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Mausi's journey

The chronicle of a kitten's journey from four legs to three and everything a foster failure mama has learned along the way.

My first foster (and Tripawd) baby

Filed under: Uncategorized — hlaney at 2:24 am on Sunday, August 5, 2018

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Hi Everyone! I’m Hannah and I’m new to the Tripawd website. I joined because I am currently fostering a kitten from my local animal shelter that has recently had her right arm amputated. I wanted to share my experience as a foster mama (and soon-to-be foster failure!), and also my experience of caring for a three-legged cat. I have learned some valuable information from my shelter along the way, and I am still in the process of learning how to best support the newest addition to my cat family.

I began fostering my kitten on July 3. I am a substitute teacher (I’m off in the summer months), so I had the time to devote to being a foster parent for my local animal shelter. The shelters in my area are currently at a high capacity, so they were seeking out foster parents to help reduce overcrowding. I was looking for a kitten to foster, as I have two adult cats of my own already and I figured they may be better off having a kitten coming into the home rather than an adult cat. I ended up getting “Noodle” (her first, unofficial name), a 5-week old gray tabby. The shelter informed me that she was found on the side of the road prior to being brought into the shelter and that her right arm was totally limp. They predicted that the arm would need to be amputated in the future. I felt badly about this, but you could see plainly that her arm was immobile and it did not appear that she had any feeling in it.

Upon bringing my kitten home, we quarantined her in my downstairs bathroom. The shelter recommended keeping her away from my adult cats for approximately 10-14 days, just in case she had picked up something from being at the shelter. My husband and I decided to officially name her Mausi, (German for “Little Mouse”), since her tiny cries sounded just like a small squeaking mouse. In the days that followed she became more accustomed to her surroundings and developed a good appetite that helped her to gain some weight. She was very playful and enjoyed her various toys (i.e. stuffed animals, feathers, balls, etc.) I was surprised to see that she was more than capable of getting around on three paws. Nothing slowed her down! In no time, she was climbing up our flight of stairs and running around the living room at full speed. She would enthusiastically bat at a mouse on a string, balancing on her back legs. Of course she would sometimes lose her balance, but this did not discourage her in the least. Her immobile arm still simply hung there; occasionally she would bite it as if she thought it was another toy. At other times, it looked almost like the arm was gaining strength because it appeared that she was moving it. However, I think now that it was just her overcompensating with other side of her body, and that this made it appear that the limp arm was actually moving.

After a couple check-ups and slow introductions to the “Big Girls” (my two adult cats), Mausi had gained  enough weight to get her spay surgery at the shelter. The shelter staff informed me that they would likely also remove the arm. They assured me that because of her age she should have an easier time healing. So I dropped my baby off last Wednesday, and by the end of the day she was officially a three-legged kitty. I have volunteered in the spay/neuter section of the shelter before, so I knew that the shelter veterinary staff would take great care of her. I went to pick her up on Thursday with my family, and they told me that they would like me to foster her for one more week (just to make sure that there are not any complications from the surgery). Mausi has stitches and staples where her right arm used to be, and the veterinary staff gave her a dose of pain medicine and antibiotics that they informed me would slow release over a three day period.

We bought Mausi home and put her back in her original (bath)room, much to her displeasure. We didn’t want her running around too much and a smaller space would give her time to settle down and recover, at least for a day. I’m pleased to say she now has the full run of the house; however she has been taking frequent naps in between (gentle) play sessions. She has definitely began her process of adapting to the lack of a right arm. It seemed like she was slightly off balance at first (I hypothesized that the arm provided at least some weight to balance her out on her right side). She has been working on her core strength during her play sessions. It has been wonderful to see her “make it work.” It she falls, she gets right back up and keeps on playing. I have a feeling that my Tripawd baby will teach me many lessons in years to come……

This coming Wednesday, my husband and I are planning on signing the adoption papers to officially make Mausi ours. My husband jokes with me and says that he knew that I wouldn’t let her go back to the shelter. I must admit from the moment I saw in her carrier, I knew I couldn’t give my special girl up. I will definitely continue to update the blog to share Mausi’s progress. I’ve also included some pre-surgery and post-surgery photos so you can admire her cuteness! đŸ™‚ Thank you taking the time to read about her journey!

– Hannah

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