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Tia the Tripod Cat

Aug 07


Good Morning!

I am glad to report that Tia slept on the bed with me all night and NO panic attacks!   I suspect that her being more mobile last night may have helped – she seems to get better at walking around every day.

This morning I was awoken to cone head butts and her normal purring -please-feed-me-self.    It’s nice to see things start getting back to normal.

Last night we finished the first pain medicine and this morning, we started the Gabapentin.   It’s turning Tia in a nice sleepy kitty, so I expect this is how the day will go.


She doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort so hopefully today will be a regular lazy Sunday.

Aug 07

We had a rough night after day 2.    My husband got home and took her collar off to give her some freedom.    At some point she panicked and barreled through the pillow barrier under the bed.    I got home and she was not to be coaxed out, so we went to bed.    Around 2:30AM or so, she hopped up onto the bed and I snapped the collar back on.   We cuddled up and went to sleep for a few hours.     She then woke up in a panic and was trying to get the collar off and stand up.    She jumped off the bed and had several more panic attacks thru the night until she got the collar off completely.   Sigh.

I got up at 6 and fed her as well as gave her the morning pain medicine dose.   Good news is that her appetite is back!   And today is a new day.

I put the suit back on her today with much more success.   She reacted with the classic “freeze and flop” that happens with a Thundershirt on a cat.     She was much calmer, but not very mobile, so it’s still a mixed bag.    The suit is a little small, too, so I ordered a larger size.

Tia in her suit

Tia wearing her recovery suit (or her kitty yoga pants as my husband likes to say)

She curled up and slept, so we took the opportunity to run a few errands.    Came home and she had moved to a different bed, but still wasn’t walking well in the suit.   Probably something she will have to get used to over time.   I decide to take it off her for the day and do more time later.


Now for a big step: introducing our alpha cat to her.   Her sister, Sia, is the alpha cat of our three cat household.   She is the one who must be obeyed, and the most likely to be aggressive to Tia after the surgery.   We bring her in, and the expected hisses and growls ensue.   No overt physical aggression though, which is good.    I get some group treats out in one of our puzzle toys and everyone digs in.   Tia head butts and rubs on Sia, much to Sia’s dismay and histrionics ensue.   Sia gets kicked out, and everyone calms back down.

With the suit off, Tia is instantly more mobile and up and around.   I get a toy out and we do some light play, which she really enjoys.   Probably also good for her balance learning.   She does very well playing and seems pretty chipper.


Tia playing with a fishing toy


Its time for dinner and I want to get Tia out into the main house, so I put Sia away and open the bedroom door to go make the cat food bowls.    This is part of our old routine and sure enough I soon have Tia rubbing my ankles in the kitchen. Yay!   She scarfs down dinner and decides to hang out in the living room for a while.


She seems to be not overly washing her stitches, so I am going to back off of being hyper about a cone or the suit for a while.  She seems best without either, so   I will just monitor it and make sure she isn’t getting too vigorous.


The day ended well with Tia in her favorite spot: on my lap in the recliner.  She even hopped up herself.


Aug 06

We had dropped Tia off at the vet on Wednesday for her surgery.  The vet called in the afternoon to let us know she had done fine, and they were going to keep her for 1 to 2 days.     The next morning, the vet called again and said Tia had done fine overnight, but that she was very frightened and could we come pick her up early?    Luckily I am working night shift right now, so I headed to the vets office to collect our new tripod kitty, or as we are calling her:  Tiapod.

I get to the vet’s office and she comes out and explains she would normally like to keep Tia longer, but she is so stressed in the kennel in the back, that it would be better for her to go home early.    Instructions are given for pain medication followed in three days by a nerve pain medication.    Then the big moment – they bring Tia out.    I steel myself, but Tia comes out and is laying on her surgery site, so not too bad.   The vet looks at her and laughs and says the pain medicine must be working well.    While they are getting my account ready to pay out, I open the cage and say hello to Tia.   She is glad to see me and works her way to flipping over to her other side.    First sight of the surgery wound – not that bad, actually.    The stitches were neat, and there was some bruising, but not too scary at all.

I take her home and let her out of her carrier into the prepared master bedroom.  She immediately runs/hops/crawls under the bed (oops, forgot to block that off) and hides.    She hasn’t eaten for the day yet, so I walk out to the kitchen and prepare her some canned cat food.   I come around the corner to bring it to her, and who do I find?  Tia!  She has crawled out from under the bed and hobbled down the hall for the prospect of food.     I am impressed – I didn’t think she would be mobile so fast.

tia 1 day post op

Here she is one day post-operation.


