Scouts buy new wheels for kitten

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Dr. David Connell held Oscar while Jennifer Smith and other members of Daisy Troop 7221 took turns petting him. "He wears his emotions on his sleeve," Connell says of the kitten, who purrs loudly when pleased. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

Born under a porch in downtown Guttenberg, a kitten now called Oscar was delivered to the Guttenberg Veterinary Clinic for euthanization last summer. Oscar’s hind legs were severely deformed from the knee down, and veterinarian David Connell explains the kitten would likely have become food for a hungry predator if left on his own. 

Thanks to the wisdom and kindness of the Guttenberg vet, and now thanks to a local troop of Girl Scouts, Oscar’s nine lives will be spent in good health and good company.

“It didn’t look like much else was wrong with him, so we decided to keep him here at the clinic,” said Connell. “He started scooting around, and we got a kick out of it.” In fact, Oscar has no trouble at all getting from place to place. He played with other kittens that were also at the clinic waiting to be adopted, and started gaining weight due to his healthy appetite. 

Daisy Troop 7221, led by Lynda Schaeffers, Stephanie Horns and Tessa Dietrich, toured the Guttenberg Veterinary Clinic just after Oscar’s second surgery, which removed the underdeveloped bones in one of his back legs.  Veterinary technician Shannon Knack talked to the scouts about Oscar’s situation, mentioning the possibility of a wheelchair for Oscar. “She wasn’t sure if they could afford it,” recalls Dietrich. 

The Daisies decided to make Oscar’s mobility their next project. They held a bake sale, put up posters, and collected free-will donations in honor of the kitten. On Tuesday, March 24, the troop presented the Guttenberg Veterinary Clinic with a check for $200 to benefit Oscar. 

Daisy Loretta Pierce, daughter of Betty and Paul Pierce, explains, “We saved money to get him a wheelchair because he doesn’t have any back legs.” Loretta, like the other Daisy Scouts, was immediately taken with Oscar. “I met him by petting him, and I liked him because he was cute and he was nice,” she told The Press. 

Knack has done research on the possibilities for Oscar, and says that the feline wheelchair company recommends waiting until kittens are 10-12 months old and done growing before fitting them for a set of wheels. Cats with disabled hind legs can adapt to wearing a harness attached to two rear wheels that make it easier to move, but it is a process. 

“The hardest part will be to get him to use it,” says Connell. “I’ve seen a couple of dogs use wheelchairs and they adapted really well – but it takes time to get them used to that stuff.” 

The Guttenberg Veterinary Clinic is home to three permanent feline residents, all with disabilities of some sort. A friendly white female named Gringa with an eye injury moved in several years ago. Johnny, a cat who was heinously thrown from a moving vehicle, has lovingly cared for many kittens waiting to be adopted from the clinic. 

“Thank you so much for working so hard,” Knack congratulated the Daisies. “Oscar appreciates it.” Each member of the Daisy Scouts quietly waited in line to pet the kitten, who loves to have his chin scratched (without hind legs, he can’t reach that spot himself). 

Connell expects that the Daisy’s contribution will completely cover the cost of a wheelchair for Oscar, who could be rolling around by the end of the summer. 

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