3D printer saves three-legged kitten

An article I wrote for Electronic Products.

Small 3D printer company gives three-legged kitten a second chance

By now we’ve heard of human body parts such as ears, bones, and even kidneys being 3D-printed, but how about a cat leg? Though cat owner Jenn Ruliffson wasn’t exactly sure how her kitten Sasha was injured, she knew something was up, as the kitten began dragging both of her back legs.

Sasha the Kitten
Sasha, the injured kitten whose leg will be replaced with a 3D-printed prosthetic. Image via bizjournals.com.

Ruliffson took Sasha to the nearby Jacksonville Humane Society for surgery in Jacksonville, FL, and according to a local newspaper, Sasha’s injury was so bad that her back right paw actually fell off. But thanks to Forge, a 3D-printing business located in Jacksonville, the kitten will soon have a custom-designed 3D-printed prosthetic leg. 

Forge owners Bryce Pfanenstiel and Adam Dukes are currently designing the leg in hopes of attaching it to Sasha with a hinge to simulate a back paw. The studio, which is a custom workshop that digitally scans images to create molds that are pumped out of a specialized 3D printer, opened in July and is the only one of its kind in the city.

After the surgery, Sasha is missing three inches from the ankle joint down on her back right leg. Scanning the dimensions of her missing limb into Forge’s specialized software wasn’t an option, as Sasha isn’t comfortable letting strangers touch what’s left of her leg. Pfanenstiel and Dukes are in the process of making a cast for the kitten’s existing back paw and scanning that instead. They took measurements by hand to create the schematics for a first prototype.

For now, Sasha is making good use of her remaining stump, hobbling around the house and finding ways to claw her way onto the couch. Ruliffson requests that Forge adds soft padding and toe articulation for her kitten, hoping to give her confidence and improve her ability to jump. The company is considering offering Ruliffson a significant discount since creating the prosthetic provides a learning experience for them.

Story via bizjournals.com.

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