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Advice about caging a cat to aid ligament healing

(18 Posts)
JillyJosie2 Thu 14-Oct-21 09:46:16

I do feel depressed about this and feel the obvious answer is dreadful. However, the situation is that our lively, jumping, Maine Coon cross male cat, aged about 4 (former rescue) disappeared for 36 hours a month ago and returned traumatised and injured. The vet thought a traffic accident and the main injury was what was called subluxation of his paws. It's a ligament injury which means he has an awful limp and we are supposed to keep him caged.
We did for a week or two and then DH and myself just cannot bear it because the cat hates it and tries desperately to escape. We have been letting him out in the house and outside though he only goes on the patio and does seem to take care of himself. However, the vet is annoyed/upset at the lack of progress and that we were letting him out and now wants us to see a consultant with a probable result that surgery will be recommended. More time in a cage!!
I feel pushed to the edge by this. Our life is quite stressed, DH and myself live a busy life and don't often have people to the house. Our adult children live some way away, we don't have grandchildren. We feel this is condemning the cat to worse than solitary confinement and he's a clever cat as well as being noisy. The original instruction was 6-8 weeks of confinement, presumably surgery will be more of the same. It feels like imposing torture on a lively cat. I would appreciate any thoughts. I am seriously depressed at the thought of how we might deal with this, DH tends to have his head in his computer etc so I know it will be me who will end up being the main carer. What to do? Thanks in advance.

Blondiescot Thu 14-Oct-21 09:51:59

Some years ago, we were 'adopted' by a cat which had been abandoned by a neighbour and subsequently hit by a car, leading to a broken pelvis. We had no option but to confine him to a cage for around the same period of time and unfortunately, it was something we just had to get on with, despite his protests. I won't pretend it was easy, but we knew it was for his own good, and he went on to live a long and happy life for many years afterwards. You just have to harden your heart and know that it's what best for him in the long run.

shysal Thu 14-Oct-21 10:16:43

Some years ago it was suggested that I cage my Bengal cat who injured a ligament on the ice. Anyone who knows a Bengal will be aware that they are somewhat spirited! She went mad in the cage and was in danger of doing far more damage! I decided to let her loose in the house where she was calm most of the time, although I did take a photo of her on top of the wardrobe with her bandaged leg hanging over the edge!
Only you know your own animal and will make the correct decision for you. I hope he soon makes a good recovery.

sodapop Thu 14-Oct-21 13:13:11

It's difficult when you can't explain to your cat why this has to happen. However if you want to do what is best for your pet then you need to harden your heart and think about the long term result. We have to take decisions in the best interests of our pets, short term pain for long term gain I think. Good luck JillyJosie

Aveline Thu 14-Oct-21 13:16:28

Can you confine him to just one room?

chocolatepudding Thu 14-Oct-21 13:27:21

I have no experience of caring for an injured cat but I used a Feliway diffuser to calm both my cats for several years as they did not like each other. Would this possibly calm your cat as he is confined to a cage?

Jillyjosie Thu 14-Oct-21 13:48:55

Thank you for the suggestions, this cat gets frantic. The clever breeds are different to moggies. I'm wondering if they'll let us have tranquillisers for a bit. I might share them! I am seriously worried which is why I posted but thanks for replying.

Jillyjosie Thu 14-Oct-21 13:52:10

P. S I already use a Feliway, he is very sensitive also just so clever and wilful. When he came to us from the rescue centre, he'd lost all his hair from stress. Getting him in the basket to go to the vet is a major exercise for the two of us and if he spots the basket, he's gone like a flash. Goodness knows what has happened to him in his life, it's actually sad.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 14-Oct-21 14:20:26

I too would find it desperately hard to confine a cat in a cage.

However, if you don't he might well end up unable to use that limb properly.

My mother had a Burmese with a ligament injury due to being hit by a bus wheel. No-one in 1986 suggested confining the cat to let the injury heal, and I don't know it it would have helped. He was never able to lift his right hind paw higher than an inch off the floor and had to get one of my parents to scratch his right ear for him every time it itched for the rest of his life.

