Flipper, a nine-month-old kitten in Aspen Park, Colorado, was born with a twisted spine. Her top half goes one direction while the bottom tries to go another. This means that she ends up dragging her bottom end around, unable to walk. A high school robotics club has come to Flipper's rescue by creating a sort of feline wheel-chair to help her get moving more like a regular cat.
The cat came into the Aspen Park Veterinary Hospital several months ago with a spinal injury that left her partially paralyzed. The hospital is a regular supporter of the robotics club at Conifer High School in Conifer, Colorado, and reached out to the students for help with the cat.
The students were thrilled to pair their love of robotics with their love of cats. They stepped in to help Flipper just days before she was set to be put to sleep. They designed several different devices before selecting one that seemed to work best.
The "Cat Cart" allows Flipper to move much more easily and even run as she gets used to the device and the ability to feel frisky. By relieving some of the pressure on her spine, Flipper's condition is improving significantly. This is something that is not supposed to happen, according the veterinarian, Dr. Gurney.
Flipper is the clinic cat now. She wears her harness and cart for about two hours a day and tears around the place like crazy, happy to be moving. Her right hind leg is starting to move very well, but her left one still needs work. The hope is to get Flipper rehabilitated completely so that she will one day no longer need the cart.
Laurie Kay Olson
Animal News Blogger