Multiple cat family getting along when one cat is disabled

by Debra Keeler
(Orange, Ca)



I have 9 furbabies and the newest addition is a 11 month old part Flame Point Siamese cat who had to have her left rear leg amputated from being hit by a car. I was her cat foster mom starting right after surgery when she was 4 months old. My cats all mostly get along well with my disabled kitty until she feels tired and weak then starts limping. When this happens, my cat reacts like a cornered injured animal, which I can understand. How can I best help her when that happens? Right now I put my disabled cat in her "safe place" which is my daughter's bathroom. She has a cat bed, litter box, cat food and water, etc., in there.

Does she need a prosthetic for her left rear leg? She now hops a lot on the right rear one like a pogo stick and can run & jump fine until my kitty gets sore and tired. Does my cat need feline pain medications at that time also?


Dear Debbie,

I would like to start by applauding you for taking in a special needs kitty. It sounds like you have given a very special cat an incredible home, filled with lots of love and care.

In my opinion, I think you are doing exactly the right thing for your cat. If your cat can't, or won't, stop and rest when she needs to without being bothered by your other cats, then separating her and putting her in a "safe place" is the best thing to do for her. The only additional thing I would suggest is to try to catch her and get her to rest or separate her before your cat has "over done it."

In terms of whether your cat should have a prosthetic leg, I have found that three-legged cats usually do perfectly fine because they are so lightweight and agile. Cats don't have the psychological component that we, as humans, may have when it comes to prosthetic legs either. Cats are not concerned with the cosmetic component of having only three legs. And, in all honesty, your cat may actually be more encumbered by having a prosthetic leg than by continuing to get around on her own.

The tiring your cat experiences is certainly normal, and I would not be inclined to say that she would need feline pain medication at those times. It's not all that different from your or I going to the gym and overdoing it slightly and becoming sore. Rest usually does the trick, and is better for your cat than medicating her.

Again, I applaud you for giving this special needs kitty a good home and believe you are doing a fantastic job with your cats care.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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