Three legged cats aren’t as unusual as you might think.
At first, a three legged cat will need a lot of care: but that’s true of any animal (or any person come to that) who is recovering from major surgery. Once the wounds have started to heal, the cat is ready to get back to normal, but owners aren’t always quite as ready as the cat…
1. Let them enjoy the great outdoors
Cats like space. Cats like to roam. People like to feel calm, so sometimes they want to keep their three legged cats indoors. But who does that benefit? Not the cat!
It took me ages to stop worrying every time my cat went outside, but he was happy and content to be exploring, hunting, failing to climb trees and generally patrolling his territory.
Three legged cats don’t need special diets. At first they might put on a little weight – hardly surprising after a few weeks of inactivity as they recover from major surgery.
My three legged cat was fed the same food as his brother and allowed to lead a normal, active life. He quickly got back in shape. (Although unlike Garfield, his shape wasn’t round)
Scratching and pulling claws was a real problem. My cat lost a back leg, so he just couldn’t stand on one leg and attack the neighbour’s finest trees and fence posts any more. Good for the neighbours, not so good for the claws.
We bought a thick coir doormat and fixed scratching posts on the skirting boards which provided some help, but we learned to live with the fact that the carpet on the riser on the bottom stair started to wear out mysteriously fast.
Losing a leg left our cat with an annoying, just-out-of-reach patch on the side of his head. A quick comb or a rub was all that was required to sort this out.
Lots of well meaning people assumed that having three legs meant that my cat’s days were numbered. In fact he was fit and healthy for most of his life and lived to be 14 years old.
It wasn’t the lack of a leg that finally did for him, but advancing years and failing health. His over-active thyroid and high blood pressure were nothing to do with an accident many years previously, he would have suffered from these anyway – his four legged brother developed the same conditions very shortly afterwards.