Cat Wheelchair

midnightsmum (Z4, ON)February 24, 2011

Hi All! I usually hang out over at the Cottage Garden, but made a foray over here. My 15-year-old cat, Midnight, had developed spinal stenosis in last the several months. For a while he just had a couple of bad hours, but now it seems to be all the time. He is on Metacam every other day, which gets rid of his pain. His appetite is fine, his renal functions are fine (except for the fact that he cannot climb into the litter box, but he is hitting the newspaper I put out for him, and I carry him to the box twice a day). His attitude is strong as ever(he is a very willful beast) - in other words, a perfectly happy cat, except that he cannot use his back legs. He gets around dragging them behind and to the side. I have heard that this eventually can cause sores from the friction. I have been investigating cat wheelchairs, as well. On the Cottage Garden we share quite a bit about experiences with our pets, but this seemed pretty specialized, and I was hoping that some of the pet parents here had experiences they might share. I cannot put him down for this seemingly small problem - he is too much a part of my life.

TIA, Nancy.

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Elly_NJ

I have no such experience, although I have had many sick cats (and have one now!)

You are obviously a loving cat mom! And I'm thinking that a 15 year old cat doesn't do much running and jumping, so maybe pulling a cart behind may be more trouble than benefit?

When you are in the middle of caring for a beloved pet (as you are doing), it is sometimes hard to gauge their quality of life. Maybe someone here can advise about that?

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 7:52AM
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Anne_Marie_Alb

Hi Nancy!!
What a dedicated Mom.. Good for you!
I can't visualize what type of 'wheelchair' would help your cat. Maybe a specialized vet would have some ideas.
We had a cat with one hind leg he could not use anymore (due to a tumor), and yes you are right, friction from dragging will cause abrasions in the long term, especially if you have hardwood floors/tiles I imagine, but even with carpets. My husband had made a few ramps for him to get to his favorite higher spots.. He did get some abrasions on his paw, so, whenever we could, we would wrap it in a special 'sock', but he did not keep it on long.. as you can imagine. Nothing seemed to stop him from roaming...

By the way, be super careful with Metacam.. a very scary drug in my mind. Could you check with your vet or better a holistic vet about safer options??

best of luck and a special hug to your buddy!
Anne-Marie

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 3:48PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Anne-Marie - thanks for your reply. Yes, Metacam is very scary, but I read all of the safety info. and my boy's renal function is fine. It controls his pain completely, without any side effects, thus far. I am not sure what kind of natural or holistic meds could help. I have one other cat on glucosamine and chondroitin, and that is helping some arthritic issues he has. Midnight is currently moving around on a low pile carpet and actually crab-walks with his back legs, so some function there. He cannot climb into the litter box, but can 'haul' himself out. I know what you mean about 'nothing seems to stop him', OK except a couple of steps up. I am attaching a site about pet wheel chairs. They are not completely out of the budget, but not cheap either.

Elly, I have been through the QOL issue. He is 'all there'. His personality has not changed, and he has always been a very strong, independent guy. That's what keeps me from even considering putting him down. Yes, he spent most of his time napping in the sun - the rest in the garden, hunting voles. lol. He emptied mouse traps that still had 'play value' last Fall. Like I said, he hauls himself around with a 'crab-walk' quite well. A cart would make it easier. I'd just like to know what lies ahead, if others have that experience.

Thanks Guys, but I want more. Nancy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pet Wheelchairs

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 12:25AM
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Anne_Marie_Alb

Hi Nancy,
I just looked at some videos of cats on these "carts".. (most were for dogs.. but..). What they don't really show is how easy it is to get them on (will your cat let you do that?) and off, how they sit with this on, and how they manage small obstacles outside (low branches for example).. etc. Obviously they would have to be supervised. I can't help being sceptical (it's my nature). Hopefully someone on the forum with experience with these carts will see your post.

As for metacam, I'm glad you are aware of the high risks. Has your vet ever offered BUPRENEX? pretty conventional, and safer, without going into alternative options.

Well, hope your research will yield some results..
Anne-Marie

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 8:19AM
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Elly_NJ

I wonder if you can get one for "fitting?" If it doesn't fit comfortably, you can return it?

It would be good to know someone who could McGyver one for you. More like a skateboard?

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 8:44PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

All excellent questions, Elly. I do need a 'McGyver'!!!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:05PM
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lisa11310

I was thinking some sort of thin plastic device that is light weight, slippery (like Tefflon SP?)that you could strap on the cat like you would a "doggy coat" or a harness making it easier for the cat to drag around, less friction, easier movement and no heavy wheels to pull. Im thinking about the weight of the thin plastic covers that cottage cheese or sour cream comes in. Go shopping at Lowe's find a material and some velcro and make some prototypes..sell it become rich! :-) Best luck and huggs to Kitty.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 5:35PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

lisa11310 - I found a thread talking about just such a thing, but it sort of petered out 4 years ago. 8( They were talking about the kind of plastic that a cheap kids 'sled' might be made of. I talked at the pet store today about cat diapers. The clerk was of the opinion that they annoyed cats more than they did any good. He's just such a happy guy, doing his thing. He is currently dragging himself over a very low pile carpet. He hauls himself to the bathroom, where the litter box is, and I have put some newspaper down for him, which he always hits. (unfortunately, the floor is sloped) I bought some catnip today and made flying bow-ties for everyone. Very happy cats.
Maybe I can find some plastic at the end-of-winter sales.

Nancy.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 6:28PM
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