Trapping and Caring for a Colony Cat After Leg Amputation

Kitty Farrell is a TNR’d feral colony cat from the Sprockets Colony who showed up in her caretaker’s yard with her leg dragging behind her the other week. You could see the bone sticking out of her leg. Kitty Farrell's injured leg The caretakers decided to use a drop trap ingeniously made out of a larger cage that they would also use for her recovery.

Drop trap The drop trap went over their cat feeding station, and they drew a chalk line where it would fall. It was easier to see the chalk line from where they were hiding and waiting for the cat. Once Kitty Farrell was well within the chalk line, they pulled the string so that the trap would fall around her, not on her. I love that detail – I never thought about a chalk line before!

They waited and watched from their kitchen window for three hours before they were able to trap Kitty Farrell.

Drop trap view

Once Kitty Farrell was trapped, they took her to the vet. Her back leg had an open compound fracture, nerve damage and muscle contracture. They determined the break was clean, as if something very heavy fell on her very fast. At least it did not look like foul play, just a freak accident of some sort. The vet recommended either amputation or euthanasia. The caretaker decided to have the leg amputated because Kitty is a healthy cat besides her injury, and they are bonded. There is a chance that Kitty can stay permanently inside if it works out.

Kitty is now recovering post-surgery in her recovery cage, with food, litter, bed, and a box to snuggle in.  Kitty in her recovery cage

I had the pleasure of visiting her for the first time yesterday. The stitches on her back leg are hard to look at, but they are clean and the surgery was successful. Kitty's stitches Kitty mostly hung out in her carrier. It is hard to see but she is here with an inflatable protective collar on to prevent her from taking out her stitches.

Kitty with balloon collar She will need to recover for at least a week before the stitches can come out, and may need additional care after that. Amputation sounds drastic, and of course it is a major surgery, but it has become more and more common and cats can adapt to living with three legs.

I have never recovered a colony cat like this myself and I have learned so much by meeting Kitty and her caretaker. Kitty Farrell is lucky to be a TNR’d colony cat with a caretaker who is willing to do whatever it takes for her to live out her life. I am so happy to have met them and share their story.

Please keep your fingers crossed for a full recovery and that Kitty can soon be a healthy tripod cat! 


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