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Feta the Three Legged Cat

Feta Cat's Journey to Mobility

Feta the Three Legged Cat

Feta Has Fun with Foster Kittens

February 9th, 2017 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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Regardless of your political views, I think we can all agree that these past few weeks have been pretty challenging. Add in some major weather all over the country today, and eesh, it’s not been easy.

Thus, I present my prescription for positivity – foster kitties!

Warning: there are lots of pictures and .gifs and youtube vids in this post, so if you don’t like REALLY CUTE KITTENS, turn back now!

I started fostering in April 2016, having never had a cat of my own before and not knowing much about cats in general (except that they have sharp bits and, often, do not suffer fools lightly). Kittens are a great place to start learning to Cat, because they are very small and very forgiving!

Somewhere in the midst of all these kittens I ended up with Feta. She is the first adult cat I’ve been responsible for! Fortunately for me, she is also a good “starter cat,” because she is very forgiving and very communicative. But, I digress. Just because I had Feta doesn’t mean there wasn’t still a need for kitten fosters!

During “kitten season,” which is usually the warm months from around February – October, shelters are typically utterly overwhelmed with homeless kittens. Many need to be bottle fed around the clock, and even those that are weaned are too young and immune-compromised (having not had all their shots yet) to safely be housed at the shelter. Many shelters euthanize orphan kittens that come in too young to eat on their own, because they don’t have the resources to give them the care they need. Those that work to save orphan kittens rely heavily on volunteers to take the young kittens into their homes and care for them until they are old enough to be vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and adopted out (usually around 8-10 weeks). So, that’s why I have had a bunch of kittens in my home (you can see pictures of them, and of Feta, on my Instagram account), and why I love to advocate for kitten fostering! You can do it, too! One of the best ways to get started is to talk to your local shelter to see if they or any group they know need help.

So, with that out of the way! Feta and some of my kittens overlapped. Generally, you want to keep your fosters separated for health concerns, but if they’ve been in foster for a number of weeks and are healthy and at least partially vaccinated, and your resident animals are in good health and also vaccinated, you can do some supervised introductions.

Feta was both interested in and scared of the “newcomers” at first, but then warmed up to them fairly well. I think her mobility problems make her a little extra shy and insecure, but she seems to enjoy at least the idea of kitten friends!

I fostered these floofy felines for a week while their primary foster was traveling:

Kitten: “You look weird.” Feta: “What are you and are you tasty?”

 

My next litter was 2 little tabby girls.

I was keeping the kittens in my bedroom and Feta downstairs, but one day (after watching me bring up the kitten food, no doubt) Feta decided to follow me up and bust through the not-very-secure-closing door.

Kittens: “We are kittens yay we play with all the things!” Feta: “WHAT. ARE. THOSE?!”

Watching them meet was absolutely hilarious – they were all terrified of each other and attempting to act all fierce, which of course none of them is. Poofy kittens vs. 2.5 legged cat is not exactly a violent battle, but it is ferociously cute!

The kittens, having never seen an adult cat before, were completely taken aback.

However, they soon made friends!

 

“I thinks I want to play with you, Large Scary Cat!” “Um…. Okay, I play with you, Kitten! …I think??”

Eventually as they got more comfortable with each other, they seemed to have a lot of fun playing together! They were still very closely supervised – both praised for good cat manners and gently corrected/redirected if they got too rough – but all was generally peace and harmony and really insufferable cuteness 😀

WRASSLE MANIAAA

 

 

Kitten: “Tail! Tail! Tail! I LOVES THIS TAIL!!!!!” Feta: “Zzz…zzz… I wonder if it’s dinner time yet.”

 

“We can haz holiday pikshur?”

So, Feta proved her cat-compatibility (com-cat-ibility?) with foster kittens quite well, and may be allowed to meet more in the future 🙂 (After appropriate quarantine, with careful supervision, etc.!)

Feta goes to a neurologist tomorrow, so we will likely have a more serious update soon, but in the meantime I leave you with my favorite .gif ever of my cute little tabby fosters 🙂 Kitten season is starting as we speak – time for me to ready the kitten supplies (and the camera)!!! Will any of our other fur-friends be helping their humans foster this season?

