Brothers make 3D-printed braces for 'bold' cat with rare leg disability
CTV, with a report from CTV Kitchener’s Heather Senoran
Published Monday, March 4, 2019 6:33PM EST
Two Guelph, Ont. brothers made specialized 3D-printed leg braces for a cat born with a rare leg disability -- giving her a new lease on life.
Carly the cat was born with swimmer syndrome, which significantly weakens the ligaments in newborn cats’ and dogs’ hind legs. This means Carly moves around with a wobble -- dragging her legs behind her.
When she was only six weeks old, she and her family were left at the Brampton, Ont., shelter All Paws Rescue. But while her mother and sister found homes quickly, Carly did not.
Groomer Karen Boerner, who’s been fostering the kitten since December, called Carly “bold” and “courageous” and told CTV Kitchener that “nothing's going to slow her down.”
After spotting the group’s social media post showcasing Carly’s story, a chord was struck with two brothers from Guelph, Ont.
A few years ago, Andrew Cameron and his brother started the company Andosh Accessible Gaming, which modifies video game controllers for people with disabilities.
Cameron told CTV Kitchener that they immediately felt connected to the feline.
The Cameron brothers were each born with Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, or EDS, which is a series of genetic connective tissue disorders that can cause joints to become loose and stretch the skin.
“Our bodies don't produce connective tissue properly so we dislocate easily,” Cameron said. “I could understand some of the issues (Carly) is going through.”
After hearing about Carly, Cameron immediately went to work using his 3D printer to create specialized leg braces for her -- which easily snap together and are complete with pink and white socks.
After some minor tweaks to his prototype, the 3D-printed device now allows Carly to successfully walk completely upright for the first time in her life.
Boerner said if the new braces keep working, they are “going to give her that advantage and help her lead a normal life.”
She hopes to have Carly up for adoption in a few weeks. All Paws Rescue is hoping people inspired by Carly's story will also donate to find homes for other animals looking for permanent homes.