Lu, also known as Leggy Lu, is a cat in Tennessee who has captured the hearts of many. You’ve probably heard of cats with one leg missing (affectionately referred to as tripod cats), but Lu has the opposite issue—she has one extra leg.
Her fifth appendage doesn’t cause her any serious health issues at the moment, but owner JB Williford points out on her GoFundMe page that her mobility is not like that of other cats, and she “mostly pulls herself around with her front legs”.
Getting Around With 5 Legs
Leggy Lu seems to get around okay with five legs. While she can’t walk in a straight line, she can still get to where she’s going. While JB was initially concerned about the impact her fifth appendage has on her day-to-day life, they were told the fifth leg does not cause Leggy Lu any pain.
The local vet school has done X-rays to examine her leg more closely, but JB still doesn’t know what caused her leg to develop abnormally. Lu has no muscle control over this appendage, and it is fused at the joint. Her extra leg is actually longer than her other legs and sticks out to the side.
Because Lu was picked up from a shelter in New York City in 2018, her background remains a mystery.
But it’s not all sad—Leggy Lu needs medical care, but she’s still a sweet kitty with a little bit of sass! She has also been known to sprint to the door to scare off visiting animals through the glass.
Leggy Lu Has Breast Cancer
Concerned about her declining mobility as she has aged, JB wanted to ensure Lu remained comfortable and sought the expertise of a vet to better understand how Lu may age and the impacts from her fifth leg. At Lu’s examination by an orthopedic specialist in 2022, mammary cancer was discovered.
Feline mammary tumors are often noticed by the owner or vet when performing an exam. Lumps can often vary in size and shape, and may be accompanied by bleeding or discharge from the nipple. Depending on the severity and length of time the cat has had a tumor, the cat may also show signs of lethargy, loss of appetite and have trouble breathing.
Treatment of breast cancer like this in felines often results in surgical removal of the tumor. Surgery can vary from a single breast removal, or a strip mastectomy, which is the removal of one entire row of breasts in that mammary chain. Cats have two rows of mammary chains, and in extreme cases, both can be removed, resulting in a double mastectomy.
Often, chemotherapy or radiation follow surgery to kill any cancer cells left behind in the lymphatic system or remaining breast tissue.
The Diagnosis Changed Lu’s Life
Although Leggy Lu wasn’t always what would be considered a “special needs cat” in terms of medical care, since the cancer diagnosis, vet bills have begun to add up quickly. In an article published in Newsweek, JB shared that “I was looking at $10,000 worth of bills this year, and I felt absolutely helpless.”
Daunted by extensive medical bills, JB was inspired to start sharing Lu’s story with the world. That’s when Leggy Lu got on TikTok. Her story made an impact, earning millions of views and the support of animal lovers worldwide.
As of an update in July of 2023, Leggy Lu had undergone surgery for her cancer and was recovering well. But there is still a long road of treatment ahead for Lu, including chemo treatment.
You can follow Leggy Lu’s journey on Instagram.