Kittens are just synonymous with cuteness overdose. There’s nothing like seeing the feisty little furballs prancing, cavorting, and getting into general mischief all over the house. And while they might be known as the independent domesticated pets that often don’t have a care in the world for humans and often even turn their noses up at us superciliously–sometimes they need us more than they know. In the case of a nine-week-old feline resident of British Columbia, the Tiny Kittens Society took his care into their hands without debate–and had to be quite innovative in doing so for Cassidy, who they really thought might not make it.
With only stumps for back legs, Cassidy had endured untold challenges in the wilds of Canada before the staff at Tiny Kittens found him. They weren’t sure exactly what had befallen his hind legs but could only assume that perhaps his mother had chewed them off by accident, in a gruesome mistake, trying to get to the umbilical cord. With no use of his back legs possible and his diminutive posture, everyone was unsure what to do. He was currently able to scoot on his rear end and as the staff said, “walk like a reverse velociraptor.”
Infection had set in, and once that was treated, the group began to research options for Cassidy. With so much emphasis on social media these days, the Tiny Kittens staff decided to try their Facebook page as an avenue, and posted the details regarding Cassidy and his plight.
In no time at all, they’d caught the attention of Walnut Grove Secondary School students Josh Messmer and Isaiah Walker, who just happen to have some pretty good design and 3D printing skills. They saw both a prime opportunity to help the kitty and also, to put the MakerBot 3D printer at school to use.
Beginning at the blackboard, the two students soon headed to the digital arena, and with the ease afforded by digital design, they were able to take their time drafting and engineering a tiny contraption that was feasible. This was a challenging feat considering Cassidy’s small size and enormous disability. They 3D printed the tiny wheelchair for Cassidy who began mastering it and ‘walking’ with it shortly thereafter.
“I’m really proud that it’s gotten this far, from the computer stage to be able to have it working with Cassidy,” said Walker.
Shelley Roche of Tiny Kittens reports that Cassidy’s progress is going very well and that he is much happier with his newfound mobility and freedom. He’s also grown so much that he already has a new wheelchair which was donated to him via Handicapped Pets Canada.
“He has such a little fighting spirit,” says Roche. “He’s remarkable.” She also adds that they are not planning to put him up for adoption anytime soon.
We’ve followed numerous stories regarding 3D printed devices for pets and animals, and these accounts always seem to strike a chord–from sheep with 3D printed prosthetics to dogs with 3D printed knee replacements to 3D printed wheelchairs for canines as well. We believe it’s true that you really can gauge the measure of a man by how he treats animals–and obviously these animals are all in very good company, as well as enjoying the power of high-tech.
Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Cat Wheelchair forum thread on 3DPB.com.[Source: Wired]