Why do cats need wheelchairs?
A cat wheelchair is a supportive device that gives a cat the support they need to walk and run. There are many medical reasons why a cat may need a wheelchair including:
- Cerebellar Hypoplasia
- Spinal conditions
- Vestibular disease
- Hind leg weakness caused by heart disease
A cat wheelchair provides stability, balance, and support. The right wheelchair for your cat will depend on your cat’s specific medical needs. Cats that struggle to maintain their balance due to cerebellar hypoplasia need a four-wheel wheelchair that fully supports their front and back legs. Whereas a cat with paralyzed back legs or dealing with a hind leg amputation will likely need a rear cart only to stay active.
A cat does not need to be fully paralyzed to benefit from a wheelchair. A cat with full use of its hind legs can still use their legs while in a wheelchair. The wheelchair can be crucial to an injured cat’s rehabilitation and encourage them to use their hind legs more by making it easier to walk since they aren’t bearing their full weight on their back legs.
How do you know if your cat needs a cart?
Your veterinarian can help you determine if a cat wheelchair is the best solution for your cat. However, a simple test called the towel test can help you to see whether a cart can help. Take a towel or long scarf and place it in front of your cat’s back legs. While holding onto either end of the towel gently lift until you are fully supporting your cat’s back legs. If they can step forward and walk as you assist them it’s a good indication that they need a wheelchair.
Are paralyzed cats happy?
Yes, paralyzed cats are very happy and aside from their mobility issues, they lead long and pain-free lives. Although caring for a paralyzed cat may take a little extra time and attention, they love that a special needs cat has to give makes it all worthwhile. With the right mobility support and medical attention, there is no reason why a paralyzed cat can not enjoy a long and happy life.
Can a cat pee or poop while using a wheelchair?
Yes, a cat can pee and poop while in its wheelchair. The leg rings provide support from underneath your cat, leaving plenty of space in front and behind for your feline to pee and poop naturally while standing up.
If your cat uses a litter box it can be a bit more challenging for a handicapped cat, but still possible. Your kitty’s litter box may need some modification, especially in the front. A disabled cat needs a low entry point so that they can enter the box while in their wheelchair. A paralyzed cat may also need a wider than normal litter box to allow them to turn around when inside. Some cat parents find it easier to remove their cat from the wheelchair and place them in the litter box to do their business.
How do you put a cat into a wheelchair?
Getting your cat or kitten into their Walkin’ Wheels cat wheelchair is easier than you think. First, put on the front harness and adjust the harness to a comfortable fit. Back the cart up behind your cat and place their hind legs through the leg rings before lifting on the side extenders and clipping the harness into place.
How do you help a cat adjust to using a wheelchair?
Unlike dogs, most cats aren’t used to wearing a harness or collar which can make it challenging to get them to accept using a wheelchair right away. First, introduce your cat to the front harness of the wheelchair. Put the chest harness on them and let them wear it at all times, this helps them adjust to how the harness feels and will ease the introduction of the wheelchair. Once your cat is comfortable, it’s time to place your cat into their cart. Make it a fun experience for your cat with lots of praise and treats. Use the wheelchair for short periods and build up your cat’s confidence. If your cat seems stressed or scared, take them out of the wheelchair and try again later when they’ve calmed down. They’ll be ready to explore the world in their wheelchair in no time!