Introduction: 3D Printed Kitten Wheelchair

Picture of 3D Printed Kitten Wheelchair

Meet Peggy, this little kitty was rescued by some friends of mine. When she was found the lower portion of her rear legs were gone (sorry about the image).

She was not born without them but the cause of the loss remains a mystery.

I was asked to design a wheelchair for Peggy to keep her mobile and keep the stumps off the floor (as they can easily get infections) until she reaches the ripe age of 1 when she can get some prosthetics fitted.

There were lots of options but I decided to go with a 3D printed seat designed to be adjustable.

Step 1: The Design

Picture of The Design

I took a number of measurements from Peggy in order to determine the base size for the model.

Ultimately, as she grows the 2 options were to make larger chairs or to make this one as adjustable as I could to keep up with her.

I designed the seat section in Fusion 360.

I started out by creating a boss that covered the full area of the finished seat.

Then a dish was removed using the revolve tool to make a space for her belly.

I then removed some scoops for her legs to hang over and catch the rear of the seat, this was done over 2 sketches to create the correct shape.

I created a profile for the top and bottom of the seat.

I push cut some hex holes to act as a guide and to provide a flat surface for the mounting bolts (see this later)

I also created a hex retainer for the lateral adjustment nut and bolt.

In order to ensure that the model was completely symmetrical, I cut it in half, deleting one side and then mirrored the model.

Lastly I radiused all of the edges to ensure it would be comfortable.

Step 2: 3D Printing

Picture of 3D Printing

I don't own a 3D printer so I sent it out to my local 3D hub.

The guy there gave me some advice on material and in the end, we agreed upon Protopasta Carbon Fiber PLA.

This gave a good balance of weight and strength.

Step 3: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

The initial assembly shows the unit fully closed up, as Peggy grows, the wheelchair will get wider and taller.

The 2 bolts coming from the bottom of the seat carry 2 nuts and attach the seat to the base.

The base is a small plastic project box with wheels taken from some cheap shoe mounted wheel things (the name escapes me) but these were only 10 Euro per set.

I initially made a nylon strap with a plastic buckle but it just looked too big so I switched over to a velcro strap.

This was fitted to the seat by first melting a hole in the side of the seat with a hot drill bit, this prevented me cracking the seat or drilling in too far.

It then used some automotive upholstery rivets, these little plastic guys go into the hole and have 3 legs, you then force a pin down the inside which spreads the rivet and locks it in place, then just trim off the excess on the pin.

Step 4: Finished Wheelchair

Picture of Finished Wheelchair

I added some rubber matting from the top of my toolbox for cushioning. This stuff is also super non-slip.

The whole unit weighs just over 240g.

Step 5: Trials

Picture of Trials

We gave Peggy a little time to sound out the chair.

Then strapped her in for a little trial.

There was some initial worry but she did move about on it.

There is a long way to go with training her to use the wheelchair and to stay on it. She is quite skinny and has managed to slip out. Her owners are going to have a look at further attaching the chair to her harness in order to keep it with her.

You can follow her progress and adventures on her facebook page

This is my first aid for a disabled animal, so if there are any tips or suggestions I am open to them, just stick them in the comments. Also, Peggy will need prosthetics around this time next year so please follow her page and donate if you can when the time comes. Thanks!!!

Comments

JohnSmith64 (author)2017-09-16

awesome work guys,hope in humanity was restored once again :)

Thank you

Chey505 (author)2017-09-12

Peggy is so lucky to have you and your friends to love. .... And visa-versa. :) Great job! Best to you all.

Thanks for your lovely comment

Izzy47 (author)2017-09-11

Thank you for your kindness to this defenceless little kittie God Bless you

Thank you...

chideki (author)2017-09-09

May God bless you for this beautiful job, to help and to serve, no matter who is! Best regards!

Thank you!

Jan Cousineau (author)2017-09-09

You're wonderful, thank you for helping this sweet little kitty get around. The world is a better place because of people like you.

