Special legs of a 4-month-old cat

Wheelie may have had a rough start on life, but he’s off to a pretty speedy recovery.

The 4-month-old orange tabby was brought to Clinton Pet Vet Rescue & Sanctuary at 86 Meadow St. back in June by a local woman looking for assistance in caring for the animal. Wheelie is paralyzed and does not have use of his hindlegs.

When he grew large enough, the staff over at Clinton Pet Vet, 60 Dwight Ave., found a small wheelchair for Wheelie that was purchased online. The chair is meant to increase his mobility while Wheelie undergoes laser and water therapies each day at the vet clinic to help build strength and feeling in the lower part of his body.“We got him the wheelchair and he’s been amazing, but we needed something that he could grow with,” Clarey said.

In the meantime, Taylor Calhoun, veterinary technician, said she works with Wheelie daily in giving him his laser and water therapy sessions.

The therapy “helps him get more circulation in his joints so he can walk better,” Calhoun said. “We’ve definitely seen an improvement” in his mobility.

The sanctuary director of operations said when the woman who originally had Wheelie surrendered him to CPV, he was wearing a very soiled preemie infant diaper and had not been trained to use a litter box due to his injuries. Back then, Wheelie had absolutely no feeling or movement in his back legs, and he was unable to urinate on his own.

“He likes to play with the other kittens,” the vet tech added. “When the wheelchair is off he drags his hind legs, but he’s actually faster than many of the other cats.”

By using the chair, however, she said Wheelie has learned how to place his hind paws on the floor, rather than tucking them underneath him as he moves around. Clarey and Calhoun said it will be some time before Wheelie is rehabilitated and ready for adoption. But Calhoun said she’s really appreciated all that she’s learned through caring for Wheelie.

“It really makes you know what goes into taking care of a kitten,” she smiled. “This has helped me learn what needs cats truly have.”

Clarey said it’s possible that Wheelie will eventually gain just about full, if not total, use of his hind legs. But he will need much more therapy and work, she said.

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