outside already, she sits by the cat flap and cries to go out. We have been giving her a few hours in the evening to have a wander round the downstairs and she is jumping up and down from the sofa, we placed cushions in front of her favourite laying spot, hoping she would jump onto them to get down, but she proceeded to walk along the sofa to the other end and jump down onto the floor! I guess my main worry is her hurting the other leg. I don’t know whether to let her go outside yet, to me it seems a bit too soon, but she doesn’t leave our garden, hasn’t done for some time before the op, and it is heart breaking to hear her crying to go outside. I don’t want to hinder her progress by allowing her to do things too soon, but then I wonder if I should just go with her pace and see how she copes. She has never been one for climbing trees or hunting, so it would probably just be a little wander into the fresh air, then maybe lay in the garden for a short time before coming back inside. I have made her a little ramp that she can use to get in and out (step outside back door) its just worrying me as to whether its too soon.
    Thanks for all your help though, as I said, its good to know how other kitties have recovered and adjusted. I look at my girl coping already, and know I did the right thing. 🙂
    Hugs and head bonks to you all too!!

  • Lucy

    Terri it sounds like Tabitha is making a super recovery 🙂 The only reason we kept Mo inside for so long was because we’d only had him for four weeks before he was injured. He’d been a stray prior to us owning him and we didn’t know what his outdoor behaviour patterns were. I would think if Tabitha’s wound is healing well and you know she’s not likely to whizz off, then the odd pop outside might be okay, but it would be worth checking with the vet.
    We made loads of ramps steps etc none of which are used – typical!
    Just for fun: If you’re on instagram my Mo has his own account @lifeon3legs. It shows his progress so far!

  • Terri

    Thanks for reply. Decided as it is a nice warm, sunny day, that maybe we’d try a little garden visit (totally supervised by myself and daughter) Tabitha loved it! Would NOT use the ramp, insisted on going down the step, but managed it, no problem! Had a little wander up the garden, laid in the sun for a while, wandered a bit more, ate a bit of grass, then wandered back in again! Up onto sofa for a nap!! Its amazing how well she seems to be coping. Am going to install instagram when I’m done here, my daughter has it and has just looked at Mo’s account, she said he is gorgeous! She will help me set it up so I too can see your lovely boy!!

  • terri

    Hi all, been a couple if months now since tabithas op. Thought I’d update. She is doing pretty good. We had a minor setback where she woke suddenly and seemed to forget she was missing a leg, jumped down off sofa and hurt her remaining front leg. Vet thought she’d maybe bruised the elbow, so she had to be cage rested for another couple of weeks, much to her disgust! It’s now been several weeks since, and she is getting around fine, although we have not allowed her upstairs as yet, she still seems to be finding jumping down from things a struggle, so am not confident enough to give her access to stairs yet. Taking it very slowly, but am happy with her progress to this point. Anyone have any advice on how to introduce stairs when time comes? Would appreciate any comments. Hope all your kitties are still doing ok. X

    • Sonja P

      Hi Terri, my Tre’pod had her front right leg removed 4 1/2 years ago due to cancer. We have steps in places where she jumps down from. They never really get their balance back completely and jumping down is always gonna be harder so you need to give them all the assistance you can. The other front leg takes all the strain so to keep that leg healthier give her steps, it can be built steps, plastic containers, anything that is stable and won’t tip. They learn quickly to use them with just a little encouragement. I was also worried about steps but Tre’ does or basement steps amazingly well, let your girl try them with you around the first few times, I bet she’ll do fine.

    • THEjaguarundi

      My Siamese from the nethermost pit of hell has had his front leg amputated since just after I took him in as an abandoned, injured waif 3 years ago. He manages really well, the only issue was that in the beginning he jumped up higher than he could jump down.

      He seems to have learned to avoid doing that as time went on,the trouble now is that he eats like a pig and would be a balloon if I let him. That and his desire to be an “only child” by chasing my two other cats all over the house and garden. And that he is trying to kill me by lying at the top of the stairs or anywhere else I can trip over him.

      He is pinning me down purring his head off at the moment. Three legs or four, a cat K ows how to enjoy itself…

  • Nikko and Taku

    Hi All,
    My 5 year old tux named Taku is recovering from a right front leg amputation that took place a month ago. He was an indoor outdoor kitty who climbed up high fences, hung out on the roof, coming in my upstairs window in the wee hours after his feline adventures. His recovery has been good. He cries to go out but our vet advised us to make him an indoor only kitty. In the house Taku is still jumping up on counters…I try to help him down if it is not a place I’ve been able to modify. The advice from Sonja is great. I turned chairs over and padded boxes etc to create steps for Taku…he used them and adapted well.