Thanks for the lovely comments. I'm not sure when her owners will start collecting but keep an eye on her Facebook page. Thank you for taking the interest

Jan Cousineau (author)2017-09-09

I joined her page, please let me know when you'll be accepting donations towards her prosthetics, i'd love to donate.

8kittys (author)2017-09-05

Good job! Bless you & your friends for caring! The front of the "cup/seat" needs to be extended all the way up to her chest to stabilize the cart. Otherwise the wheels will always want to kick out backwards and she will slip out. Once it comes up to her chest you can attach it to a standard harness and the whole thing will remain level and move with her. Maybe imbed a sawed off ruler to the seat and the new portion can slide on it to lengthen as she grows. The harness can bolt on or attach thru a formed loop on the underside of the new piece. I'm sure you will figure it out, you are smart! Thank you again for your kindness and time spent to make a difference in this kittens life.

ToolboxGuy (author)8kittys2017-09-06

While that may add stability, the longer you make it, the more force downward her own body will create on that endpoint. Cat's backs are not at all meant for carrying loads in a downward direction, only the hips and shoulders have that capability.

8kittys (author)ToolboxGuy2017-09-06

I'm not understanding where you say there will be down force. The wheels will handle the back end and the harness will distribute the front load along with her front legs. Where is the down force you speak of? Maybe I'm missing something...

Thanks for the tips, this is revision 0 so there are likely to be future models. Thanks for the tips.

ToolboxGuy (author)2017-09-05

Count me in for a donation towards the prosthetics!

Wow excellent. Keep an eye on her Facebook page for when the fundraising starts. Thank you so much

I've been thinking about your wheelchair a lot - and I am unsure on the posture, given the plan to use prosthetics later. Any idea how many hours a day the kitten is in the chair? She'll need to use those legs as stumps as much as possible, to teach these muscles how to move well, given her young age.

Hadn't thought of that. She won't be in it all the time and can move at quite a rate without it but the stumps are still quite raw and she has gotten an infection. It's a balancing act that her owners and the vet will work out

OneBirdieMa (author)2017-09-05

This is too cool! Because we have birds we go to an "exotics" vet (a vet that sees snakes, reptiles, amphibians, birds, rabbits, ferrets, etc. -- any thing 'normal' vets don't usually care for), and at that office a couple of years ago I saw my first wheel-helped creature: a BIG rabbit. Just last week, I clicked on the Turkey cam at the Sanctuary Farm in Watkins Glen (on explore.org) and saw -- a GOAT?!?!? What was a GOAT doing in with the turkeys in their field? Well, I don't know what the story is, but the goat's rear legs are wheeled-apparatus replaced so it can get around. (It has a goat buddy along with the turkeys, who have the most astounding chickens running around with them . . . . ) Now, how to make a growing-up assist for a kitten! Absolutely amazing! Thanks so much for posting this . . . .

Sounds like a cool vet practice to visit. it seems there's no end to creatures you can fit wheels to :-). I saw a video somewhere with a wheel fitted to a tortoise!

Human beings aren't entirely left out -- if only one leg is affected there is a sort of scooter dealie that can be used under the knee of the offending leg to support the body using the other leg/foot to push the scooter along. I'd seen these in print/pics occasionally but two weeks ago saw a young woman with a foot in a cast zipping right along into and through one of those first floor office building shopping areas. She could have been an advertisement!

I saw a guy using one of those while I was doing physio last year, they are pretty cool

CaioH5 (author)2017-09-05

I love cats and technology too. I was thrilled, congratulations for this project. Glad to see people like you and ur friends who have a good heart to save these little angels.

