By: Terry Lackmeyer, My Pet’s Brace Customer Service Representative
Sometimes, dogs and cats are as different as night and day. Call a dog and it will come running. Call a cat and it will take a message and get back to you. That same attitude tends to follow through with braces as well. Dogs readily accept braces with few questions asked. Cats, on the other hand, can take longer to accept a brace and are typically more difficult to fit. Cats may try to shake off a brace or freeze and not move at all. While we have made leg braces for cats, each one is on a case by case basis. Determining factors include the type of injury, slickness of fur, their personality, ability to create suspension, current mobility, and home environment.
The cat braces we have made have been hock or carpal braces. When an owner contacts us regarding a leg brace for their cat, we do an initial evaluation to determine whether the cat would be a good candidate for a brace. If we believe we can make a brace for the cat, we start by making a temporary brace. A temporary brace enables us to see how the cat adjusts to wearing a brace and how we can provide the proper suspension for the permanent device.
If the temporary cat leg brace is successful and the owner feels the cat is comfortable and happy wearing the brace, we make the permanent version. The permanent brace is the same type of brace we would make for a dog – the same quality and precision fit.
Cats and stifle braces, the braces used for cruciate ligament injuries, are not characteristically a good fit. The fur is so soft and silky, almost rabbit-like in texture, that the ACL brace tends to slip down and not stay in place. Additionally, the suspension sleeve which wraps around the hock and attaches to the inside of the brace to help suspend the brace on the leg adds just another “foreign object” to which the kitty may object.
While dogs constitute 99% of our clientele, we enjoy the challenge of making braces and helping other species of animals. From goats to sheep to llamas, cows, and sometimes ducks our main objective is doing what is best for the pet to help it live a happier life!