Paralyzed Kitten is Off and Running Thanks to Tiny Wheelchair
By Samantha Drake
Mac N’ Cheez, a tiny abandoned kitten, may never walk properly, but he has a promising future thanks to a veterinarian, a team of vet techs, and the social media spotlight.
Nicknamed Mac, the three-week-old kitten was discovered with his motherless littermates in a Massapequa, N.Y., backyard. While the rest of the litter eventually found homes, Mac’s hind legs were paralyzed and his future could have been bleak. But Mac’s rescuer brought him to Dr. Ned Horowitz, owner of Massapequa Pet Vet.
The staff immediately swooped in with care and affection for Mac, and four vet techs put their heads together to design and build a kitten-sized wheelchair made partially from K’Nex building toys. As a video posted on YouTube on May 7 shows, Mac was soon zipping around the office on his new set of wheels. The video quickly racked up more than 140,000 views.
Horowitz says Mac’s paralysis is likely caused by a neurological problem; X-rays showed no evidence of any bone fractures. While the kitten’s condition is improving, he’ll probably never have full use of his legs. “I think he’s always going to have some paralysis in his back legs,” says Horowitz. However, Mac has full control over his bodily functions and no other health issues, which is good news for his adoption prospects, adds Horowitz.
Now 8 weeks old, Mac has an upgraded kitty wheelchair that the vet techs crafted out of K’Nex wheels, copper wire, electrical tape, and soft bandage material. Mac is quickly getting up to speed on learning how to be an active, happy kitten. He spends his days at the office running around in his wheelchair, playing and snuggling with his best feline friend Reedus, and doing physical therapy in a small pool with vet tech Gabby Nania, who is also fostering him and serves as his social media coordinator.
“He’s always had a bright personality,” says Nania.
“He’s a ham,” Horowitz adds. “He loves attention.”
Water therapy takes pressure off Mac’s back legs and encourages the kitten to try to move them, Nania explains. Mac enjoys the increased freedom of movement and the warm water helps stimulate blood flow, she says. Mac has been going in the water since he was three weeks old so he gets wet without hesitation.
At night, Mac goes home with Nania, where he gets along well with her dog and three cats.
Unsurprisingly, Massapequa Pet Vet has received thousands of inquiries about adopting the adorable Mac; any prospective adopter will be carefully evaluated. “No matter what, he’s going to end up in a good home,” says Horowitz.
Mac’s fans can keep updated on his progress by visiting Massapequa Pet Vet’s Facebook page, the Facebook page for Horowitz’s not-for-profit organization Long Island Wildlife & Animal Rescue, or Mac’s own Twitter page.
All images courtesy Massapequa Pet Vet