Paraplegic Kitty Gets Around Fine
By: Jaci Scheinder - Mail Tribune
Dr. Alice Davis of Bear Creek Animal Clinic and her fiancé, Gordon Sievers, fitted the kitten with a chariot made from a K'NEX set, the modern-day version of an Erector set.
Named Little Draggin' Bear by clinic staff, the paraplegic kitten has been poppin' wheelies ever since.
"He doesn't seem to know or realize he's different," Davis says. "He's one of the most playful kittens I've ever seen."
A concerned student brought Draggin' Bear to the clinic last month after the raccoon attack had broken the kitten's back. The one-pound stray was nursed back to health by Davis.
"I'm really big on trying to make sure everyone gets a chance," she says.
After doing some research on the Internet, Davis and Sievers hit upon the idea of making a K'NEX chariot for the kitten to get around in.
After several attempts, the pair successfully constructed a multi-coloured cart for Draggin' Bear. The kitten relaxes in a sling created from a headband and stays snug in his wheels with Velcro ties.
"We just started playing around with it," Sievers says.
Now the kitten travels with ease, the four-wheeled chariot zipping along as he runs, his back legs lagging behind.
Surgery is not an option for Draggin' Bear, who will remain partially paralyzed. But he should lead a long and full life, Davis says.
Draggin' Bear spends his days at the clinic, entertaining the staff with his speedy antics, and his nights in Talent with Davis and Sievers.
Davis helps Draggin' Bear go to the bathroom and keeps him clean.
"We take him everywhere," she says. "You can't just let anyone pet-sit him."
Since Draggin' Bear came to the clinic, he has doubled in size. Sievers will build bigger chariots for him as he grows.
The couple's other four cats seem pretty unimpressed by their new roommate, Davis says.
"Other cats pretty much ignore him at this point," she says. "Children really love him."
Draggin' Bear seems content to romp around the clinic, Davis says.
"We've kind of made him our little mascot."
Bear Creek Animal Clinic
1955 Ashland Street
Website of Little Draggin' Bear: www.dragginbear.com