Monday, November 30, 2009


Enjoying a sunbeam. Her fur is (slowly) starting to grow back.

The vet who did Bella's surgery called to check in on her today, and she was very happy to hear how well she was doing. She said Bella can go in on Friday to get her stitches out! I'm glad she doesn't have to wait until next week; I think they're getting pretty itchy because she keeps plucking at them with her teeth. Now we just have to wait for her fur to grow back in so that she can stay warm.

Bella's been making a lot of new animal (and human) friends on Twitter. We've been so touched by all the sympathy and concern expressed by complete strangers. I've never been able to figure out the appeal of tweeting myself, but it seems to be working out really well for Bella! She has already attracted twice as many followers in a few days as I have managed to accumulate in over a year.

We're going to try to have friends come over and visit periodically for the next few weeks so that she can start getting used to people other than me and Jason. As a former feral kitten, she has always been scared of everyone except us. My seven-year-old nephew was our first guest after her injury, and she was absolutely terrified even though she was hiding in the bedroom with the door closed while he was here. We need to warm her up with some visitors who are quieter and calmer than a Wii-playing second grader!

Even when she was in the hospital, she always managed to roll over for tummy rubs!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Birdwatching and staying warm

Yesterday Bella discovered looking out the window...the next best thing to being outside. She sat on the back of the couch for much of the day watching the birds fly by, but she was so cold sitting next to the glass. We live in an old house, and haven't been able to replace our ancient, inefficient windows yet. I tried to keep a blanket over her, but every time she saw something exciting she would jump out from under it to get a better look.

Today is day six of being back home, and she's doing pretty well so far about staying inside. She'll cry at the back door for a few minutes at a time, but she always abandons the effort pretty quickly. I'm afraid the lack of trying is only due to her not feeling 100% just yet.

Either because of muscle memory or because she keeps forgetting she's missing a leg, she has also started trying to use the nub where her leg used to be for more and more things. I don't think I can call it a stump - she's just too cute for such an ugly word! Yesterday was the first time she tried to use her imaginary back leg to scratch the right side of her head. After the giggles subsided, I helped her out and got the job done for her. I've also noticed her moving the nub as though her leg is still there when she is climbing on laps or furniture. I'm curious to see if she keeps that up for the rest of her life, or if it will eventually subside once she gets used to the leg being gone.

One last note: if you are taking care of a sick or injured cat, or just want to spoil your cats rotten, I highly recommend these faux fur throws from Target. They immediately put your cat into a chilled out, purring, paw-kneading trance. Here's Bella wrapped up in hers with a towel "blanket" on top to keep her extra warm. With half her fur shaved off, she's been doing a lot of shivering!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


When Bella came home from the hospital, I was expecting that we might have to teach her to walk all over again. Apparently I was underestimating her - she came out of her cat carrier walking (hopping might be more accurate), and within five minutes she had jumped on and off of a chair and the bed. She had many more emotional problems than physical ones. First was the separation anxiety. For the first couple of days, she needed constant attention. There was lots of crying if she wasn't on a lap or at least being petted constantly. Completely understandable for a little girl who had suffered such a major trauma. She's a little more independent now after five days home, but she still likes to have a lot of lap time with us. We're lucky that she came home during a holiday week so that we have plenty of time to baby her!

Then there was the problem of the other cats. We have six cats altogether, including Bella's brother and sister. The only one who didn't completely freak out at the sight of her was my seventeen-year-old male cat. Perhaps it's all those years of experience, but he seemed to be the only one who recognized her. It was especially painful to watch Bella's sister Clementine hissing and spitting at her. That situation hasn't improved too much, but I'm hoping it will get better with time.

Bella's main complaint right now is that she is missing half the fur on her body, and winter has finally decided to come to South Carolina. She shivers a lot of the time, so I bought some soft hand towels that we can put over her as blankets. She loves it, and it's highly adorable to see her all bundled up like that.

Overall, our girl is doing great. I can't wait to take her back to Shandon-Wood to get her stitches out so they can see how well she has recovered!

Bad haircut! You can see how much fur she is missing, and also one of the bite wounds on her back.

Friday, November 27, 2009

What happened to Bella?

Bella, pre-amputation

After a 36-hour absence, our cat Bella showed back up in our yard last week with a severely broken leg and several bite wounds. Luckily, my husband works from home and found her right away. After an emergency amputation and four touch-and-go days in the hospital, our sweet girl got to come back home with us.

The title of this blog is inspired by the Red House Painters song "Three-Legged Cat."

she was asleep when i hobbled to the bed
with a broken foot bleeding
i clawed at her head
"the mirror tumbled on me," i cried
"but it wasn't my fault," i lied
spend my whole life neurotic and fat
now i'm just a three-legged cat
doctor said, "we'll have to amputate that"
so now i'm just a three-legged cat
a three-legged cat

Bella's first day home post-amputation