Angry, hurt kitty and worried kittymom need help!
August 22, 2010 5:22 AM   Subscribe

HurtKittyfilter: My cat has (as far as the vet can tell) injured a ligament in her knee. What can I do to help her?

I can't figure out how she did it, but the night before last she stepped off of her usual perch on the lower part of our coffee table, howled with pain and her hind legs gave out. We took her to the emergency vet (who immediately decided she needed very expensive surgery on both knees), and to my regular vet yesterday morning, who did x-rays and can see a clear problem with her left hind knee, but there's nothing wrong with the bone, so she thinks it must be a ligament. Ouch.

The emergency vet gave us painkillers and glucosamine capsules, which I've been giving as recommended, but other than that, there's not much we can do to help the immediate problem. My vet is hopeful that, because little Pinot is only about a year old, she'll be able to heal without surgery.

First: If anyone has similar experience, I'd love to hear about it. It's heartbreaking to see her limping around, then just collapse. It would help to hear some success stories, or at least some more concrete timeline for getting better (I understand it will take months for her to get back to 100% mobility).

Second: We have done everything we can think of to ease her getting from one place to another, as we can't keep her completely immobile:

- Put down a big rug on the laminate floor in the living room
- Put a runner beside the litterbox, with a book under it so that it's two small steps to get into it, rather than one jump
- Put the litterbox and water dish as close to both of her favourite hiding spots as possible
- Try and keep her still at breakfast and dinner so we can bring her food to her

Is there anything we haven't thought of? She kind of hates me right now, because every time I touch her, I either shoot medicine down her throat or take her to be poked and prodded by the Big Scary Vet, so carrying her everywhere isn't much of an option at the moment.

Oh, I'm also concerned that she can't really squat in the litterbox... is there any way to help her with this? I understand that there may be some accidents, and that's okay of course, I just don't want her holding it in and getting a bladder infection or something.

Sorry for the length, and thanks in advance for your help!
posted by torisaur to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
If what she really needs is rest, then it may be best to do something more drastic. Perhaps a medium sized dog crate, with a kitty bed, a litterbox, and food bowls would help keep her from trying to use that knee.

When my dogs have been injured such that they need rest, they get crated, they get meds to relieve the with th healing, and also *tranquilizers*. Those last really, really help when you just can't explain to your four-footed buddy that they NEED to rest.
posted by galadriel at 6:17 AM on August 22, 2010

She's actually been pretty good about not moving around too much, unless she wants to hurry out for breakfast or use the litterbox (I've tried to help her with the latter by lifting her in, but she seems to have trouble standing in the litter). I think she's starting to get the hang of what hurts and what doesn't. I'm also reluctant to take her away from her hiding spots, as she's pretty freaked out by it all and I don't want to take away what ever is comforting her.

We're going today to get a litterbox with a lower edge, to make it a bit easier for her.
posted by torisaur at 6:45 AM on August 22, 2010

I agree with galadriel, you are going to have to crate her. She will likely hate you even more than she seems to now, but it is for her own good. I use a large dog crate and put a ferret litter box in the corner, a bed, and her food & water. If you leave her to wander around the house she is probably going to injure herself further, simply because she's a cat.

As for helping her squat in the litterbox...she'll figure it out.
posted by bolognius maximus at 6:47 AM on August 22, 2010

You can put a cardboard box with a hole cut in the side, or other kind of hidey-hole, inside a crate over a kitty bed to provide a hiding spot.

Having an understanding of what hurts is not at all the same as real rest.
posted by galadriel at 6:58 AM on August 22, 2010

Poor little girl! I would recommend a bean bag-type bed for her, because this will support her body and cushion her at the same time and she will not want to leave it, due to comfort overload. Example. If you don't have a bean bag, fold up a quilt or comforter into a big squishy bed for her.

I agree with everyone who's advised keeping her crated for a few days, with her bed, her food and a litter tray.
posted by essexjan at 7:19 AM on August 22, 2010

Okay, I will see about picking up a crate today. Any other advice for the post-crate period?
posted by torisaur at 7:52 AM on August 22, 2010

Your profile doesn't say where you are, but you should look around to see if there is a pain specialist in your area, you can call a vet school in your area for a referral. They should be able to help you out with figuring out a better course of action.

One of our dogs partially tore her cruciate and we ended up having stem cell therapy done on her by the owner of the clinic my wife used to practice at. I'm not saying go out and have stem cell therapy done or that it worked miracles, I'm just saying that he had some interesting out of the box thinking.

Also, hyaluronic acid is supposed to be really good for joints. We give our dogs and cat a 30 day dose every year.
posted by TheBones at 8:08 AM on August 22, 2010

Okay, she is settled in a crate with a litter pan, food, water, a pillow and her favourite snuggle blanket, and I feel much better about leaving the house occasionally.

Thanks so much for your help, all :)
posted by torisaur at 1:09 PM on August 22, 2010

When one of my parent's cats was maybe 9 months old he was chasing a blanket and jumped pretty forcefully onto it. What he didn't realize was that a heavy wooden door was just a few inches behind it. He crashed pretty hard, and sprained an elbow (as an X-ray at an emergency vet confirmed). He looked pretty pathetic limping around for a week or so, but mended up just fine.

This wouldn't be as bad as having both of your back legs injured, but I do think it sounds like he'll be just fine in time.
posted by fontophilic at 2:39 PM on August 22, 2010

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