It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. Oh my, it’s almost been a year! How did that happen? I started a couple of drafts but never published them. Oops. So much for keeping track of our lives together. Need to work on that.
Smore will be turning two sometime this spring. I tend to celebrate it on St. Patrick’s Day because the vet at MSU marked it down as her birthday. It’s amazing just how much has changed since that fateful two hour trip one way to see an orthopedic specialist in an attempt to save Smore’s leg. I still remember sitting in that office room hearing that there may be a possibility to recover and trying to make the decision to save it or amputate. I remember crying at home and in the waiting room and how each time she seemed to touch her face to mine – often to the tear itself as if to wipe it away – as if she was telling me everything would be okay.
My mother fully believed that an animal could not survive on three legs – that it was inhumane and only considering the human’s interests. As I talked to her on the phone looking for answers, she told me that it was only something I could decide. She had seen videos though of animals getting along just fine on three legs. I had seen some on as little as two. But this was a front leg. How was a kitten with one front leg going to play? How would she pounce and get toys? Why had this tiny little creature stumbled into my yard and refused to leave? Most importantly, why hadn’t anyone claimed her? She was so affectionate – someone had to be missing her!
So I went ahead with the surgery to save it. I went home and I recall changing a loud of laundry when the vet called and said it couldn’t be saved. I cried so hard. It seemed like the worst thing to say to someone about their pet aside from the more serious conditions like cancer and death. How could a kitten survive that? How could she live with just three legs? It seemed so cruel. Was I taking my own feelings into consideration first?
I remember making the two hour trip to pick her up, dreading the moment we’d meet face to face again. What would I find? The vet tech who kept me updated every day on her condition told me that the entire vet staff had fallen in love and wanted to keep her. She told me how the 4 pound little creature was playing with toy mice just hours after surgery.
They’re just trying to get my hopes up.
It couldn’t be the truth. I felt that I would see her and feel that I had made the wrong choice. I would realize the terrible life I had set her up for by choosing to amputate or rather having the choice forced on me. If only her leg could’ve been saved! She’d never be a normal cat. She’d never be able to play or run or do cat things. How would she climb? How would she live? Would she blame me?
The vet tech assured me that no she wouldn’t. If she was to blame anyone, she’d blame the doctors there that had cut it off, but she chose to lay in their laps during meetings and things instead. She chose to play and love.
They told me about the medicines and the postop care. Then, they brought her to me in her carrier and she sat up and looked at me. I put my fingers against the door of her carrier, expecting her to hiss or snap at me for the betrayal. She rubbed up against the bars and let out the tiniest little mew that said “Hello! Where have you been?” I pet her through the bars and I think she might have even purred before plopping back down with her body against the bars – as close to me as could be.
A wave of relief passed through me. She didn’t blame me.
And so we began the journey to recovery.
She surprised me every step of the way. From climbing onto her cardboard box, to playing with her toys, to running across the room faster than I could sit down in a chair. My mom was equally shocked. Neither of us ever expected such a recovery. If anything, she was faster and better than before. That broken leg was no longer in the way. It no longer stopped her or dragged her down. Her recovery from amputation was far faster than that of a repaired leg. She was able to play sooner and expend that kitten energy.
But most of all, she chose to lay in my lap and sleep. It was her preferred place to be. To this day, it still is.
She still zooms around the place when she gets energetic and needs to expend some energy. She climbs up her cat tower with ease to look out at the birds and insects, her tail flicking gently as she no doubt plans how she would attack them if they gave her the chance. She uses her cat scratchers and cat tunnels. She climbs in boxes and takes naps on the couch or my bed. Every day I came home, she greets me with her special meow – one she only gives me that I know means “Hello! I’m so happy you’re here!” before plopping down on the ground for a good petting.
When the alarm goes off she comes running over for her morning cuddles and purrs happily. She plays with her toys and honestly, the fact that she only has three legs doesn’t get in the way or slow her down. We’ve made a few adjustments for it – namely in pillows and boxes for step downs and a larger litter box.
What seemed like a death sentence then was really a chance at life. As I look back, I know a great part of it was because of this forum – this site that showed me that life hopping on three legs can be just as beautiful and full as a life on four. For everyone who helped us with that in those first few months in 2014 and beyond, THANK YOU. Your support has meant the world to us, and I don’t know that I’ve ever taken the chance to thank you all.
Here’s hoping I can start posting more regularly here. I’ve missed connecting with so many of you, and I see there are so many more we haven’t met yet. Hope everyone is doing well!
To remove ads from your site and others, upgrade to a Tripawds Supporter blog!