Cat amputation: all you need to know

Sometimes a cat amputation is an unavoidable choice for the vet. What if it doesn’t? What you need to know.

We know that cats often get into trouble and can be seriously injured. The vet may be forced to amputate a part of the body of our cat to save his life. However, it is necessary to know the cases in which it is really inevitable and the cases in which it is even against the law.

Amputations allowed

Any medical practice performed by a veterinarian that is carried out with the aim of saving the life of our cat is allowed.

Invasive surgeries, such as amputations, are considered when any other therapy has failed or was not enough to bring our pet to complete recovery.

There are various cases that lead to having to amputate the cat.

Accidental trauma

By its nature, the cat is a hunter and explorer, we find it climbing in the most unthinkable places and sometimes it happens that it can be seriously injured.

The veterinarian will evaluate his clinical condition by carrying out the necessary checks, but for example he could tell us that our cat’s paw cannot be saved.

Injuries or fractures to the joints, the tail, the ears can also occur following investments or due to violent behaviour of other animals or humans (think of how many animals are injured by bullets).

Complications of other diseases

Our cat can suffer from pathologies that have as consequences the triggering of dangerous infections which, if they degenerate, can cause the amputation of the part of the affected organ:

  • diabetes in cats and severe increased uric acid;
  • diseases that cause the narrowing of the caliber of the blood vessels in the limbs, up to the point of obstructing them: the blood is no longer able to circulate, the tissues no longer reach oxygen and they die. You can get gangrene and, to save the life of the cat from a septicemia, you choose to amputate it;
  • superinfections : when there is already a wound in progress but it is not treated well, there is a risk that other germs or bacteria multiply inside it. In this way an infection is generated on another infection and, if the bacterium that comes later was one of the Clostrium family , there would be a risk of necrosis of the muscle tissues. In this case, amputation is the last possible way.


As with us, even in our pets it can happen that a cell in the body goes crazy and continues to replicate itself indefinitely, generating tumors.

For genetic factors or causes that are still unclear, some mainly affect cats:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma in cats : it all starts with a dermatitis caused by excessive sensitivity to the sun’s rays, especially in light-haired cats;
  • Bone tumors : osteosarcoma is frequent; in these cases, if the tumor affected only the scapula, the limb could be saved by removing only the scapula itself;
  • Intraocular tumors : they can affect the eye internally or externally and can lead to the loss of one or both of them;
  • Tumors affecting muscle and / or cartilage tissues : such as fibrosarcoma or, in rarer cases, carcinoid tumor.

Amputations not allowed

Unfortunately, sometimes the barbarism of those who relate to a cat far exceeds its wickedness. Thus, in some areas of the world, there are still those who amputate parts of the cat’s body out of pure personal satisfaction, without asking the question of whether the cat is better or worse.

In the USA, for example, the practice of removing the nails of cats to prevent them from using them and causing harm to the owner is not prohibited everywhere.

Deungulation for cats

To understand what it is, we say that it is as if we removed all our fingers and nails. For the cat, the claw is very important because its function is not limited to being just “a nail”.

Cats move by shifting their body weight to the fingers and not the whole paw (digitigrade). They have their own natural balance and using their claws is to explore the world, scratch to mark the territory, interact with other animals and proudly show their predatory instincts.

The consequences, needless to say, are many:

  • Physical consequences : possible wound infections (it is a real surgery), necrosis of the infected tissue, damage to the nerves and muscles of the legs, widespread and disabling pain, inability to walk normally, haemorrhages.
  • Psychological consequences : the cat no longer behaves like a cat because it will no longer be able to do so. Depriving him of his identity is tantamount to killing him. How would we react if we woke up from the anesthesia without fingers and toes? For the cat it is the same and will therefore be aggressive, restless, go mad with pain and will no longer use the litter box or, feeling defeated, will also stop reacting and try to live as hidden as possible.

Useful tips

The amputation of our cat, as well as an eventual amputation of the dog, will be the last thing that the vet will come to do to treat him. It is advisable that we take better care of your health both as a rule and after any intervention.

We can:

  • to avoid that our Kitty gets hurt in the house: if, for example, we know that it is very lively and naughty we could cover the radiator to prevent it from getting stuck with its paw inside;
  • if we have a light-haired cat it is good to use sunscreen for animals to apply on the nose, ears and eyelids;
  • always bring our cat to the vet’s check and always follow his advice;
  • adapt to his new needs after the amputation : he will certainly have to follow a drug therapy and it will also depend on us if, for example, the antibiotics for the cat will be effective against any infections due to the surgery;
  • provide for its proper nutrition.

Just behave with our Kitty as we would do for us and allow it to do the cat.

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