Disabled cat found abandoned as a kitten uses wheelchair to get around
A disabled cat who was abandoned by her mother as a kitten now has her very own wheelchair to help her walk without wobbling.
Brutiss, now six, was born with brain damage that results in tremors and trouble keeping her balance.
She was found in a garden as a baby and at first, vets feared she would never be able to walk.
However, vet Shannan Egan’s parents made Brutiss her first walking aid from pipes to hold up the cat’s back legs and help her stay on her feet.
Shannan, of Massachusetts, USA, went on to adopt little Brutiss, who can now scoot around quite happily with the help of her little booties for gripping the floor.
Small animal GP veterinarian Shannan said: ‘Her first walker was made for her by my dad following instructions from a YouTube video. It was made from white PVC pipe and some scrap wheels.
‘My mum sewed the belly sling, then we used a ferret harness.
‘Bru took to the walker pretty quickly, within a few minutes. We added booties to help her get better traction on the hardwood flooring.
‘She did well in it – that’s when we decided to invest in a custom wheelchair.
‘Brutiss needs some extra help, but in other ways she’s just like any other indoor cat – she naps, plays, eats etc.
‘She certainly doesn’t spring, but she can cruise along at a comfortable walking pace.’
Bru was found as a baby with a sibling, who sadly didn’t make it after being abandoned on the lawn.
Shannan said: ‘Sadly the littermate passed away within the first week, but Bru was a tough little cookie. I bottle-fed her until she was weaned onto kitten food.
‘Both kittens had a grey coat colour called a “fever coat”. Kittens have this if their mother is either ill or very stressed during pregnancy.’
Shannan believes Bru’s mother had been infected with feline panleukopenia virus, which can cause kittens to have cerebellar hypoplasia.
Cerebellar hypoplasia is when the cerebellum fails to develop properly, leading to difficulties with walking and balance.
While Brutiss’ tremors were clearly visible early on, the vets were pleased to find that she wasn’t in any pain.
Now, Brutiss lives a normal, happy cat life with Shannan, and even likes going for a swim.
She only faces occasional difficulty when it comes to navigating corners.
On Brutiss’ swimming, Shannan said: ‘As long as the water is warm, she’s fine with it! She has a life jacket to help with buoyancy.
‘A lot of people assume she can’t control her bladder and bowel – this isn’t true. She’s not paralysed, just has terrible balance.’
These days, Shannan documents the life and times of Brutiss on Instagram account @brutiss__the_ch_cat, which currently has around 20,000 followers.
She said: ‘Brutiss is happy and healthy and living her best life.
‘We started her social media accounts to show people that cats with disabilities can still live happy, healthy lives if provided with a supportive environment.
‘Not everyone is in a position to provide such a home, but for the folks that are able to do so, these pets are very rewarding to care for.’
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