I have mentioned this before the soul purpose for starting this blog was to share Purrkins journey and hopefully help others under the same terrifying circumstances. For whatever the cause of the amputation. It brings tears to my eyes to know Purrkins and his life on three legs have helped other kitties and their humans! All of our stories help another when they are frantically searching for answers and HOPE! I know we read every blog and watched endless video’s to see yes this is doable. We could see Purrkins would still have a quality of life & be able to do all kitty things on three. I KNOW we would not have felt as confident in our decision if we had not found Tripawds and had support!
I HATE that any of us have to be here and HATE we have to meet under these circumstances but so thankful we are here hopping on. We have met so many lovely people all here for the same reason the love for their furry one (Furmily)!
Many people find Purrkins blog and post in desperation for help or have general questions. Some post once and we do not hear back, some post several times, some end up using the forums & as we have learned a lot read and never post.
We are going to do a few posts highlighting a few kitties we had the pleasure of getting to know & see their sweet selves. I wanted them to have a day in the spotlight to share their story because ALL of our Tripawds deserve to be seen and shared. Our heroes on three legs!
Without further ado, this is Mr. Joshua diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his left rear leg at age 10 surgery was 4/27/18 his human slave is Giovanni/Gio:) They live in the United Kingdom.
Special guest post where Gio shares Mr. Johsua’s story, recovery & what has changed for them after the surgery hoping to help others.
Guest post – Written by Giovanni
“So, after watching my cat “Mr Joshua” limp a little on his back left leg, I automatically assumed that he had pulled a muscle and it would get better. A few days passed and it didn’t improve, then a week and so I decided to take him to the vets. There he was given some pain killers (anti inflammatory medication) and we went home.
Another week passed and Mr Joshua seemed to be getting worse, so off we went to the vets again. This time, after an xray, they mentioned that he has bone cancer on his back left leg. Obviously, I was in shock. He was taken for a second opinion at a specialist animal hospital and this time a CT scan which is much more thorough than an xray (and a lot more expensive also I may add) and they confirmed my fears, the poor boy does have bone cancer.
The pain poor Mr Joshua was going through was horrible to watch, so specialist hospital prescribed a drug that is much stronger than morphine. This drug did the trick and he was his old self, though maybe a little spaced out. It was so nice to see him not in pain, purring and enjoying life. This made me so happy to see him being his old happy self, though there was a darker side to this as the longer he was on the morphine, the more the cancer spreads and if the bone formed hairline cracks, the pain would have been unbearable for him.
Unfortunately, all this drug was doing was buying a little more time before the vets would have to perform an operation and completely amputate his back leg.
In the end, I had no choice but to schedule surgery for Mr Joshua to have the leg amputated.
26/04/2018 – Night before surgery.
The mental anguish I was going through was terrible as I knew I had to take him in in the morning. One begins to question themselves, even to the point of if they are a good person for putting their loved pet through such a horrible procedure. You know it is to save their life but at that moment, that doesn’t help or stop the turmoil.
I found that that day, I went pretty quiet. You see your little baby looking at you all happy and playing and you begin to second guess yourself even more. I felt slightly spaced as I felt myself getting stressed, up tight, couldn’t eat, all because of what I was about to put Mr Joshua through the next day.
27/04/2018 – Day of the Operation.
I got up, got ready and put Mr Joshua in his cat carrier. I was practically shaking at what I was about to do. The constant thoughts saying “You can stop this at any moment”, and “Just call it off, buy him some more time, you can do this later, in a few weeks or so”.
I knew that I was doing the right thing to save my little boy, but that thought still didn’t make it any easier and I still felt like a horrible person.
I took him to the vets and after a chat with them, I handed over my little baby and left. I must admit that I felt so many mixed emotions all at once during the day. I was felt completely spaced out, like nothing was real. I also knew that I could just go straight back to the vets and stop this procedure if I wanted and stop them amputating my little babies leg. I also knew that I must not do this and the internal struggle was horrible.
All day I struggled at what I was putting Mr Joshua through. This poor cat who had come to trust me, love me and loved being by my side and now I was putting him through this surgery (amputation) and he would have no idea as to why the person he had come to trust, did this to him.
Oh yes, not only did my mind feel spaced, I had headaches all day at the stress of this and very little was going in when people were talking to me. One tries to pretend like everything is ok as let’s face it, everyone has their own issues to deal with and many a lot worse than mine, but that did not make it any easier. I tried to have a little rest during the day and found the only way that it ever so slightly helped was to have the radio on in the background as trust me, you do not want to be left with your own thoughts at a time like this as they can take you to a dark place, even when I keep telling myself that I am doing it to help Mr Joshua.
27/04/2018 – Day ½ (I know, that sounds strange). Picking up Mr Joshua from the vets.
