An injured cat has been given a greater sense of mobility after losing his back legs to an infection last September when he was hit by a train. On Thursday, ‘Sgt. Stubbs’ got to try out his new 3D prosthetic legs made by the students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Stubbs was found last year with infected legs by Chicago Animal Care and Control and turned over to the Whitewater, Wisconsin shelter. Community Cat shelter vice president Sarah Close says Stubbs had to have part of his back legs amputated by a veterinarian to save his life.
Most cats in the past with this type of injury had two options: Euthanasia or a pet wheelchair/cart. Community Cat officials instead decided to turn to students in the freshman engineering class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for help. The students made the prosthetics using a 3D printer and made extra straps to keep them in place.
Stubbs was known for slipping out of medical devices. He escaped a full body cast three times in one day so the students knew the prosthetic legs would be a challenge. The special needs kitty tried out one of his new legs on Thursday. He refused to allow the second leg to be strapped on.
Adam Schofield of Oak Creek, Wisconsin adopted Stubbs and hopes that Stubbs will accept the new legs and allow the other one to be strapped on. He said it’s up to his cat as to when that will take place because “it’s a cat you can’t make him do it.”
The students are getting actual experience in making prosthetic limbs. They’re dealing with real cases where their work with a 3D printer is needed and appreciated.
Engineering student Ethan Frohna stated in an interview with SFGate
“This is a real cat. We’re dealing with real clients. So we need to be as professional as possible in dealing with these clients.”
Adam also adopted Captain Crash, a disabled cat from Egypt with a developmental condition. He and his cats are very happy together. Especially since Adam recognizes cats can’t be forced into doing something they don’t want to do.