Kitten Spa is the cutest spa.


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Tripawd Troubles: Remaining Leg Not Holding Its Own

February 6th, 2017 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

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Well, Feta Fans, we have some frustrating news!

“Ack!!!! We do?!?”

We have been religiously working on our kitty physical therapy exercises, but we have seen almost no improvement in even her assisted “walking”:

So, as soon as I could after adopting her, I carted Feta and her dog-brother Rascal into Rascal’s vet, who specializes in orthopedic issues and rehabilitation, for a full evaluation.

Like brother, like sister.

I was hoping our vet would examine Feta, recommend some different exercises (swimming?) and we’d be on our way. But no such luck!

I of course began by telling them about the initial PT visit and the exercises we’ve been working on. I also sent them the videos we have of her movement and changes over the last several months.

Instead of advising continued PT, the vet(s, since two were consulted) strongly suspect that funky back leg is paralyzed, and they are not convinced she has “deep pain” sensation in the leg/foot. (This is a bad thing.) They said that continued physical therapy was unlikely to produce any results (as we suspected, since it’s been a month with almost no progress) because of underlying nerve problems. They recommended either just leaving her as is, since she seems happy enough, trying a wheelchair, and/or taking her to a veterinary neurologist.

Cat does not approve of this message.

Well, leaving her as-is is not an option, since if anything she seems to be growing increasingly uncomfortable, and I’d really, really, really rather keep her as a “tripawd” than turn her into a “bipawd”! Ack! So, even though it’s a bit of a moonshot, we’re going ahead and booking her a visit with a veterinary neurologist at a specialty clinic in NYC.

Further evidence that there’s no such thing as a “free pet”!

Veterinary bills: ELEVENTY BILLION DOLLARS Love from a good friend: Priceless

 

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Feta Gets a Home!

February 4th, 2017 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

Big news, everyone!

“Omg, really?”

Feta was adopted!

(By me.)

I know, I know, few people are surprised. But after months working with this sweet girl and becoming her friend, and with nobody expressing interest in adopting a 2.5-legged cat who has trouble with the litterbox and is sure to need intensive follow-up care, I opted to bite the bullet, pull out my checkbook, and take her home (and to my orthopedic-specialist vet).

Yay, Feta! Now you will get extra-special veterinary poking and prodding and whatever you need to get you back in action like the naughty kitty you really want to be!

 

“Unless this position comes with extra cat food, I remain unimpressed.” -Feta

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More on Feta’s Purrrsonality

January 27th, 2017 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

I’ve been so amazed and delighted by how many people (other than me) are rooting for Feta. Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and encouragement!

We’re plugging away at our leg rubs and stretches, but I thought I’d use this post to show a little more about Feta herself, the cat behind the weird missing/messed-up legs.

First, as I’ve mentioned before, she is an incorrigible glutton and an utterly shameless scavenger. Even with a cone on!!!

She tries to steal my food.

Hmm, notice anything suspicious about the bite pattern on this UNOPENED lunch meat?!

She tries to steal the dog’s food – even if she has to limp her way into his pen to get it!

“Kind of plastic-tasting, but I’ll take it.”

 

Not exactly a “speedy getaway,” but…

She even steals her own food – though, being a cat, she probably has limited understanding of “future selves” and the food she is taking from them.

“But I do understand that AUTO feeder means self-serve!!!!”

She is also remarkably patient and kind – while I am tempted to add, “for a cat,” she is much, much more forgiving than my dog, so I don’t want to be species-ist in my description! In general, she loves people, and is willing to put up with a lot of questionable human behaviors.

For example, Halloween costumes.

“Say one word and DIE. Eventually. Probably of old age, statistically speaking. Memento mori, valar morghulis, etc. I’m really nice so I’m just going to sit here looking stupid.”

 

Also, she has many handy uses around the house. Who needs Pillow when you can have Cat?

“Eh, whatever, you feed me, I’ll deal with it.”

