Angel’s lameness, update

Well, it turns out that the surgery for Angel’s knee would cost a little over $2000 (Canadian). That’s a tad out of our range. There are some things we can try to make her more comfortable, but ultimately, the only real solution is to stabilize her knee by essentially creating a new artificial ligament. Our options are dwindling. She had a bad reaction to the Metacam – diarrhea, some limited vomiting and decreased appetite – so that has to stop, which means no anti-inflammatory to help with the pain or the swelling.

The office manager is trying to find out whether we can get any help from a place called the Farley Foundation, which is for people on social assistance who have problematic emergency vet bills. So, we’ll see.

Meanwhile, all research has emphasized heavily that, surgery or no, she badly needs to NOT STRAIN THAT LEG. She has steps up to the couch and my bed, which we set up because of her arthritis, but she’s persisting in using them – or even not using them and jumping on and off the couch directly. She wanders all over the apartment, which has hardwood floors that give her minimal traction. Once we actually assessed the situation, well… horrified is maybe not too strong a word. And we’ve been letting this go on, in the belief that she wasn’t in acute pain or at least wouldn’t do anything that would make the pain worse. (I’ve been living with Jackie for almost ten years, I should’ve known better…)

So, we did some serious thinking. We have a largish dog crate here, but while that might work for Freya, it wouldn’t be large enough for Her Floofiness to have litter box, food, water, and a place to lie down. She is, after all, a shade over 19 pounds. That wouldn’t be viable even for a day, let alone the longer period she’ll probably need. Something larger was called for.

So, we vandalized the framework we normally put on the balcony to give the cats a safe enclosure, and we tore apart and rearranged our entire (slightly cluttered) living room, and we made a few small purchases mostly from the local dollar store, and right in the middle of everything where she won’t feel isolated (some cats would want to be alone – trust me, she’d rather be able to see what’s happening), we built her a room of her own. [lots of pics below]

It’s about 4 feet on each side and slightly over 3 feet high, with cheap rubber/foam interlocking tile for a floor so she has traction. You can see her favourite carrier with comfy bedding (I belatedly remembered to drape a blanket over it to make it into a dark cave with a partly curtained entrance) and her favourite fountain along with her wet food. The litter box is a low-sided storage bin that’s large enough to work for her, with rubber no-slip stuff in the bottom under the litter (we’ll see how well that works. Comfy pink and grey blanket to lounge on, and the red is tissue/wrapping paper with some catnip and a fresh catnip pillow as a housewarming present. :-) Two sides are plastic mesh held on with cable ties, stabilized by what used to be the long side of the enclosure now running along the wall and behind the couch (the 1×2’s that make up the frame are pretty battered after several years outside, but they’re still solid enough). The fourth side is the backs of two small low bookcases with a little duct tape support and enhancement, and a cardboard baffle to discourage any bright ideas about jumping onto the carrier and out to freedom.

Trick quite enjoyed “helping”. Angel, because of her still-strong terror of brooms, leftover from whatever she went through before she found us, spent most of the time sleeping quietly on my bed with a bowl of wet food close at paw. Freya and Cory kept her company. Jackie and I are absolutely exhausted, but if this helps at all, it will be oh-so-worth it – if we’re sore tomorrow, well, we’ll still be less sore than she is right now (maybe not in Jackie’s case, but she has pain meds that’ll help).

So, what does she think?


  1. onions and petunias

    Poor Angel! I always wish there was a way to explain to the furr kids that you’re doing this for them, not punishing them! Is there any way to make a brace for the knee — like out of some snug and strong but stretchy elastic-y material — that she could wear most of the day, then you’d take it off periodically to give her a rest? I’m thinking of the kind of stretchy brace you wear for a sprained ankle – I wonder if vets have anything like that for animal knees?

  2. Bravo! You two did a great job on the enclosure! I think she will get used to it eventually. She will still enjoy being in the middle of things. Keep reminding her (and yourselves) this is to help her feel better. I love the “housewarming” gifts! The things we do for our furrbabies, huh? {{{Angel}}}

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