Thursday, November 26, 2009

Three Legged Cat

I gotta talk about my three legged cat, Charlie. I made a post about him before but I know more about him now so would like to talk a bit more. He used to live with my mother but she died recently. I did not plan to take him in, actually, but when I went to my Mum's house to collect a few mementos I saw Charlie. I realised that he had been alone for a while already because my Mum had been in hospital for two weeks or more before she died and it was week after that. A person had been feeding him but he must have been well confused by that time.

Totally on the spur of the moment I felt a need to take him home. And I knew it would be a big problem because:
  1. I live with an old female cat already
  2. I feed and care for a stray boy cat as well. He comes in regularly and likes (liked!) to stay.
  3. I live in a smallish flat but it is on the ground floor (I think we are going to have to move!)
Anyway we grabbed Charlie and stuffed him (literally) into a cat carrier that was lying around. My mother had always got the vet to come out to her place to treat Charlie because he hated travel so much and here I was preparing to take him 25 miles on congested motorways in rush hour. He went to the toilet on the way! Say no more. He was no doubt terrified and confused. But a good life awaited him.

Here is is. He is acting at being sinister:

You can see the above and lots more on this page: I deliberately made him look sinister by jazzing up the video and with the music. Because he is a three legged cat he has had to hop forward which has exercised his back tremendously. His lower back is so strong that he can sit up as he does in the video with ease and for long periods, prairie dog style - really cute. He does this when he is about to be fed.

Untitled from Michael Broad on Vimeo.

Well I always say a cat takes about 6 months to settle in at a new place but Charlie has done it in three weeks. My Mum used to feed him human food as treats but it became almost a full diet (naughty mother). He was overweight and actually pretty heavy as he is a big cat anyway.

Although he can jump up normally he has extreme difficulty jumping down as he cannot take the weight on one leg. Although, he has adapted his jumping down technique so that he lands more on his hind feet. He does tend to collapse on to his chest, though. Anyway, he has thankfully lost a bit of weight eating normal decent quality cat food. In fact he likes pretty ordinary cat food. He is not fussy at all. He can now jump off the bed gingerly without collapsing onto his chest.

The best thing about Charlie is his voice. He has a charming range of words! (vocalisations in scientific parlance). And he likes a conversation from time to time.

One problem is that he was not as far as I can tell litter trained as my mother had an outdoor cat enclosure where he went to the toilet. This presented problems for me - yes of course. He now goes outside for a walk and the toilet. This makes me nervous and I am thinking of moving to build a cat enclosure etc. Who said cats run the house? I realise I could litter train him as an alternative.

three legged cat Charlie looking sinister
Charlie looking a bit sinister.

Another worrying thing is my darling old girl cat who is cheesed off by his presence. She hisses at him but I think and hope that this will pass in time.

My bed is messed up with mud as he comes in direct from the damp conditions outside and jumps on the bed. We will have to set up some systems to deal with that. And in going outside he tends to pick up the odd flea so my work is cut out giving him regular deflea combing sessions which he adores. My girl cat does not like to be flea combed. This is because she has a dense double coat (she has some NFC in her) while Charlie has a very easy to comb single coat. He appears, though to be allergic, to a certain degree, to fleas because he is scratching himself all the time unless I have got the blasted things and slaughtered them. His skin under the fur feels a bit rough (scared in places) because of this but he looks to not be in discomfort.

Charlie also had ringworm when I picked him up. I treated it with Thrush cream for humans and he is on the mend and very grateful. The ringworm was on his tail and the hair had been groomed away by him as it itched.

OK that is my three legged cat, Charlie. He can move like a bat out of hell when he wants to and he has a surplus of testosterone despite being neutered. Three legged cats cope well but it does impact their lives. For example, he eats lying down as it is too tiring to place pressure on a single front leg while eating. See pic:

three legged cat Charlie eating while lying down

One last point. His entire front right leg is missing. I think he damaged it in a car accident. My Mum adopted him from a local RSPCA centre in Hertforshire near South Mimms.

Three Legged Cat to Pictures of Cats

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