Some people may think that picking up your cat after such surgery is tough, and it is a little tough, but the hard part was when I got him home and saw my poor boy. I admit that I fell apart a few times (it wouldn’t be normal not to). I had been busy during the day setting up a dog cage with litter tray, food and water, his sleeping basket and other bits in there (it’s a pretty big dog cage), but putting him in there and seeing him struggle, that was tough. I know he is on pain medication and opioids, so he probably still doesn’t know exactly what has happened, but that does not make it any easier for me to deal with.
Ok, I admit that so far this is sounding a little negative, but believe it or not, the point of this diary is for me to share my feelings and what I am going through so that others going through a similar thing can see that they are not alone.
This is as far as I have got so far. Putting him in his temporary cage and seeing him rest up, oh, and writing this.
28/04/2018 – Day 1
Ok, I will admit that this was a tough day. Jo and I were both in the front room (where his cage is) at 3.30am as he was thrashing about in there and seemed in discomfort. We both took it in turns to comfort Mr. Joshua and ended up trying to get a few moments rest whilst in there. We couldn’t leave him in the cage as it was just horrible to watch, so we let him wonder about the front room.
You can see the realization set in as your pet realizes what has happened and they can no longer get about as they once did. I will be honest here and admit that this was a painful heart-wrenching thing to watch.
We stayed with him and then had to get him back into the cat carrier as he had a check-up appointment at 10.15am. You can imagine how difficult it is to get a cat that has just been through this, into a pet carrier, as 1, you don’t want to risk touching the area that is sore, and 2, he is 100% against going into this as the last time he went in, it cost him a limb. Truth is, in his position, we would all be exactly the same so I don’t blame him one bit for putting up resistance.
10.45am – Our appointment was for 10.15am but there was just no way he was getting into that carrier and it took us the best part of 30 minutes to get him in, mainly because we were trying not to stress him out too much and had to be very careful with him. I called the vet in advance and they were understanding.
The vet’s due appointment went well, but I did explain that Mr. Joshua does not use litter trays and has never used one in all the years I have had him, and trying to get him to use one has been impossible. He does have to use it though as there is no way I am letting him go into the garden to poop, mainly because he doesn’t go in our garden anyway and he will be trying to get out and go elsewhere. This is a tough thing so bear with it and keep persisting. I have been told that it is a good idea to get 2 litter trays with different sorts of litter in each so as to give him a choice. My current choice is a non-clumping, non-dust paper pellets cat litter. My reason for choosing this is because I did not want to risk the gritty cat litter from cutting into his wound and making things more uncomfortable for him.
This evening, he did actually try to use the poop tray but no success, I imagine he may be a little bunged up do to the operation, the stress of it all and also the meds he is on. At least he did try.
MAKE SURE that you get your cat to drink water or some form of liquid as it aide’s recovery and keeps them hydrated. Mr Joshua does not want to drink any water since returning so we have managed to give him some lactose-free cream and also some chicken slices that we dipped in water so as to get some more water into him. Strangely, I found it better to use the cheaper chicken slices as they have more of a water content anyway. The more expensive ones have less water content, though obviously, more protein but my main goal for now is to get him to eat and drink, which is easier said than done when your pet has been through such a trauma.
Even though I have a decent sized cage to keep him in, I have decided to let him wonder the house and start building his strength up. Your vet may say otherwise and it is too soon, but in my case, the alternative was that he was so highly stressed in the cage, pulling at the bars, trying to push his head through and just tipping everything over as he tried to get out, I made the decision to let him out as (in my situation anyway) this was not aiding in his recovery one bit, quite the opposite in fact.
By the end of the day, Mr. Joshua had actually gone upstairs a few times and though I had set up some boxes as steps, wrapped the boxes up in towels so that they were soft, he still jumped up onto the bed. I admit that I was shocked/scared/impressed, and probably a little terrified that he had hurt himself. Going up and downstairs a few times and jumping on the bed had completely tired him out. He ended up sleeping on the double bed with Jo and I was confined to the single bed in the spare room!! Of course, I was more than happy to give them both lots of room, and as I am bigger than Jo, I could have accidentally done Mr. Joshua more harm if I rolled or pushed him whilst I sleep.
That said, my sleep was by no means perfect as I have another cat called Mindy and she had decided to come into the spare room and kept jumping onto the bed and kneading into my chest with her front paws. I swear she used to be a pizza chef in a previous life!
04/05/2018 – Day 7
Wow, an entire week has passed by and I haven’t really had time to update this over the last few days, but it is pretty straightforward so I will keep it brief and simple.
The hardest parts are getting enough sleep as it can sometimes be like having a baby constantly wake you up during the night.