I let her eat – and she happily eats the whole portion then drinks some water.   Awesome!    I then attempt to put a veterinary surgical recovery suit I had bought on her to try and eliminate the cone of shame since that is so stressful for her.   I get the shirt part on, but without the leg, the pants part won’t go on straight.  In the (mild) struggle with the pants, Tia loses the bandage on her IV paw and now she is bleeding.    Pet parent fail for the day, sigh.    I give up on the suit and take it back off her.    I re-apply the gauze and medical wrap over the IV wound and snap an e-collar on.     Oh well.

Tia hobbles over to one of the many cat beds in the room and lies down.   But now every time I come in the room, she is sure I am taking her BACK to that horrible place (the vet) and hobbles under the bed.    I leave her be for a few hours hoping she will calm down and come out.

I check on her a few hours later and she is still under the bed.   Its now pain medicine time, so I have to half coax/half scruff her to get her out from under the bed.    Pet parent fail again.    I give her the pain medicine (liquid, tastes very bad, apparently) and put her on my lap for some petting time.    She immediately starts purring and relaxes into my lap – nice!    I am even able to ice her wound for 10 minutes per the vet instructions.    I then place her in a bed and she settles down a bit.

I have to head to work, so the night shift is covered by my husband.   He came home and she immediately hobbled under the bed again.   STILL convinced we are taking her back to the vet.    Sigh.  He got her to come out for a little bit, and felt sorry for her and took her cone off.    She rubbed his hand, then said “sucker!” and ran under the bed without the collar.     (She will not leave surgical wounds alone unfortunately, she has to have the collar or something)

She stays under the bed all evening, but he is able to coax her out once for her evening pain medicine.    Then straight back under she goes (still without the collar).    I get home and half coax/half scruff her back out and we get the collar back on.   Whew.    I put her on the bed with me and she happily snuggles and goes to sleep next to me.    Sometime during the night, she got up and hopped off the bed and used the box (yay!) and ate dinner, which she hadn’t touched.



I get up late the next morning and she is back under the bed.      She has a bit of a panic attack under the bed where she tried to pull the collar off and then went into “crocodile rolls” trying to gain her footing.   Coax/scruff her out, but can tell she is hurting today and overdue for her pain medicine.   I have GOT to fix the under bed access today.

I put her next to me in the bed and she sleeps a little bit.   When she falls asleep, she starts getting numerous twitches/muscle spasms all along her body.   Way more than “normal” cat dreaming.   Anytime she wakes up, it turns into a panic attack where she tries to pull the collar off and does more crocodile rolls.    Its hard.    I take the collar off, but that doesn’t seem to help – she appears to be reacting to the loss of the leg mobility or something in addition to the collar.    Collar goes back on and I keep an eye on her.    The pain meds eventually kick in and she starts purring and seems to be more relaxed.    She eats a few bites of breakfast, but not much.    Can’t win them all, I suppose.

She lays down in the corner of the room (NOT under the bed) and I take the opportunity to block off the under bed area with some scrap wood, pillows, etc.    Sigh of relief.   No more trying to get her out from under there.

She settles down on the heated cat bed we got for her and sleeps.   She still gets panicky and does crocodile rolls when she wakes up, so I try my best to not disturb her.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day….


Aug 06

The Backstory….

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Tia Cookies


This photogenic sweetheart is our Egyptian Mau named Tia.     We got her and her sister, Sia, from a local breeder as kittens 6 years ago.   Tia is a snuggle bucket and loves to sit in laps, or snuggle under covers, LOL.    I do stock photography on the side, and these two kitties have been very fun to photograph.   Tia has actually been featured on an IAMs ad I found in Target once!

Tia’s tripawd journey begins about 1 year ago.   We noticed she was occasionally favoring her left hind leg.   Took her to the vet several times, but she didn’t exhibit the lameness in the office, and wasn’t tender anywhere, so it was always assumed to be some sort of strain.    The limping eventually became more pronounced which led to an x-ray.    The vet came back and said it was a bone tumor.   The first option he gave us was amputation, or we could biopsy it to see if it was cancerous.    Yikes, that was a crazy day!    We immediately rejected amputation, and proceeded with the biopsy surgery.    Luckily, the tumor was not cancerous, but amputation was still given as our only real option for treatment.

We hesitated to make such a big decision and waited about 6 months to see how she would do.    The limp progressed, so during an annual checkup I requested new X-rays.    The tumor had grown significantly in the 6 months, so now we knew the right answer:  amputate the leg.

So we dropped her off at the vet August 3rd for the big surgery.