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Thumper, disabled kitten, used innovative walker to learn to walk and play

Meet Thumper. He was abandoned in a backyard with eight other kittens, except he wasn't like the others. He had a rare neurological condition that kept him from walking. In October of 2013, The Pet Collective posted a video on YouTube of Thumper, showing his journey after People and Cats Together (PACT) rescued him.

Chase can run, jump, and use his back legs to scratch itches. Thumper had considerably  more trouble with things like this. Thanks to PACT, he got much better.
Eve-Angeline Mitchell

It was clear to his rescuers at PACT that there was something wrong. They didn't say what exactly their vet diagnosed poor Thumper with, but they knew that there was no cure. He was born with it. Thumper fell farther and farther behind his littermates in terms of play skills and social skills, because he had so much trouble getting around.

All of this went down in 2013, but that doesn't make his story less remarkable. Thumper's hind legs and back didn't work right; he had a lot of trouble getting around. He would try to walk, and he would fall over after a step or two. He couldn't jump, he couldn't pounce, and he couldn't run. He often dragged himself across the floor on his front paws. PACT knew they needed to help him.

The Huffington Post wrote about him when PACT first posted the video of his success on YouTube. According to their article, some cats with this disorder recover, but others don't. However, Thumper would surely have died if he'd been left outside. A cat that can't walk, let alone run or climb, can neither hunt nor evade predators.

PACT rescuers decided they needed to find a way to help him. Even a failure would be better than not trying at all. They built a walker for Thumper, with a harness, and put him in it, hoping that he could build his legs to the point where he might be able to walk on his own.

Did it work? Well, Thumper was able to start playing with his littermates and acting like a normal kitten, after they worked with him in the walker. He still has some trouble, but not nearly the trouble he was having before. In fact, he was doing so well that PACT was able to put him up for adoption. Watch the video to see his remarkable story.

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