Three-Legged Feline Thrives Following Amputation for Chronic Wound

March 6, 2024


It was just after Labor Day 2023 when Nancy C. heard a knock on her door. She opened it to find a neighbor holding an injured cat.

“Our neighbors know we have pets, so they brought the cat to us,” says Nancy, who adds that they had never seen the cat before. Her neighbors found the cat in the stairwell of their building, a 100-unit apartment complex in the Bronx on Grand Concourse.


Nancy lives with her daughter Emilia, as well as Kitty, a cat they adopted from the ASPCA in August 2015, and Triple B, a bunny.

Nancy and Emilia kept the injured cat, who had an exposed wound under his right forelimb, in their bathroom overnight before deciding to take him to the ASPCA the next day.

“It was a long night, and we were really worried about him,” says Nancy. “He was so sweet. We couldn’t believe someone might purposefully hurt him.”

A Non-Healing Mystery

The cat, a five-year-old male whom ASPCA staff named Concourse, was considered a medically compromised stray and was admitted to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH).

“He had a circumferential wound involving his neck and axillary region under the shoulder joint where the limb connects to the shoulder,” says Dr. J’mai Gayle, Director of Surgery at AAH. “We think he probably had a deep foreign body reaction from an embedded string that was wrapped around his neck and chest. This likely caused a chronic wound that would not heal. I took him to surgery a couple of times to debride the wound and found deeply embedded fibers.”

Dr. Gayle attempted to close the wound several times, removing as much foreign material as possible and creating a skin flap to protect the wound from the mobility of Concourse’s shoulder and elbow joints, which contributed to the nonhealing environment.

“We didn’t know what caused it,” says Dr. Eme Chan, a veterinary intern who first encountered Concourse when she was on rotation at the ASPCA Adoption Center. “He had some foreign material lodged under his right forelimb. The wound was open, with a lot of proliferative tissue and chronic drainage; you could see the tissue underneath his skin.”

At a recheck on November 1, veterinarians saw significant scabbing and crusting under Concourse’s limb. They treated it with antibiotics for two more weeks, making sure the wound was cleaned twice a day.


In early December, veterinarians determined that Concourse’s wound was not going to heal due to the deep-seated foreign body reaction.

“The options were to euthanize Concourse, or to remove the limb entirely and more of the foreign material,” says Dr. Chan. “Ultimately, we wanted to give him another shot because he was so good-natured, took his medication well and had a good adoptability prognosis if we could get over the medical side of things.”


On December 12, Dr. Gayle amputated Concourse’s leg.

“It was a last-ditch effort to try to save his life,” she says.

Healing At Last

Concourse was one of 99 necessary amputation surgeries performed by the ASPCA Animal Hospital in 2023 that included 40 hind limbs and 21 forelimbs, 23 tails and 4 digits.

“Fortunately, Concourse’s amputation and surgical incisions healed without complication—no swelling, discharge or crusting,” says Dr. Gayle. “I’m so glad that he came through this because I was concerned that he might still have trouble. He’s such a sweet cat.”


While Concourse was on activity restrictions before his surgery, afterward, he had more freedom to move around.

“We wanted him to go to a foster home with a medical person because he would need time to recover,” says Dr. Gayle.

That “medical person” was Dr. Chan.

A Fifth Feline

“Concourse healed this time, in a way he hadn’t before,” says Dr. Chan, who lives with her parents and has four other cats, all females. “At home, he was a very good boy, and my family liked him.”


Concourse integrated well with Dr. Chan’s other cats—Lilo, Omi, Raya and Sola. By the time he was neutered and available for adoption, she decided to keep him for herself, but she says she’ll probably change his name.

For Nancy and Emilia, who thought Concourse might have died from his injury, knowing that he is well and in a loving home is music to their ears.

“We couldn’t be happier,” says Nancy.