Ask the vet whether an old fashioned splint could provide the restricted mobility needed for the ligament to mend.

If not, get a second opinion by all means, but there is little sense in consulting a vet and then not following the treatment suggested.

Scones Thu 14-Oct-21 16:18:22

That sounds like a really stressful situation for you. I don't have a Maine Coon, but I have had to crate a very young and lively cat after an injury and more recently our small dog after leg surgery. They both hated it and we felt so sorry for them.

The cat in particular tried like a demon to escape and would yowl and yowl.

On both occasions we ended up sitting next to the crate trying to keep our pets company and entertained...we are soft!

Anyway, we stuck with it and both animals made a full recovery. When I watch our dear dog pottering around in the park in full health now I am so glad we did what the vet said. This is a short term pain for a long term gain.

Aveline Thu 14-Oct-21 16:24:45

I agree with grandtanteJE65 and Scones. It'll be worth it in the end.
We're lucky that our Maine Coons are very sleepy old boys.

Katie59 Thu 14-Oct-21 19:09:33

Regardless of the vets opinion I would let the cat move around in the house, maybe take him into the garden on a lead, as long as he is not racing or being chased he will heal fast enough.
If the injury hurts him he will rest naturally, just like we do.

Shelflife Thu 14-Oct-21 19:48:01

We have an ordinary moggy - our rescue girl. She is very clever and she too bolts when she sees the cat carrier! The thought of having to cage her for 6 to 8 weeks does not bear thinking about. I would find it very distressing indeed to confine her for such a long time. She would hate it and I would find it very very upsetting. It would be so tempting to allow her out into one room but if the cat jumped into a window sill the damage to her could be catastrophic. There is no easy solution to this but to have courage and conviction and do what your vet tells you. Wonder if it is possible for your lovely cat to have mild sedation for such a long time ? I am sorry you are in this horrendous situation and I don't envy you. Be brave ! and good luck .

Jillyjosie Sat 16-Oct-21 10:58:13

Thank you everyone. It is so hard to ignore his plaintive meows and his puzzlement that we don't understand his clear requests to go out, never mind us locking him in a cage. Cats, such strange animals.
I did wonder if anyone would comment on enrichment which I gather is the modern way. grin. He likes to pretend to catch waving items but that's about it. I bought him a pet fountain because the veterinary nurse suggested that he might play with it and it would keep him hydrated. He took one look and ran away horrified!

shysal Sat 16-Oct-21 14:12:51

My cats ignored their cat fountain too. The Bengal loves her JML Flippity Fish, but playing with one might be too active for your injured cat. The mechanism is noisy and very annoying for humans, but it contains catmint and she sometimes just lies on it after play. My other cat prefers a tied sock stuffed with wadding and dried catmint, and it calms him, so perhaps that is an idea for you.
www.jmldirect.com/flippity-flip-the-cat-toy-that-flips-flops-wiggles-like-a-real-fish

MayBee70 Sat 16-Oct-21 14:17:51

I’ve got an absolutely huge dog crate that a friend of mine rescued from being thrown out. I’ve never used it as my dog has a smaller crate. I didn’t realise they made them so big.

Smileless2012 Sat 16-Oct-21 14:26:03

Yes you can get large crates MayBee. My advice JillyJosie would be to let have freedom when you're there and keep an eye on him but keep him contained when you're out and during the night.

A great suggestion from shysal and you could think about a feliway plug in to keep him calm when he's not allowed out.

Ethelwashere1 Sat 16-Oct-21 19:03:24

My cat was hit by a car breaking her shoulder. I was told to cage her. I kept letting her out to play with her as i was sorry for her. The vet.knew that I had let her out as her leg wasnt getting better. He simly told me that if she wasnt caged her leg would need to be removed. I caged her after that and she lived to be 18 . The owner must make the decision for the cats benefit, its a responsibility we have as owners. Im caging my girl next week as shes being spayed and the other cats may pounce on her. She will hate it but has to be done