‘Jelly Roller’ to the rescue: kitten finds freedom in homemade walker

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WATCH: When it comes to cute critters, it’s pretty hard to top a new litter of lively kittens. And as Gil Tucker shows us, it melts your heart even more when one those whiskered wonders is not only cute, but also courageous – Apr 27, 2018

When Kerri Ridge watches her new group of six-week-old kittens playing, there’s always one of them that really stands out from the rest of the litter: a black one named Jelly.

“I noticed when she was three weeks old that she wasn’t as mobile as her siblings,” Ridge said.

It turned out Jelly has a birth defect that resulted in lost leg control.

READ MORE: Puppy born without front legs gets fitted with new wheelchair

Jelly usually gets around by pulling herself along with her front paws, sometimes flipping around to reposition her body.

“It doesn’t get better and it doesn’t get worse,” Ridge said. “So this is how Jelly will be for her life.”

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Just like any kitten, Jelly enjoys spirited tussling with the two other kittens in the litter, Jam and Jiffy.

“She’s very high energy,” Ridge said. “What’s just so lovely about her is she doesn’t let it stop her.”

Pawsitive Match volunteer Kerri Ridge with kitten Jelly. Global News

The kittens, along with their mother Smitten, are with Ridge as part of her volunteer work with the Calgary-based animal rescue group Pawsitive Match.

She’s been with the organization for the past three years, providing a temporary home for animals while they wait to be adopted.

This is the first time she’s taken in an animal like Jelly, saying, “Sometimes it’s hard to look at and watch.”

WATCH: Patti Smadis from Calgary Animal Services drops by Global Calgary with Pesto, reminding citizens about their adoption programs.

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So Ridge starting looking for something that might make life a bit easier for Jelly, quickly getting a response from a fellow Pawsitive Match volunteer.

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“The request went out for someone handy,” Kevin Swanson said, “And I guess that’s me.”

Swanson happens to be an engineer. He put his talents to work to create a small walker for Jelly, complete with a sling which holds the kitten’s body.

“We tried to make this one as light as possible,” Swanson said. “The wheels are off of model airplanes actually. [It] gives her a little more mobility with her front legs. The idea is that we want her to develop the coordination and strength to pull herself along.”

Swanson said he’s glad to have the chance to do something for Jelly.

“She’s just a little cutie and you really want to help out — give her a chance,” Swanson said.

READ MORE: Calgary’s Regal Cat Cafe helping to re-home cats from city adoption centre

He’s even come up with a name for his creation: The Jelly Roller.

Ridge says Jam and Jiffy often try to jump right in on the action when their sister is in The Jelly Roller, and Smitten is right in there too.

“Mom loves to come and give her some encouragement in it,” Ridge said.

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Jelly should be up for adoption by late May and Ridge feels she’ll be fine with whatever lies ahead.

“She doesn’t give up.”

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