Most recent picture of Diesel. He’s 10.5 years old now and it’s over 5 years since the amputation! Crazy!!
So he’s now 9, still going strong – but becoming a soppy old man. This is a link to a Vine video to celebrate which shows how perky he still looks, and shows he’s missing a leg. Keep strong everyone else going through this!
He doesn’t often lie ‘missing leg’ up, so this is a quick vid I took of him, years after the op so you can see how healed he is now. And how cute!
It’s been a full year now since Diesel’s leg amputation and it was honestly one of the best things that could have happened. He’s happy again, he can do everything he did before he had the leg amputated. And he’s in no pain, nor does it seem the cancer has returned or been hidden anywhere inside him. Originally, the vet told us he /might/ have lived a year with it, as it spread up his leg and into his internal organs. But it would be a year in excrutiating pain. Instead we had a scary week of post-op recovery followed by a super loving cat settling into his new way of life. I love him so much!
Thanks to everyone who’s visited the blog, got in touch with their own tales and who also has a three-legger to deal with. I’ve learned so much from you all. And from the resilience and remarkable recovery of our very special cats.
What can I say? I should have updated sooner, and thanks for all the questions about how Diesel’s doing.
First of all, he’s doing GREAT – although the fur hasn’t all quite regrown yet. He can now jump everywhere he could jump before, cat towers, sofas, laps, even the beanbag sofa isn’t phasing him (and before he avoided soft and squishy surfaces because his balance is a bit off). He’s generally a much happier cat, he grooms Larky and they play together now, when previously they had a much less happy coexistence. It’s obviously to do with the removal of pain, rather than the removal of his leg, but we were commenting last week about how he’s just a much happier cat all round.
He pleads to go outside, so he gets to toddle around our back yard every day with his little minion, he dashes downstairs for food and he comes for cuddles about as regularly as he used to. Of course, the worst thing about the whole incident is that he’s now FAR more used to being spoiled than he was, and we have a few ‘brat’ moments where he cries to be carried down from the cat tree, or to his food… I do this for him about once a week, the rest of the time he has to work for it.
On reflection, one of the hardest things about the whole situation was making sure Larky didn’t feel left out, but lavishing Diesel with attention and whatever help he needed. I don’t think we’re the world’s best cat owners, but I like to feel we did a good job by them, and I make sure she gets lots of cuddles now and is never locked out the bedroom again.
It took Diesel the LONGEST time to go back into our bedroom, and that broke my heart for a while (the bedroom was where his post-op care was and he left it the moment we let him). He goes back in there now, and even jumps onto the bed – but that’s kind of rare. Also, his vaccinations are due, so next week I get the interesting trip to the vets, for the first real time not associated with the foot/leg. We’ll see how much he likes the cat carrier.
Of course, I still have panic moments. He cried when I touched him tummy twice in the last few weeks and started to swipe at me. Immediately I started the ‘pain’ check of touching him to see if I could get the reaction again. But each time, the next day, there was no such reaction. We still keep an eye out, we’re painfully aware of how he acts when in pain now, and what it might mean if such pain returns.
But I have never regretted our non-decision once (I say non-decision as the vet pretty much told me they were amputating, not that I would have argued with them anyway!). I love having Diesel back so much, and I love that he can now appreciate the companion we originally got for him but who has now become a firm fixture in the house!
I’ll do some more thoughtful updates about how it feels this many months on soon. I am well aware we’re approaching the 5 month mark, and that’s when I originally read cats return to ‘normal’ so we’ve always given him 5 months to be totally himself again.
I’ve lost count a bit, but I think we’re at 6 weeks now since Diesel had his left fore-leg amputated due to bone cancer in his paw.
We’ve had some massive ups and downs, in his mood, in our mood – even in Larky’s mood. He’s gone from hiding upstairs, to hiding ON the stairs, to his latest hideyhole – behind the sofa. But now he spends most of his day downstairs, in the corridor getting sun from outside, or in the kitchen awaiting food.
His last stitch fell out last weekend. That’s been massive in helping his mood I think. Before he’d be constantly licking it and snarl a bit at his own inability to get rid of it, and obviously it was pulling on his skin. Now he’s a lot more free and easy, neither of us have been bitten while stroking in a couple of weeks either.
He wants to play with toys, but his muscles are still learning to be as agile with one leg missing. He can jump on both our sofas, but the bed eludes him, as does the coffee table (though he can vaguely clamber there from a sofa). But he’s about 80% on range of movement now. He was never a big jumper, never went on kitchen surfaces, only jumped on lowish things – now he just thinks more before even attempting a jump.
But his mood is very improved, and that means a lot more to me that anything else. Although we weren’t given a choice about the operation, I would never have chosen an alternative to the amputation!!
Challenges still await us – keeping his weight down is, I hear, a big deal now. Luckily he’s always been on the average/small weight side, but I do see him wanting to be fed more to comfort himself already. We have to watch that, because the last thing his legs need is extra pressure that’s not needed. We have to see how things settle down with Larky – he can already bat her away quite professionally, and they tussle a bit, I hope they continue as things return to normal. It gives them both a bit of exercise and we’ve never even found scratch marks on either, so they don’t really GO at each other hell for leather. I’m sure he’ll also have some bad days, we can’t assume it’s all over and done with now, and, of course, we have to keep an eye out for any signs of cancer returning – something I’m currently avoiding thinking about.