Knee Surgery Saves Community Cat’s Leg

James Starting Physical Therapy

For humans, knee surgery is a common procedure due to injury or sometimes with age; for one cat who recently came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), knee surgery wound up saving his leg, and possibly his life.

When one-year-old James was brought to ARL’s Community Surgical Clinic, his physical exam revealed muscle wasting on his hind limbs, which caused concern for ARL veterinary staff.

“His legs were skinny, and it was also noted that one of his patellas (knee caps) was out of place,” said ARL Shelter Veterinarian Dr. Kate Gollon.

Medially luxating patellas are common in dogs, but relatively rare in cats. The condition can be quite painful, drastically limiting movement and in some cases causing lameness and muscle wasting.

James was facing two options: amputation or surgery. ARL veterinary staff saw amputation as a last resort, and did not want to remove a limb from the handsome Havana Brown cat, so opted for surgery.

The procedure, which was performed at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center, called a trochlear block recession, essentially deepens the groove where the patella normally sits, and is then secured in place by tightening the connective tissues around it.

Post-Surgical Therapy

Just like when humans have knee surgery, James also needs to undergo physical therapy to strengthen his knee to be able to regain full use of his leg. James’ foster parents are performing a number of exercises with James every day to build strength and agility.

He continues to make noticeable progress by being able to put more weight on the leg, and will be made available for adoption when he is back to 100 percent.

Why Your Support Matters

Being a Community Cat and given his condition, it’s likely James would not have been able to survive living on the streets, and through ARL’s Community Cat Initiative and surgical clinic, James was able to be rescued and receive the medical treatment needed to ensure a long, healthy, and happy life. ARL receives no government funding, and relies on the generosity of individuals like you to make these programs possible, so THANK YOU for affording ARL the opportunity to help yet another animal in need!