Robotics team restores cat’s meow & mobility

NEED TO KNOW
  • Cat was born with a twisted spinal cord
  • Vet asks students to build device to help Flipper get around

Something went wrong when a cat named Flipper was born, causing her spinal cord to twist like a telephone cable. Cats like her, who don't have use of their hind legs, are often put to sleep.

But the staff at the Aspen Park Vet Hospital in Colorado wanted to give the feline a chance at all nine lives.

“We just felt so bad for Flipper, who had to drag her legs behind her as she made her way around the clinic,” Dr. Harry Gurney told HLN affiliate KDVR.

So he hooked up with the Blitz Robotic Club at Conifer High School and gave them a challenge: Build a device to help Flipper get around.

They generated 3D images of their creations in CAD and, after three tries, they got it right. Sure, the device may be put together with popsicle sticks and duct tape, but the point is, it works! There’s even an opening in the sling that holds up Flipper’s back end to allow her tail to sway freely as she motors around the office.

The “cat-traption,” as they’re calling it, is not a permanent solution. They’re hoping Flipper will use it to gain strength in her back legs and loosen up her spine so she can one day get around without it. Then, maybe she’ll be ready to be adopted into a loving new home.

Check out our affiliate KDVR to see the device in action!

Watch Evening Express weeknights from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on HLN.

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