Good toys/climby things for newly three-legged cat?
March 24, 2015 9:52 PM   Subscribe

My mum's boisterous siamese The Lola was recently hit by a car, and had to have a broken leg amputated (pinning was deemed unlikely to work). I'm going to be watching her house next week and I'm assuming The Lola's usual physical pastime of climbing on the roof is not going to be very viable anymore. Given she's likely to have recovered from the surgery by then, what are some playthings that might be good to cheer her up/tire her out while she doesn't have full balance back yet?

The tragic consequences on the princess herself. I haven't seen her physically again yet; this happened last Saturday.
posted by solarion to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Am I reading that picture right that she's missing the back leg, and the front leg is in a cast?

:         (

I have to go hug my kitties now


Okay, I'm back. I wouldn't expect a lot of playfulness right away, but once both her front paws heal up okay, I think one of these thingers might work well. Cats can fully play with it while lying down.
posted by aubilenon at 10:16 PM on March 24, 2015

Cats and dogs do not react to limb loss the way humans do. She may not be rooftop in the next couple weeks but she very likely will be much sooner than you'd think.

Get her some toys (maybe a cat condo) but she'll probably find new and exciting ways to figure out her balance (and probably all of them will scare the crap out of your mum.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:17 PM on March 24, 2015

The cast is going to annoy her more than the loss of limb.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:21 PM on March 24, 2015 [7 favorites]

My cat lost a front leg at a youngish age for a similar reason, and I was astounded at how quickly she recovered. This was many years ago, but IIRC, she was back to her old self within a week or two in terms of mobility, energy level and happiness. She occasionally lost her balance but not that often, and lived for another decade and a half without that leg. She jumped up on high places like a champ until probably the age of 16 or so, in all her 3-legged splendour.

Now, this was a front rather than back leg, which according to the vet is easier to handle for animals in terms of balance. But I'd still wager your mom's cat will be up and jumping on things before you know it. You can probably just do the things she would normally do and play with the same toys she'd normally play with.

A caveat--before my cat's leg was amputated it was in a cast, which made my cat seem depressed and lethargic. Once the leg was amputated, she perked up! So YMMV with the leg in the cast.

Best healing to your mom's cat! She's lovely.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:47 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

This whirly spinny toy under a cloth is something she could play with while lying down, or at least not climbing or running around much. That particular one is rated rather poorly, but there are others... I'll try to dig one up, but I'm blanking on the right search terms.

Also wanted to second those who have said cats can be fast adapters to this sort of thing. I've known a couple of 3-legged cats who bounced back surprisingly quickly. Good luck to her!
posted by jessicapierce at 10:51 PM on March 24, 2015

Response by poster: Am I reading that picture right that she's missing the back leg, and the front leg is in a cast?

Correct. It was nasty.

Cats and dogs do not react to limb loss the way humans do. She may not be rooftop in the next couple weeks but she very likely will be much sooner than you'd think.

I should've said; I don't expect that to be a permanent impairment. This is mostly because I'll be looking after her next week and while I think she'll be sprightly by then there'll be a bit of a gap in recovery, during which time I think she could use some cheer.
posted by solarion at 2:06 AM on March 25, 2015

Poor The Lola! I'm sorry about her accident but relieved that she will recover.

I'd recommend getting a dangly wand-type toy. If she's not up to running or jumping yet, you can dangle it over her while she's lying down so she can bat at it without moving. A catnip-filled toy might work, too, if she's sensitive to catnip; some cats have a great time just chomping or rubbing their faces on them.

If she's not up for playing at all, brushing her with some sort of massage-y brush, like the Zoom Groom or the Love Glove (yeah, I know it's a ridiculous name) might be fun in the meantime.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:52 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I came in to recommend a variation on the toy suggested by aubilenon. Some, like this one, expose the ball from the side instead of the top, which is more conducive for playing while lying down. The search term you need seems to be "chase track."
posted by carmicha at 6:16 AM on March 25, 2015

Best answer: Cats are complete morons and will happily run around on their unhealed, still in a cast leg, causing all sorts of huge problems for their poor owners and allowing for less recovery than they would have if they weren't such stupid jerks. If it's possible, do keep your cat in a room where there is absolutely nothing at all to jump on; check the cat regularly to see if she managed to pull off her cast. Several times.

I'd also do dangly wand things, because you can keep her from running too far. You might want to look into catnip spray which is not messy (won't get into wounds) but which the cat will love.
posted by jeather at 6:46 AM on March 25, 2015

Cat puzzles. I make a lot of them, out of little boxes (tissue boxes work) -- just cut an appropriately-sized hole and drop a treat inside. However, here's one for sale.
posted by amtho at 7:35 AM on March 25, 2015

Best answer: My cat Simon lost a back leg when he was young but I don't think he really gets that there is something missing. He has strategies for climbing, can sit and consider how to get up something in stages, is good at chin ups and wedging paws into crannies to leverage himself up like a human climber would. He needs a bit of time to get his balance and can't jump as high as a 4 legged cat would but he can do pretty well. When properly motivated he can climb above head height in to trees. Basically don't rule out some climbing activity in The Lola's future.
posted by biffa at 12:35 PM on March 25, 2015

I have just been reminded of something you might look out for. Every so often Simon will sit down and try to scratch the right side of this face. The stump where his back right leg should be will twitch as if he was having a good scratch but there is no leg to work away at his chin. It is the saddest thing in the world. Be ready to step in and give your puss a good scratch around the ear or chin as necessary. Simon really appreciates it. We use both fingers and a cat brush as he approves of both, but YCMMV.
posted by biffa at 9:48 AM on March 28, 2015

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