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Feta the Three Legged Cat

Feta Cat's Journey to Mobility

Feta the Three Legged Cat

Hard PT Work Paying Off (Slowly)

March 23rd, 2017 · 12 Comments · Uncategorized

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Hello, friends!

With the help of the fabulous team at Aqua Dog Rehabilitation, Feta and I have been working hard to improve her flexibility, range of motion, and strength.

(Coincidentally, Feta’s fabulous physical therapist, Petra, is competing with her dog at the AKC National Obedience Championship this weekend – wish them luck!!!)

I’ve uploaded some videos to show what we’re doing at PT. Essentially, we are working at re-training her (both mind and body) to use her leg correctly, or at least a bit more correctly. We are also working to relax her muscles and stretch her out in ways that will improve her flexibility and range of motion. We’re still not certain we can ever get her stifle/knee joint to really bend properly – it’s still awfully stiff – but if we can strengthen her core muscles and get her hip moving better then she should be able to hop around pretty well!

Here are some videos from last week’s work:

 

 

Yesterday, 3-22, we went back again! This time we started with massage and laser therapy to try and get things loose and moving.

She didn’t mind the laser treatment itself, but she wasn’t thrilled at having to hold still!

Also, unfortunately, some of the massage was a bit uncomfortable as our therapist, Anita, worked to get out some of the tight knots in the muscles. As always, Feta cat was a tremendously good sport, but she certainly let her opinions of the whole process be known!

“Um…guys? This petting is not good petting.”

 

“Yeah, so, I’d like you to rub right… ACK! Not there!!!”

 

“I regret every moment in my life that has led to this.” -Feta

Next, we moved on to the REALLY hard stuff – practicing our proper posture! And using that darn leg! The bumpy disc is to help with her “proprioception,” or her ability to feel her body and know where its parts are. Since we’re dealing with neurological issues, it is particularly important that we make sure her brain is getting the signals telling her what her leg and foot are doing.

This type of “gait training” is our attempt to re-teach her how to walk, with the hopes that her leg and body will start to better “remember” what to do. It’s kind of like trying to re-direct a river, only the river is the electrical impulses going through her body, and the “riverbed” is the nerve pathways. By essentially forcing her to walk correctly, you can think of it as “pouring a bit of water down the proper riverbed” so it makes it more likely the “river” of nerve signals will eventually flow naturally where we want it to (to get that leg moving!). Obviously, this helps get her muscle strength back, too!

 

Feta absolutely rocked it today at therapy! She is standing better already!

Posted by Aqua Dog Rehabilitation, LLC on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

 

<I will add more videos here if I am ever able to get them uploaded!>

 

I thank our lucky stars every day that Feta is so food-motivated. It makes me a little sad, since it surely is a result of her being starving while she was on the streets, but it sure comes in handy now! The hard part is making sure her normal meals are balanced out with the number of treats she gets. It’s very important to make sure our Tripawd friends stay lithe and lean so they’re not putting too much strain on their remaining limbs, especially when, as with Feta, there are problems with more than just the missing leg.

So, we’ll keep at it, even though it’s slow and frustrating! I do think we’re making progress, and I am hoping that the progress will lead to many more happy years of a mobile kitty cat 🙂


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12 Comments so far ↓

  • kazann

    This is fascinating! She is working so hard and so are you. I know it’s not easy and she deserves to get a little cranky every now and then.
    It looks like you have a fabulous, caring team and it’s great to see these changes. Yup, her food motivation really helps. My tripawd Mona wouldn’t go for food but would move towards her brush. I guess we all have different things to motivate us. Thanks for keeping us up to date.
    Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

    • cheesecat

      Thank you! That’s so cute to think about Mona moving towards her brush <3 I love how you were able to figure out what would get her motivated. Lucky kitty to have a loving and creative human!

  • jerry

    Wow! Each time you post about Feta’s latest routines and care I’m just so impressed. Not only is she getting stronger because of you but we are all learning so much because you’re taking time to share all of this here. THANK YOU! Now we know it is totally possible for cats to receive the same benefits of rehab therapy as our k9 buddies.

    Feta has the most adorable, expressive looks on her face. What a trooper!

    • cheesecat

      Thank you! She certainly is a trooper! A+ kitty cat right here.

      As I was doing research on ways to help her, I found so many more resources for dogs compared to cats. I know it can be harder to motivate cats to cooperate, but still! I hope by sharing our experiences (in perhaps-excruciating detail 😀 ) we can help some other kitty lovers out there find ways, or at least inspiration, to help their feline friends.

      Plus, most people think Feta and I are ridiculous and hilarious, so maybe we can bring a few smiles while we’re at it 😀

  • otisandtess

    Amazing that Feta is so cooperative through all this! Great job working with her!

    • cheesecat

      Thanks! Yes, I am constantly amazed by her cooperative and forgiving nature. She’s a lovely little creature and I am so glad I am able to help her!

  • traceym

    What a workout! Feta is very impressive 🙂

    • cheesecat

      Thanks! Yes, the poor girl works awfully hard for her cookies – I’m just glad I don’t have to do the same 😉

  • benny55

    Okay, I guess I’m the lo e voice here, but OWWW!!! Based on Feta’s eyes being as big as saucers, this looks like it hurts!!

    I know it’s necessary though 🙂 You are doing a SPECTACULAR job of making sure Feta stays strong and healthy! Sorry Feta, but no pain, no gain!

    Thank you sooooo much for documenting her therapy and sharing it with us in such great detail! It was extremely I informative!

    And thank you Feta, for being such a good role model on how to…er…endure therapy! 🙂 You are a ROCK STAR! 🙂 🙂

    Hugs…a d lots of extra treats!

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

    LS…Best of luck to Petra! 🙂

    • cheesecat

      I know, poor baby!!! As someone who’s endured icky PT myself, I have tremendous sympathy for this brave lil kitty. That’s why she gets the good treats!! 😀

      Thanks for your kind words and for cheering us on 🙂

  • purrkins

    I’m so glad to see you are trying the laser too! How does Feta like the laser ? Purrkins loves his laser accupuncture! He purrs thru his sessions. You guys are making progress yeah! You are doing a fantastic job with her ! Way to go! Kitties deserve all of the benefits of PT our dogs do! I feel bad it hurts her, lots of extra treats and cookies to feta! Have you ever tried Bravo freeze dried Salmon treats? If you need a new enticing treat our kitties go nuts for them. Bonito flakes also fyi;) Both are low calorie too!
    Bravo to you both!
    Hugs to you and chin and ear scratches to Miss Feta

    • cheesecat

      Since the laser is paired with the deep tissue massage, I’m not sure how she likes it on its own, poor girl. She doesn’t seem to mind, at least. I’ll check out those treats, thank you! I have some freeze dried liver that she’s not too excited by – her favorite treats I’ve found so far (including actual pieces of fish) are the stupid Feline Greenies – but I haven’t tried salmon yet. And I have some bonito flakes in my kitchen for making broth, so that will be easy to check!

      I am reading up on all the dieting tips you guys wrote about and they’re really interesting and informative, so thank you for sharing! (Feta says: thanks for nothing >:( ) She seems to be dropping weight and gaining muscle decently well, so I think we are on the right track!

      I’m sure Feta and Purrkins can agree: it ain’t easy being a kitty athlete, sheesh 😀

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