However, despite her peculiarities and unusually-gentle temperament, she is still very much a Cat, and enjoys the traditional passtimes of her people.

For example, boxes.

“What mean, ‘throw away’? Dis thing my favorite!!!”

Climbing on things. (Also: being picky.)

“Heyyyy, I see you made me a nice bed in that box over there, so I decided to sit on this instead.”

Catnip!!!! And toys with catnip!!!! And more catnip!!!!! Anything with catnip!!!!!!

“Hehehehe the feathers taste like yellow!”

Toilet paper roll rings have been in the top 3 favorite toys of every single foster I’ve had, and Feta is no exception. Keeping it classy over here.

“TP ring = good. TP RING WITH CATNIP = AMAAAZINGGGG!!!!”

And, though she’s generally pretty lazy, she does – like most young cats – enjoy a good round of whappy-bitey-kicks with a good wand toy.

So, there you have it. A little peek into the (not actually very) secret life of Feta Cat. Tripawds – they’re just like us!! Watch out for future posts to get more physical therapy updates, a post on Feta’s super-duper-derpy faces, and how Feta gets along with other furry friends (including bonus cute kitten videos)!

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Feta’s PT Progression

January 24th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Greetings, Feta Fans!

We’ve been hard at work doing our exercises, and while it’s hard to document well since it takes two hands to really do them right, I wanted to at least attempt to show our progress.

We sent a video to the lovely tech who is helping us, and she is happy with how we’re doing so far! Good job, us!

About a week ago, she was still showing a lot of tenderness in her back, though Awesome Tech Jenn still thought it showed improvement compared to how she’d been at her consultation visit.

Her weight bearing practice was going well, though, and continues to improve!

When we practice, I’m scratching her back/butt to get her to really use her abs and her leg to hold good kitty posture, and also to force her to distribute more weight onto that back leg (as opposed to basically doing a handstand, which she prefers at this point) and also to use her muscles to keep maintain her balance. This also helps her back as well as the leg and hips.

As she’s getting better with this, I’m also scratching her back leg a little bit, in the “crook” of the “knee” of her stifle joint, to get her to flex that a bit more, too. We also do some gentle “bounces” where I very gently and carefully press down on her hips to get her to bend and flex a bit more while bearing weight on the leg.

She tends to want to bend only in her hock, to the point that it’s all the way down on the ground, so I’m really trying to encourage her to bend that stiff stifle joint as well.

We’ve been working very diligently with her leg stretches, working on them at least 2x/day. Doing short but frequent sessions is really important for healing – keep at it too long and you stress both the leg and the cat, and push it too hard and you could get a lot of inflammation that is actually counter-productive. Gentle and consistent is best. And remember, the more relaxed the animal, the better stretching and movement you’re going to get! Keep it gentle and positive!

You can see our massaging and stretching from last week here (note: it may look like I am squeezing or forcing her, but while it’s important to be firm, always err on the side of being gentle! I am holding her leg with a loose hand, and mostly gently applying pressure with the flat of my hand):

Then today, I took some more video to show her progress – you can tell she is still quite stiff, but look how much more bend we’re getting! And how much more comfortable she seems!

I’ve found that letting her lie down with the stiff leg dangling off my lap down towards the ground is a great way to get a relaxing passive stretch. Works great on humans, too! (Some variation of this was very helpful for me when I was recovering from broken ribs! Although my PT had me doing it with the top leg dangling down and the bottom leg bent upwards.)

To get the “bicycling” movement, we start by loosening and working on the stifle, then very gently combine it with the easier hock flexing. In general, you start at the top, loosening the hip, then the stifle, then the hock, then the ankle, before you expect them all to start moving together.

This type of healing and strengthening is not a quick process, so we’re going to just keep on doing what we’re doing and hoping for continued gradual improvements. It will likely be a long time yet before she’s really using that leg voluntarily (she is quite lazy, and won’t want to use it until it’s easy) but the more we get it loose and strong, the sooner that day will come!

Thanks to all her fans for your encouragement as we trudge along through this process!

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