The problem is that I suffer from sleep apnoea so I don’t get proper sleep as it is and with the extra wake ups Mr. Joshua puts on me, my sleep pattern is completely ruined. This is my personal thing and hopefully others don’t have to contend with this also.
Everything seems to be healing as planned. The vet told me to keep Mr. Joshua confined and not have him wondering the house… SOME CHANCE OF THAT!
Saturday evening, he was already making his way upstairs and even jumped on the bed. I had tried to make him a step but he was not having any of it. Of course, it completely wore him out as he just collapsed and rested on the bed. Actually, this happened for the first day or so, each time he used the stairs, got to the top and then jumped on the bed, he was exhausted. BUT, the fact is that HE WAS going up the stairs and jumping on the bed which is a positive step forward.
One thing I would suggest to anyone going through this is to change your cats buster collar. The ones the vet gives are those hard’ish (is that even a word) plastic ones that your cat may struggle with when he/she puts her head down to rest. I did some research and found some blue material ones that have plastic within them but are a lot more forgiving when your cat wants to rest. I spoke to the vet about these and they had some in stock. Since changing Mr. Joshua’s buster collar, I can see a much more positive response from him as it is a lot more comfortable. Granted, he is resting more but that isn’t a bad thing as during rest, they heal quicker also, plus resting is easier with the new collar.
I must admit that it is quite stressful for a pet owner to see their cat go through this, and I have actually become tearful on quite a few occasions because of it. You may begin to doubt yourself and question if you did the right thing or not and this gets upsetting. I found that by giving him plenty of love and affection, plus spending as much time as I could with him, there were moments when he was purring again and his old self was coming out on occasion.
Also, if you have some free time, take their collar off and let them have some freedom without it. I am not talking about letting them wonder about the house, just let them sit on the bed or keep them in one room, feed them, pet them and try to play a little (not too rough, mind you) and let them see that things around them anyway, are as normal as possible. Something to bear in mind is that when you do eventually put the buster collar back on them, make sure that they don’t see it as a punishment, speak to your cat nicely and even give him/her a few treats after you have put it back on, and pet them a little.
NOTE: –Taking the collar off can cause you (not the cat) to get pretty anxious because you have to watch them 100% of the time as your cat WILL go for their stitches. This is perfectly understandable as all they want to do is give that area a good scratch, we would do exactly the same in their position. Only keep the buster collar off for as long as YOU can manage otherwise the anxiety will wear you out. Personally, if you can, I would suggest doing this as it gives your kitty a little more normality and I imagine, it helps with the healing process, definitely from a mental perspective 😊
Each Day: – I noticed each day that Mr. Joshua was getting stronger and more vocal as he wants to go outside but obviously I cannot let him. It is great that he is getting stronger and back to his old self, but with this comes the headaches of constant angry meowing as he begs me to go outside. This can become quite a difficult thing to deal with for a pet owner so please be prepared for this and DO NOT get angry. I will admit that due to my sleeping condition and Mr. Joshua doing this, there was the odd moment where I was annoyed as it was happening even as I was eating and it was relentless. I had to walk away and get myself back together mentally.
IMPORTANT:– You do need your own “ME TIME” also otherwise you will be good to nobody, not your cat and especially not to yourself. If you can grab a few moments, even if it means nipping out and getting a coffee somewhere every now and then, then just do it as it will help you recharge also.
VERY IMPORTANT: – I found that with the stress of the operation, the medication and also the fact that Mr. Joshua is mainly an outdoor cat, he has not once used the litter trays provided for him. They have different litter in them so that he can choose which he prefers but he as only ever used it to pee. If you notice this happening and your cat hasn’t been to the toilet for a day or two, you MUST speak to your vet immediately as your pet may be constipated. I called the vets and they suggested a Lactulose Solution to help him go. Bear in mind that your cat needs to be drinking plenty of water to use a lactulose solution.
I took Mr. Joshua to the vets and they tried the enema to make him go but hardly anything happened. They mentioned that he seemed pretty blocked up.
The next day, I took him back to the vets as he still had not used the litter tray. This time I told them that I was leaving him with them and until he had been as I did not want to take him back home, only to come back again the next day. They agreed, so I nipped off for a coffee and within an hour, they called to say that he had been and (to put it politely) he had got rid of a lot and they were very happy, and so was Mr. Joshua 😊, so I picked him back up and took him home.
That was Tuesday – It is now Friday and I must admit that I have not seen him go potty, other than pee. He is drinking plenty of water but (today anyway) seems to have slowed down on his eating again. We are off to the vets again in the morning for another check-up and also, I will get him checked to see if he is still bunged up and if so, they will need to sort this out again.
It could be the medication or the fact that he never uses a litter tray as he has always gone outside.