Thank you

JeromeS29 (author)2017-09-05

you are awesome

Thank you so much

LeslieGeee (author)2017-09-05

What a good person you are. I was thinking maybe to extend the seat a bit under her belly so that you have another place to use a velcro strap around her body. That way not all the pressure of the strap is on the spot that connects to her tail. Also make sure the back end doesn't touch or cover how she relieves herself that way she can adjust how she goes without interference. Just a thought. You might also want to rethink the size of the wheels as she grows. Watch her move in your prosthetic for her she will tell you what needs to be done. This will sound crazy but think like a cat not a human. Her Vet may also have some ideas because he knows her anatomy better than I do. Thank your friends for taking her in, and thank you for being so kind.

Thanks for the tips. I actually consulted a friend of mine who is a vet, this was a first for each of us and there will be future revisions. I agree with your extension idea and for now it will be tagged onto a harness but as she grows I think we will introduce a chest support.

autotech1 (author)2017-09-05

I hate it when I see animals that have been injured. Fortunately they are more resilient that humans in some ways because they don't see other animals doing things in a "normal" way and think "Why can't I do that?" and they adapt to their handicap. But for those that are too young that the time it takes to adapt could place them in further danger, I am glad that there are people like you that can and do help. I have helped in the past by taking in two rabbits, (at separate times), one of which was abandoned; the other, the owner feared she would come home to a missing or dead pet because her parents hated animals. Kudos to you!

Thank you. Keep up your excellent work

Mr_Wolf_Is_Innocent (author)2017-09-05

Absolutely fantastic, not just the design which is too, but also doing this for an animal 99% of people would have just PTS.. this is an inspiration, (from one animal helper to another).

I'm glad you liked it. The vet wanted to put her to sleep but her rescuers are wonderful and saw the potential in her and saved her. She is a little character, you can see her on her Facebook page.

kirstencoeur (author)2017-09-05

So heartwarming and inspiring! Thank you for sharing this project.

No problem. Thank you for your comment

Bogie4570 (author)2017-09-05

Nice to see a 3d printer used for something practical. Helping an animal in distress is a high calling. Good for you. Acts of kindness are rare indeed. Ultimately there is a reward but for me the reward is the act itself. Bless you. Maybe others will follow.

I'm glad it turned out as it did. Keep up the good work

theal8r (author)2017-09-05

Thank you for doing this, the world would be a better place if everybody cared this much about their fellow creatures. You might want to cut the fingers off a pair of soft gloves to act as socks to protect Peggy's stumps.

This is just a small way to help peggy, the real work is being done by her new owners. Thanks for the tip,I'll pass it on.

CalebGreer (author)2017-09-05

Awww. This is a good project. Nice work!

Thank you

RobertO139 (author)2017-09-05

I rescue cats. I have rescued about 60 to 70 cats in my lifetime and currently live with 36 cats. I have dealt with several handicaps from limb loss, deafness, blindness, and I currently have two that are diabetic requiring twice daily insulin injections. I have learned a wealth of knowledge about cats and learn more every day. I learned that cats, and all animals I would guess, are so good at overcoming handicaps because they don't have the ability to feel sorry for themselves, unlike humans! Cats are amazing creatures. After suffering horrific abuses by mankind, they still have the ability to develop love and trust for us. I applaud your kindness, may you be reincarnated as one of my cats!!

You sound amazing! 36 cats, how do you keep track? I have 5 rescue dogs and 1 cat, we had a second but she had an rta. Keep up the good work and thanks for the support and your great work

serpi (author)2017-09-05

Wonderful!

Left-field Designs (author)serpi2017-09-05

Thank you

DorlisG (author)2017-09-05

I also rescue. I thank you very much for this. I have never had a disabled cat , just FELV and seniors.Any information on how to deal with the "dump" cats and dogs is very helpful, most of all, how to teach them to trust. Once they learn how to trust, they become the biggest lap babies in the world. They also become your helpers as I learned after just having heart surgery done. I had a couple of times where I could not get my breath and Homey head butted me and kept patting my face until she woke me so I could uncover my face. Cats are wonderful friends and I would not be without them.

Wow, sounds like you have a little guardian there. I'm glad you're okay after it.

Dakotamouse (author)2017-09-05

Awwwwwesome!

Thank you

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