A Cat's Leg Amputation Story: Felines Do Surprisingly Well with Three Legs

"Amputation is possibly going to be the outcome, but he should get around just fine with three legs."

The veterinarian's words made me feel dizzy. I didn't cry; shock and confusion suppressed my emotions.

A terrible event in mid October changed the life of my cat, but also demonstrated the resilience and capacity to adapt that felines so commonly exhibit.

I acquired the stray, all-gray kitten just two months earlier, but bonded with him immediately. This critter displayed the most endearing of cat traits: total floppsy submission to human coddling. He's the sort that will allow little girls to dress him in doll clothes without biting or hissing, and I love him enormously.

Zipper looked to be about six months old, in good health, but small and fragile. I took him to a clinic for his first round of shots, worming and flea treatment, and scheduled his neutering appointment.

The day before the appointment, I let the little cat out in mid morning, and called him in around suppertime. When he didn't show up, a feeling of dread hit me; he normally came in immediately. I kept calling and searching with no results until my neighbors phoned me at eleven. "Zipper's out here in the bushes and he's hurt."

My neighbor carried him into the house. The cat's left hind leg was dragging, but there was no blood or other apparent injury. I'll never find out what happened.

The all night emergency vet clinic's waiting room is populated with anxious folks. As with a human ER, a full gamut of violence, flaring infections and sudden trauma abounds, and hours of waiting often end with a heart wrenching diagnosis. The doctor explained that Zipper's X-rays showed three severe fractures to the upper left femur. She said they could keep him until morning when a surgeon could insert rods, plates and screws. The procedure might or might not work, and if the recovery went badly, amputation might be necessary. This procedure would be about $2100 and the money was due on the spot.

It was impossible. I couldn't get that kind of money together, and it all seemed surreal. I think I acted so brain dead that the vet simply wanted to shove me out the door and yell, "NEXT!"

Sent in by Rose. Pittsburgh .PA USA

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