All the above is very important as you really need to monitor your pets’ toilet habits, because if they are not going, then you need to be on the case and get them to the vets right away.
Re-iterate: –I mentioned above about having your “Me Time”, this is so important, especially if you are looking after your pet on your own. You need your breather time, however you choose to take it. Go into the garden with a hot drink and just chill for 30 minutes or hit a coffee house and chill out there. I can’t stress enough how important this it. Of course, if there are a few of you looking after your cat, then this may not be as important as you can take it in turns and run shifts on having a break.
A Week To The Day:
A week has gone passed and what I can say at this point is;
- Expect to get tearful at times at seeing your loved pet going through this, but keep reminding yourself of the reasons he/she has had this procedure. It may not stop you getting tearful but it will help ease the pain. (It did with me)
- Things get easier and more positive very quickly, especially after the first few days.
- If your pet looks uncomfortable in their plastic buster collar, then consider a softer material one, like “KVP EZ Soft Pet Cloth Recovery Collar”, you can find them on Amazon (or any other site) or your vets may have them.
- Consider purchasing the Feliway calming spray. This actually helped Mr Joshua stay calmer, and truth be told, I didn’t think anything would as he is such a headstrong stubborn cat, but it worked 😊
- Try to give them supervised “no collar” time as it helps them feel like things are a little more normal, and when you do put it back on, pet them and give them a treat or two. Don’t make them feel like it is a punishment, as trust me on this, they will go for their stitches as it must itch them like crazy and it is not their fault.
- Make sure that YOU are also refreshed and grab your breaks when you can as you being 100% is good for both of you.
- Monitor their toilet habits and MAKE SURE that they are using the little tray. If not, get your cat to your vets and let them sort it out. Don’t leave this for a long time as it can be dangerous
Note: – Bear in mind that after you take your cats collar off, it may take them some time before they eat as they will still be a little worked up at having it on for so long. If this is the case, just spend some time loving your cat, talk softly, pet them, play with them GENTLY and let them see that everything is ok, then try to feed them. You may even end up feeding them by hand quite a lot.
Gio – Shares the things that have changed for them after the surgery :
- I have learnt from all this is just how overprotective we become afterwards and how our pets end up running the house.
- He gets tired more quickly and needs to rest a little more
- He has come back with the odd little bruise/cut as I imagine that he may have fallen when on a fence, he is relearning his limitations.. This one is a tough one for any pet owner to witness, though they have to go through this so that they understand. The more times he has been out, the less it has happened.
- I will not let him out at night, though on the odd occasion that I have (he is a feisty little pest at times when he wants to go to the toilet), and even though there is a litter tray in the house, I give him about 25 minutes and then go out to look for him.
- They no longer wander off as far and have a smaller more local area.. On the plus side, easier to track down.
- We as the owners, worry more about him going out, though I know he loves to go out and I can’t take that away from him.
- The thing I noticed is that he sometimes almost slipped into a low state as he sat there and tried to feel sorry for himself. I said “tried” as I made sure to fuss him, play with him, wind him up a little so as to take his mind off things and this seemed to work. Even when I wind him up (tease him) he is still purring so I know it is working as he plays with me…
- When I go out, I make sure that the radio is on with classical music playing in the background. Not sure if that helps but both cats seem ok with it.. What can I say, Mr Joshua likes high-brow music 😉
- One important thing to bear in mind is that he can no longer use his back leg to scratch his neck and by his ear, so when I notice him trying (even though there is no leg), I always spend a little time scratching him under his collar, by his ear and gently against his ear, trying to mimic what he used to do, and he loves that very much.
Mr.Joshua asking for his biscuits!
(Purrkins Mom) How cute is that! OMC! Mr.Joshua you have your humans trained purrfectly:) LOVE IT😻😁
We can all relate to all of Gio’s emotions, thoughts, and concerns. You can clearly read how much Mr. Joshua is adored and cared for.
I believe we have more Osteosarcoma cases out there that we never hear about and not shared. I think it is important for us all to share our stories to give hope to someone else in the same shoes. Mr. Joshua is the same happy kitty minus a limb. He still goes outside even though it scares Gio.
We love seeing Mr. Joshu’s purrsonlity and knowing how well he is doing almost a year later! They will celebrate Mr.Joshua’s one year ampuversary 4/27/19!
Happy Ampuversary Mr.Joshua! Keep kicking C ’s arse!
Thank you Gio & Mr. Joshua for sharing all of this with us! It will indeed help someone else in the future!
Scratches to Mr. Joshua, please!
Next up will be River a tiny kitty who had an injury to his front right leg.
If you have an Osteosarcoma success story yourself, please take a minute to comment below. It would be very much appreciated. We all need hope on this journey.
Thanks, fur reading!