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Meet Foster Tripawd Kitty Roosevelt/Link (Tripod Cat Available for Adoption)

Once RR Jake finished his treatment plan and got past a really nasty URI, we adopted him and told the foster coordinator that it was going to be a few weeks to get him settled into the daily routine. I had every intention of sticking with that plan since it seemed prudent. In the meantime, I was going through volunteer orientation at the shelter. When I introduced myself, I mentioned the passing of Tripod and helping out three legged cats when I could.

Part of the volunteer orientation involves a tour of the shelter. Since I already got the shelter tour when I went through foster orientation, I only went through the first part of the cat room. That’s when someone said hey, here’s a three legger for you! I would have totally missed little Roosevelt (Link) if someone hadn’t have spoken up right then.

He was already known among shelter staff as a sweet and friendly boy. His amputation (and neutering, poor boy) was only three days before that. He came into the shelter with bad injuries from a BB gun. 🙁 Since I knew how important it was to try and get him out of shelter as soon as possible, to minimize secondary infections, I stopped by the foster coordinator’s office to see whether he could head to our foster room.

About an hour later I’m loading up this sweet kitty into a carrier and off we went. Since I hadn’t exactly been planning on bringing a foster kitty home that day, so Roosevelt (foster home name Link, yes I’m a Zelda nerd), did a rapid turnover of the downstairs bathroom. We were using the upstairs bathroom for RR Jake’s recovery / acclimation / quarantine room, but that was our house’s primary bathroom so it didn’t make sense to tie that one up.

The downstairs bathroom sits at the end of a long hallway, and both rooms leading off of it are separated by doors. That makes it the perfect little area for our medical fosters recovering from surgery. Link quickly got his bearings and the first thing he did was decide to launch himself over the side of the tub. Sigh, kitty.

He was particularly appreciative of getting out of his cone and getting a onesie on. I wanted to watch him and see whether he tries to nibble at his sutures. He had some extra ones on his other front leg, so I needed to keep a close eye on those. He was recovering quite quickly and not even on pain medication whenever we took him home.

It quickly became obvious that he loves cuddles. His purrs are loud and he couldn’t get enough of curling up into laps and quietly napping with the closest human. What a sweet cuddle bug.

He didn’t even mind getting any of the medication that we needed to give him. He’s probably the easiest cat, three legged or otherwise, that I’ve ever handled in my life. The vets at the shelter agreed.

He recently got medically cleared for adoption and his originally planned forever home fell through. He is very laid back to the point where I even recommend him to new cat parents. He does great with other kitties and has a personality that is so sweet and loving. He does like some play time, especially with other cats. His jumping range is that of a typical cat, and by that I mean he is more than capable of getting up on my counters when I’m doing things in the kitchen. 😛

If you’re interested in adopting trikitty Link, you can find out more information about him and the process to get started on his profile at BARCS.

 

Quick Compilation of Foster Trikitty Advice I Made for a Potential Adopter

Roosevelt’s adoption fell through, unfortunately, but I wanted to get a quick copy and paste of all the advice that I offered when they wanted to know how to care for a trikitty. I’m working on a better resource guide when I get some time (my work schedule doesn’t leave me with a ton of free time to put it together currently), but I hope this might prove useful to someone in the meantime. It’s a bit rough since this was just in response to various questions via email.

Litter Boxes

What I generally recommended for three-legged cats are one of the following options:
A high sided, open litter box that has a relatively low front entry: Specifically, what I like and use for my resident tripod is Nature’s Miracle High Sided Litter Box (or the corner variation).
https://www.chewy.com/natures-miracle-just-cats-advanced/dp/51663
A litter box with stairs. Specifically, what I use is: https://www.chewy.com/booda-dome-cleanstep-litter-box/dp/53591
That one has the advantage of being covered with a section for a filter, if you don’t want a lot of litter kicked around the room
Low-sided bus box, underbed storage box, or similar low sided plastic storage container. You do get a lot of litter kicked around, but these are inexpensive, easy to alter if you need a lower entry point, and are readily available.
Small animal litter boxes intended for ferrets, rabbits and similar can be useful as well since they have very low entry points, but I haven’t personally used this option
I generally don’t recommend closed litter boxes with the doors for tripod kitties, since that’s an extra bit of force that they need to use to get in.
I generally DO recommend getting some sort of a litter mat, especially for the first few months, as three legged cats can track a bit more than a four legged cat.
Whew, that’s a lot about litter boxes. 🙂
Front-leg tripods do tend to have some issues with digging in the litter box, and I’ll know a bit better if Roosevelt will run into that problem once his staples come out and I get him using a clumping litter over a pellet litter. My resident tripod is a front-leg amputee as well, and he tries but he doesn’t always quite get things covered since he has to hop up and paw back. It sure looks adorable though. 🙂
The high sided litter box is the biggest help since he can lean up against it for balance. A dust-free litter is also useful since front leg tripods definitely try to scratch and dig more since they have to work harder for their results. The first few weeks for RR Jake (our resident tripod kitty), I just wandered by and used the scoop to cover it after he gave it his all. He eventually worked out a system that works well for him, and Roosevelt should be able to manage that too. 🙂

Cat Food

I personally do mostly wet food for my resident cats since it’s important to control three legged cat weight to reduce joint pain and it’s easier to do that with wet than dry. Roosevelt is free feeding on dry right now and gets a can of wet food alongside that per day (he was a bit underweight when he came in).