    I still feel really terrible when I see him trying his old tricks without the benefit of his fourth leg. We brought him to the vet when I noticed a limp. They did not find anything wrong. I took him back a few days later when he stopped using the leg. They said it was nerve damage but told me to consult a specialist. We did that and with an x ray and needle biopsy, they diagnosed cancer. They said it was unusual for a cat so young to get cancer, so I kept questioning them. We consulted with an oncologist from the same clinic who said amputation is the only treatment for this. It was not a 100% diagnosis but when I suggested further testing, he advised not to waste the money but to spend it on the surgery. I asked if they were sure they had found cancer cells in the biopsy…he said yes. so we scheduled the amputation, I delayed it a few days because Taku had started using the leg again almost like normal. I told the vet and asked for an extra x ray before surgery. The surgeon said the new x ray showed that the dance had advanced. So we went ahead and had the amputation performed. The pathologists could not find a single cancer cell in the entire leg. They said it was an infection. They say that the leg was so badly destroyed that it was useless and would have had to be removed anyway. I believe that if we had had a correct diagnosis in the beginning…with a surgical biopsy which the oncology than at the clinic said was not necessary, then maybe Taku’s leg could have been treated with antibiotics and possibly saved. I feel terrible for not insisting on further testing and letting myself being talked into the amputation. Do you think the pathologists are being straight with me? When they said the leg was useless, I question their judgment because Taku was using the leg just before surgery. Any clues??

    • Sonja P

      It is always possible that the pathologist is covering for the vet but you will never know for sure. That being said then, you have to deal with the difficulties that a tripod cat comes with. I knew in my heart that my Tre’ had cancer before I even had the biopsy done. I was terrified I’d lose her, I had to work really hard to get her to trust me as a kitten when she showed up as a feral and she still has some of those feral tendencies of fear. So since you’ll never know if or what mistakes were made in diagnosing your Taku, unless you sue them and have the records subpoenaed, other than you know it wasn’t cancer, you need to move on. It has been 5 1/2 years since Tre’s amputation and she is now 16 1/2. I see her slowing down and having more difficulties even with the steps. So we have to modify the steps to make them shorter so she can get down easier. She doesn’t go in the basement anymore, she doesn’t go outside much but still loves to sit in the open window that is by the chest she sits on. Love and enjoy your Taku to the fullest, I’ve found that Tre’ moved on but she knows that she’s special and that she if my baby and that I’m the one that takes care of all her problems and she’s had many after the surgery. We’ve been through an illness with no explanation that almost took her life, the pain meds they gave her changed her bowels and we’ve dealt with many bouts of severe constipation and have had to change food and she’ll be on meds the rest of her life for that. She hurt one of her legs, a sprain or strain, the vet thought and had a terrible time getting around for a week. But, I wouldn’t change a thing, I love her to the moon and back and would do anything for her, she’s my heart. I know that someday I’ll lose her and so I’m enjoying every minute with her. That’s my take on things, Taku will get used to being inside, you’ll figure out where you need steps and he’ll figure out what he is and isn’t capable of doing with only 3 legs. They are such resiliant, amazing animals and I’ve learned so much from my Tre’pod about life. Good luck to you and Taku, hugs and head butts from Sonja and Tre’

      • Nikko and Taku

        Thank you so much, Sonja,
        I do love Taku to the moon and back too…he’s my boy and he knows it. I hope to have many more years with him and all his adorable tricks. I am just feeling bad for not following my intuition that Taku did not have cancer. You hear so many stories about people going with their gut feeling instead of listening to the experts and being right…
        I am spending a lot of quality time with Taku and he loves it. I am also planning to build a big gate and modify our present fence so that he can go outside safely and be kept in the garden. Hoping to give him the best possible life!

        Thanks for your kind advice. Sounds like Tre’ could not have picked a better home and I hope you still have a lot of good healthy times with her. We really do learn from our animals and I am always amazed at their intelligence. Take care and we send hugs and head butts back as well as scratches under the chin for Tre’pod. >^. .^< Taku and Nikko