Amputee cats are not as rare as one might think; in fact, they have acquired a common name: Tripod Cats. Cats' limbs are amputated for two main reasons:
- Vaccine-Related Sarcoma (VAS)
- Injury, Intentional or Accidental
With the development of vaccination protocols by the Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force, established in 1996, we first began to see tripod cats. The reason: the protocols called for the feLV and Rabies vaccines to be given in the rear legs, (Rabies: Right; feLV: Left), as distally (distant) as possible. The reasoning behind this, unpleasant as it may sound, is that a VAS tumor on the leg can be treated by amputation, allowing affected cats to survive.
Amputee Cats Resulting From InjuryAs noted above, injury requiring amputation of a cat's limb can either be caused by accident, or cruelty. Tens of thousands of cats are killed or severely injured every year by vehicular accidents, a good reason to keep cats safely indoors.
Sierra, the beautiful tripod girl pictured here, lost her leg as the result of being thrown out of a car window as a kitten. Sierra's adoptive mom wrote: "Sierra was a 6 month old Siamese who would soon become a tripod because some horrible person had tossed her from a vehicle and her leg was broken beyond repair. A few days after I signed the adoption papers, Sierra had her right rear leg amputated. She was up and purring within a few hours after surgery. The next day she was trekking around the shelter. She came home a few days after her amputation." Sierra, like Steve in the first step, was a winner in the "Most Unforgettable Adopted Cat Contest." Read the remainder of Sierra's story for an example of how tripod kitties can lead entirely normal lives.
See Other Tripod Kitties: