|Can a Pet Enjoy a Good Quality of Life if it Loses a Limb?|
By: Larry Chamberlain
Basil was a lovable, almost silver, mid sized, stripped tabby of no certain breed. An independent little fellow but nonetheless filled with affection in his own way. He used to fancy himself to be a hunter, but was never that successful at it, at least to the best of my knowledge he wasn't.
Only once, when Basil was not much more than a kitten, did I find an offering waiting on my kitchen floor. Now whether it was my obvious disgust about discovering half a rodent that made that the only occasion, or the fact that Basil (even when he had all four legs), was not that good at catching prey, I don't know but I suspect the latter.
More often than not Basil was out when I got home from work. He would come in when he was hungry, charging through the cat flap (pet door), and make me know, in no uncertain terms, that he was hungry. When he was home he would come running up and rub himself against my leg a couple of times, and then find himself a perch from which to observe me. So, returning home on that late summers evening and hearing him cry out from the lounge, I knew that something was wrong.
Moments later we were there. The lights were on, I walked in with Basil softly meowing, and explained to the receptionist that the poor chap must have been hit by a car or truck. The young lady took a look at Basil, gave him some soothing words, and called out to the veterinarian.
Not a cat that usually enjoyed being picked up by strangers, Basil the brave allowed the veterinarian to examine him without too much protest. After what seemed like an eternity the tall kindly looking "animal doctor" spoke.
"He's had quite an accident, it is very probable that he was thrown by the vehicle as well, but apart from the squashed leg he doesn't seem to have any other bones broken. I'm not sure what can be done, of course I will do what I can for him. Leave your details with my receptionist, go on home and I will phone you in about two hours."
I arrived home convinced that Basil the brave would have to be put to sleep. I sat thinking about him, from when he was a kitten, his futile attempts at hunting, his peculiar lovable little ways. Eventually
The day came and I was able to bring Basil home. He had more of a stump than I imagined he would have and was able to get around with a sort of bunny hop. For the first couple of days though he did not want to do much prowling around and he kept himself indoors. On the third day when I arrived home, he was not in the flat. I went into the garden and called out for him, no sign of him at all. I went back inside feeling a little uneasy, but also pleased that he was getting back to his old self already.
Did his "handicap" deter him from his hunting attempts? Not a bit. He'd lay in waiting for pigeons to land in the garden, then try to rush at them, of course he never got near to a catch. Ever heard a pigeon laugh!
I don't believe that Basil even knew that his leg was missing. He had a habit of sitting on his haunches, raising one hind leg and giving his ear a scratch, then repeating the process with the other leg and the other ear. He continued the habit after the accident. When it came to the missing leg, the stump would raise and waggle about and his head would turn to ensure that his ear got a good scratching from the non-existent leg!
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