I was reading the story of George Stubbs a two-legged cat cared for by cat welfare worker Jen. George Stubbs lived about five years and walked around on his front legs. His real legs were there but shortened. He had no back feet so he decided to not use the legs at all. He tucked his front legs underneath himself to rejig the balance. He brought his body weight forward and placed his forelegs backwards so the entire body weight was placed over the legs. When a cat is this disabled the tail plays an important role maintaining balance and support when resting or pausing when walking. The cat’s tail is an excellent balancing tool for tree dwelling wild cat species.
That got me thinking about how a cat would look when getting around walking on two front legs. Incidentally, I have read about a cat with two legs on one side. He managed to keep his balance hopping along. Amazing.
Anyway, I wondered whether I could find a cat on YouTube that had two front legs and no back legs to see how he managed. Well, I quickly found a video with two cats, each of which had two front legs and in one case no pelvis or hind legs and in the other case stumps like George Stubbs.
You’ll see Anakin early on walking around exactly as described by Sarah Hartwell when writing about George Stubbs. The gait was exactly as I had envisaged. Although it is a little upsetting to see. Anakin is not upset though.
His tail is muscular and has taken on the role of a limb almost. I would expect his back to be strong as well in order to control the body position when walking. My cat Charlie has three legs and he has a rock hard lower back. The lower back muscles were developed as he had to lift his body up using his back to allow his hind legs to jump forwards together. He has a very strange way of walking but very effective.
As for any other animal, cats find a way of adapting, using the muscles that they have to compensate for the loss.