Wednesday 25 April 2018

Wheelchair-bound Irish cat gets another Chance thanks to owner’s devotion and intense physiotherapy

Chance pictured in his wheelchair
Chance pictured in his wheelchair

Sarah Slater

A cat confined to a wheelchair after suffering life-changing injuries has defied all the odds and is now on the prowl again.

Chance was hit by a car last year and was left with serious injuries, resulting in him being unable to use his back legs and being fitted with a novel animal wheelchair.

But the determined cat didn’t like his new wheels and now has managed to get back 80pc use of his legs due to physiotherapy and the dedicated help of his owner.

Paul Dempsey from Baltinglass, Co Wicklow fostered Chance when he was a young cat from rescue group, Cats Without Homes, after his original owner gave him up following the accident. He is now setting up the country’s only sanctuary for disabled and special needs cats called TLC/The Last Chance Sanctuary.

“Initially, X-rays showed that Chance suffered spinal injuries and nothing could be done to help him other than rest and physiotherapy, but I really wanted to see if I could do more for him,” said Paul.

Paul went to see celebrity ­veterinary surgeon Dr Pete Wedderburn in Bray, Co ­Wicklow, to see if he could help Chance in any way, as he was fearful his cat would develop ulcers on his back legs from dragging them along the ground.

Chance regained 80pc use of his legs after his operation and physiotherapy
Chance regained 80pc use of his legs after his operation and physiotherapy

They discussed trying to fit Chance with a wheelchair to help him get around and after a fundraising campaign purchased the €420 piece of equipment.

“Chance didn’t like it (wheelchair) much and despite spending a few weeks gradually getting him use to his hind legs being supported by wheels, he was not enjoying it and he seemed depressed,” said Paul.

“We sent the wheelchair back to the UK company and got a 70pc refund. It was worth a go, but Chance was just not going to be a wheelchair cat.


“Chance, who is now two, is still very wobbly but is getting around without dragging his legs which is just mind boggling. To me, he is just an amazing cat and full of determination.

“He has inspired me so much that I had started another campaign on to set up a small cat sanctuary to cater for up to 10 special needs and disabled cats near Baltinglass.

“Not only has Chance inspired me and many others who support and follow him on his Facebook page.

Paul has so far managed to raise more than €3,800, but needs to find another €1,000 to pay for the unit and €700 a month to run the sanctuary. Moss Veterinary Hospital in Naas, Co Kildare will be helping with the medical care.

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