Cat Trees

I have a high cat tree for my tripod, with the bottom parts giving lots of places to climb up to the higher tiers. Anything that has a ramp, stairs, or a low start to a climbing point is great. 🙂 It’s also a great way to encourage exercise and stretches.

Beds

As far as the bed question goes, that depends on the type of bed you have. As long as the front leg tripod kitties aren’t hesitant about jumping for some reason, they can manage a lot of bed types just fine. I’ve also put together stairs out of cardboard boxes, storage totes, footlockers and similar. Some three legged cats like the help, and some can go straight from the floor. 🙂
One thing that’s really helpful for three legged cats is an orthopedic pillow. Anything that’s memory foam or a similar material works really well. Since it distributes the weight when they’re laying down, it puts less pressure on their joints.
Kennel cooling pads can also be helpful for easing any joint soreness, since so much weight is put on a single foreleg.

Toys

Ground chase toys tend to work out better than air teasers, although the latter is very helpful for strengthening the core muscles of front-leg tripods. Similarily, ground or slightly ramped scratching posts work really well. I’ve found that ground scratcher loungers are particularly well received. 🙂

Community

http://tripawds.com/forums/3-legged-cats/ is a fabulous forum for all sorts of tips and tricks for three leggers. 🙂

Leashes

If you want to leash train him, it can be hard to find cat harnesses that work well for this leg configuration in feline products, but you can easily find those supplies by searching for small dog amputee supplies.

Welcome to Adventures in Three Legged Fostering

The beginning of my three-legged fostering story starts with the end of another story. For 12 years, Tripod and I were inseparable. Born with three-legs, she brought me hope and joy during the worst times of my life, and I brought her food and happiness. She’s my best friend and the reason that I’m even alive today. On January 11th, the unthinkable happened. She died suddenly, unexpectedly, as she had been in mostly great health before that. I had to make the call to save her from her suffering. A big piece of me was destroyed by that. That day was the end of my world.

You never learn what you’re supposed to do when your world ends but you have to keep on living. I went through the motions for a few days. Our other cat, Tetrapod, was devastated. He and Tripod had a rather tsundere like relationship, and she very much loved him in her own salty way. I also discovered that the house was far, far too quiet without the pitter patter thump of a three-legged cat.

I went on Petfinder. The first cat I inquired about, my application was rejected because of being outside of their service area, despite what it said on their website. This was the beginning of the weirdest set of coincidences that leads me to fully believe that Tripod has her paw in what happened next.

I sent emails out to the closest local shelters, asking if they had any three-legged kitties. Most of them did not currently have any cats falling under that category, then I received an email from the foster coordinator at BARCS. She normally doesn’t tackle this type of email, but she went to see if there were any in foster. That’s when I learned about Jake. He had just gotten amputated a few days before the email, due to a bone infection. I asked whether he was a black cat. The foster coordinator said yes.

I knew I had to meet him. I didn’t know whether I could really handle going to the shelter, but I had to see him. I brought a little Christmas toy that I had gotten from Meowbox. When my partner and I saw him, we saw the Tripod in him. All black fur, other than where he was shaved. The face shape was eerily similar.

I asked when he came in. The 12th. That hit me like a truck. I couldn’t hold back the tears and it was right about then that I knew we needed to help Jake. He loved getting his face pet, welcoming the attention. I gave him the toy that I brought. Despite his pain, despite being in a stressful environment, despite being down a leg suddenly, he picked it up and started playing with it. That sealed the deal.

The foster coordinator put us on a foster to adopt program, in order to avoid interruption to Jake’s treatment plan. He came home with us two days later. It all happened incredibly fast, but in hindsight that was definitely a good thing. While the plan was to get him into foster to avoid secondary infections. He started showing the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (kitty cold) as we got him out of there, but he avoided any other potential infections.

We fashioned our upstairs bathroom into a post-surgery recovery room. Tetrapod was very interested in what was going on, and he took it as a personal affront that we weren’t allowing him into the bathroom. The entire two-week mandatory separation period + extra time when Tetra shoved his nose under the bathroom door to the point where HE caught a URI too, was obviously just something we came up with to vex him.

We kept saying Jake From State Farm so many times that we wanted to keep the Jake part of his name, but I also wanted to add something of our own. So, RR for Robin Reliant got appended to it. Plus, phoenitically, his name ends up sounding like Our Jake. He had a pretty rough time in recovery. The URI had him down and out for almost two weeks, and at one point I was up for another sleepless night, syringe feeding him so he would have something in his system while I was waiting for his fever to break. It was an ordeal for that sweet little boy and myself, and it was the type of healing that we both needed.

The first face-to-face meeting of Tetrapod and RR Jake was nothing short of magical. Jake charged right out, his tail held high, so happy that he could finally meet his friend from the other side of the door. He went right in for a kitty kiss. Tetra was used to a more tumultuous relationship, and wasn’t quite sure what to do.

It didn’t take him long to figure things out. They are best friends now and bring so much joy to this house. Even with their insistance that 3 am playtime is the best playtime. Once we finalized the adoption of RR Jake, I knew that Tripod would want me to continue helping other kitties, especially the three-legged ones. So once we got Jake settled into the routine, it was time to help another kitty, this time as foster parents rather than adopters.

This is the next tripod cat that we’re helping out. The shelter named him Roosevelt, but we’ve taken to calling him Link. He is an utter sweetheart with a very sad story, and I’m glad that he is getting the help he deserves. So that’s the start of my story. I plan on posting about our resident kitties and the fosters, and anything useful that I’ve run into along the way. Thanks for reading this far, and I hope to see you again!

 

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