Sep 30, 2015 | By Tess

Two 17 year olds students, Josh Messmer and Isaiah Walker from Walnut Grove Secondary School in British Columbia have created a 3D printed wheelchair for a handicapped kitten.

The kitten, named Cassidy was found on a rural residence in Langley, British Columbia in extremely dire condition. The tiny black and white cat was emaciated and had lost both his back legs, possibly as a result of his mother mistakenly knawing them off after birth instead of the umbilical cord. He also suffered from an E. Coli infection in his back leg stumps – needless to say, things did not look good for the poor kitten.

Cassidy was luckily found by Shelley Roche, the owner of Tiny Kittens Society, a now multi-faceted non-profit organization that helps foster and nurse abandoned kittens and cats, operates a spaying and neutering program for feral cats, offers education on proper pet-ownership, and runs a 24/7 kitten web cam which has reached world wide fame. I say lucky because often cats found in such conditions would be simply put down, but Roche’s commitment to the kitten inspired by Cassidy’s own strong will to survive have proved fruitful, as he is alive and well today.

“He managed to survive somehow for nine weeks, until we found him,” says Roche, “He actually had learned how to lift his little bum off the ground and walk like a reverse velociraptor.”

Having brought Cassidy back to a healthy condition, Roche then wanted to help him with his handicap. She saw that he was “trapped in this little body that wasn’t working.” In order to help she created a makeshift sling to support his back legs, but this did not prove so successful. In an effort to find a solution to little Cassidy’s problem, Roche put a call out on her website for any ideas or help she could get.

This is where Josh Messmer and Isaiah Walker, two high school students from Walnut Grove Secondary School, came in. Having seen the plea for help and being impacted by Cassidy’s story, the two set out to create a device to help the kitten become mobile.

Roche and Cassidy (left)

In order to do this, Messmer and Walker opted to use 3D printing technology to design a wheelchair for the kitten. After several prototypes and design models, the two had created a 3D printed wheelchair that Cassidy could comfortably use and move around in. “He just is so much happier and having the freedom to be able to move is something he’s never had before,” says Roche of Cassidy.

As the kitten grows more and more each day, the process of updating and designing new wheelchairs for Cassidy will continue. And you can see him below in his official wheelchair donated by Handicapped Pets Canada.

For those of us who spend countless hours entertained by TinyKittens’ 24/7 kitten cam, it is heart-warming to know the good that the organization does in going above and beyond in helping their feline friends. As for the two high school students who devoted their time and energy to making Cassidy an additively manufactured makeshift wheelchair, we expect great things as they hopefully continue their 3D printing ventures!



Posted in 3D Printing Applications





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