So I’ve learned a lot in the last week since my furkid Pilot had to have his back leg removed. He had a tumor and the best option to save his life was to remove his leg entirely. I was scared, I won’t lie. I was afraid he might never be Pilot again. I was afraid he might not make it through the surgery. I was afraid (and still am) that the cancer spread past his leg. The fear was palpable and I cried constantly for days.
You can see how his leg looked before the surgery in my post here. I want to share my journey on here for other people who are going through this process as well and want to know more about it. I wish I had found a blog post to help me through this at the time.
First you should know every cat (or dog) is different. While some cats might not be able to handle this drastic change to their body other cats will thrive with three legs. We are lucky that Pilot is a tough kitty and I guess the fact that we smother him with love all the time doesn’t hurt.
We took Pilot to the Orthopedic Surgeon on Thursday and we were told that if his cancer had spread they would have to put him down but if it had not they would remove the leg. I told them either way I wasn’t ready to put him down, he was still really happy and healthy other than his leg. Luckily they couldn’t find any proof it had spread so that day they removed his leg and the surgery went really well.
On Friday they let us pick him up and take him home. When they brought him out to us it was a shock to say the least. The spot where he once had a furry little white leg was bare pink skin with stitches. It’s still taking me some time to adjust to this.
They had said he wasn’t moving much and that he wasn’t eating or drinking water. I felt it was a good sign that once we brought him home he began eating, drinking water and walking around. What he needed was the comfort and love of home. We put a blanket for him on the ground, his own litterbox a few feet away and food and water right next to him.
We had to give him a medicine (liquid form) under his tongue twice a day. We had antibiotics to give him twice a day (we gave this to him crushed up in wet food) and he had a patch on his foot to manage the pain. We made sure one of us was always home to watch him.
We tried to block off his usual litter box with a trunk in the doorway because we felt it was too far away and too difficult to get into. Manly Man woke up that night and couldn’t find Pilot. It turned out he’d climbed on top of the trunk and dropped down on the other side to try to get to the litter box. We moved the trunk at that point and he eventually learned that he had a new litter box.
Within 24 hours he started walking really well and climbing up and down from the sofa. After 5 days he was running across the house, it was amazing. When I came home from work on Tuesday he curled up in my lap on the sofa like he did everyday before the surgery. He was quite nearly good ol Pilot again.
Warning TMI: I will note he had some trouble with pooping. I tried putting some fiber suppliment in his wet food and for a few days he didn’t seem to go. Then suddenly on Monday night he laid down in his litter box, which was strange. I went to go google what that meant (google can be your best friend in these situations) and as I was doing that I missed the diarreah that ended up on the wall and the floor. He had been blocked up but this helped, though maybe a little too well.
So it’s been nearly a week now since his surgery and he’s come so far. I have a feeling that eventually he’ll have forgotten what it’s like to have that 4th leg. I’m so glad I can be there for him and make this easier on him. I love being his mommy and filling his world with love especially since he does the same for me.