High schoolers help crippled cat walk again

By Arturo Garcia
Saturday, January 26, 2013 22:06 EDT
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High schoolers help Flipper the cat walk again
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A group of robotics students in Colorado teamed up with a veterinarian to devise a life-saving solution for one crippled kitty.

According to CNN, the cat, Flipper, suffered a spine fracture that left her unable to control her hind legs, making it impossible for her to get around, and putting her in danger being put to sleep.

“Our problem was the spinal cord was twisted much like a telephone cable is twisted,” said Dr. Harry Gurney, who treated Flipper at his clinic in Aspen. “While half the body was going forward the other half of the body was going sideways.”

Gurney then turned to the “Blitz Robot” club at Conifer High School. After running through a few models, the team assembled a two-wheeled “cat cart” that secured Flipper to a harness while allowing her to use her front legs to push herself without further damage.

“I love cats, I love building things,” one team member said. “So the two come together, and that’s great.”

The device is a stopgap solution for Flipper; Gurney said he hopes to eventually help her spinal cord heal. But in the meantime, the cat was able to bound around the clinic in no time.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Jan Gurney, the clinic’s office manager. “It gives her a chance for a normal life. Our whole intent is that, eventually, she’ll be able to walk around on her own.”

Watch CNN’s report on the team that healed Flipper, aired on Thursday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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