Monday, February 15, 2010


I've been trying for a while to get a good video of Bella in action so that everyone can see how far she's come. Any time she sees a camera pointed at her, however, she stops what she's doing to check it out. I finally managed to get this clip of Bella and her sister Clementine play-fighting, although they do get a little distracted by the camera in the middle. Notice which cat is the aggressor and which one is running out of the room to escape!

Apologies for the clumps of cat fur on the carpet...the daily vacuuming of the rug had not occurred yet at the time of the video!

In other good news, our tax refund was just enough to finish paying off Bella's vet bill! I still can't believe that so many complete strangers helped Bella out with her surgery expenses. Their kindness and generosity has meant so much to us, and I thank everyone who helped from the bottom of my heart!

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's my cat in a box

This box is Bella's new favorite hangout. Unfortunately, 4:00am seems to be her favorite time to play in it and she's been waking us up every night. I don't have the heart to take it away from her, though...I'm just so happy to see her able to jump in and out of it!

You can tell her remaining back leg is getting a lot stronger now. A couple of weeks ago, you couldn't pet her while she was standing up without toppling her over. Now you can give her a good solid head-to-tail pet with no problems at all. It's so nice to see her making progress after she was having such a difficult time last month.

It was almost 70 degrees here yesterday, so we opened up the windows and let the cats enjoy some fresh air. Bella loved it, and there was much neck stretching and sniffing going on. I'm thinking about getting her a Kritter Kondo when the weather gets warmer so that she can hang out in the yard with her brother and sister while I'm working in the garden. She isn't currently showing any interest in going back outside, though, and I'd like to keep it that way. I'm afraid if I give her a taste of the outdoors, she'll be constantly scratching on the door and begging to go out. Maybe I'll start her off slowly with a few trips to the screened-in porch and see how that goes first!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stressing out

I suppose it should be expected for a cat to experience some level of anxiety after a traumatic experience like having her leg snapped in two by a dog. Since her accident, Bella has been exhibiting a number of stress-related behaviors that weren't present pre-amputation.

1. Constant licking Luckily Bella isn't licking herself all the time - she can't afford to lose any more fur than she already has. Instead, she licks Jason and me whenever we are within tongue's reach. If we're petting her, we're getting our hands licked. If we're lying on the bed with her, it's our faces. If we let her, she would probably lick us for hours. This new trait is highly adorable and relatively harmless, so we just let her lick away.

2. Sudden fear/hatred of random objects Objects that Bella has never been afraid of before are suddenly her worst enemies. She went from playing happily with her toy mousies one day to hissing at them and running away from them the next. For a while, she was furious at her brother Neko for no reason. She hissed at a blanket he had been sleeping on long after he had left to go outside. This one is a little more troubling, but we just try to help her avoid the object that is distressing her until she gets over it. Luckily, she seems to like her brother again now. The jury is still out on the mousies.

3. Shoe anxiety Bella pays special attention to our shoes now. If we're wearing shoes in the house, she won't take her eyes off them when we're walking. She really freaks out if one of us changes into a different pair of shoes during the course of the day. She'll keep looking back and forth between shoes and face until she's established that we're the same person who was wearing other shoes earlier. We've been trying to wear shoes as little as possible while we're inside.

4. Loud noises Big trucks, noisy kids walking down the street, and of course dogs barking. Not only does she jump when she hears them, her pupils dilate to the size of saucers. We just give her lots of extra pets and tell her she's safe.

We're getting off relatively easy - other symptoms of anxiety in cats include refusal to use the litter box, aggression and depression. As a former feral kitten, Bella has always been pretty wary of any people besides Jason and me. We haven't had any company over to the house since Bella's accident so that we could keep her stress to a minimum. We can't keep that up forever, though, so I think it's about time to start having some of our quieter friends over to hang out with us. I hope she can adapt to some other people so that we aren't the only ones who get to see what a sweet, loving cat she is!

Bella during a stress-free moment...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's Oh So Quiet

Things have been blissfully quiet on the cat front lately. Everyone is getting along, and Bella has been doing much better with her walking. She still walks backwards sometimes and has to do the "stop, drop and roll" routine, but she doesn't get frustrated and upset about it.

I was so excited this week when I saw Bella and her big brother Fluffy cuddling together on the back of the sofa. Then yesterday I was taking a nap and woke to find the two of them curled up together in a recliner.

It looks like Bella is being completely crushed here, but her back half is really a lot smaller with only one leg! She also looks incredibly tiny here, and she actually is a rather small cat. When they weighed her right before her surgery she was at nine pounds, but you would never know it from looking at her. I suppose that would make about 8 pounds post-amputation! Her brother, on the other hand, is a rather large cat. He was a shelter rescue so I don't know his history, but I think he is a least part Maine Coon.

Here she is chilling with her (much) bigger sister Ivy. You get a good look at how well her scar has healed in this one.

Finally, Bella and I would like to welcome Diesel at Life on Three Legs to the league of three-legged cats. Hang in there Diesel - you're going to be just fine.

Monday, January 11, 2010


It is so nice to see Bella happy and playing again. Here, she is shredding her Dad's dentist bill and treatment plan all over the living room floor. He didn't want to get those cavities filled anyways! Her adopted brother Fluffy (who is 17, blind in one eye, and completely deaf) tried to get in on the fun, but he was given numerous paw thwacks to the head for his trouble.

He was not amused.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Bella is finally making some real progress with her mobility. She's back to her old self now - roaming the house, jumping in her Dad's lap, and playing with her toys. She still walks backwards some of the time, but it doesn't frustrate her like it used to. When she starts going in reverse she stops, drops to the floor, and rolls over. That seems to reboot her and send her off in the right direction.

I can't pinpoint anything specific we did that helped her improve. Like other people online suggested, we just had to wait until she adjusted and figured things out.

This picture was taken today after she jumped in Jason's lap while he was eating a reuben, bullied him into giving her a bite of pastrami, and curled up for a nap in a sunbeam.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The very large vet bill

Bella's vet bill

Ever wanted to know what a vet bill for $2200 looks like? This covered Bella's x-rays, amputation surgery, plus stitches and care for the bite wounds she received on her abdomen and back. She spent four days in the hospital after her surgery, and received IV fluids, antibiotics, and pain meds during that time. The bill also includes a second round of bloodwork when her fever wouldn't go down, and the meds she took after she came home. Amazing how quickly things can add up, isn't it? Granted, we did take her to the expensive (but very, very good) vet that we can't normally afford to go to. We knew when we found Bella that day that it was a life-or-death situation, so we didn't want to take her to the somewhat low-rent vet in our neighborhood that we use for vaccinations and less serious problems.

I wanted to post Bella's bill online for two reasons. The first is to give other people an idea of what to expect when their pet is facing an amputation. The second is because some extremely generous people who I don't know in real life have donated to Bella's vet expenses through this blog. I want to make sure that people have proof that the amount I am collecting for Bella's bills is accurate, and that I'm not just a scam artist with a lot of photos of an adorable tripod in her possession!

Bella has been doing a little bit better with her walking today. She still isn't too eager to get up and move around, but when she does she's going forward about half the time now. We're remaining cautiously optimistic that she'll be back to her old self soon.