18 October 2010

Cat loses hind legs but thanks to vet becomes 'bionic'

Oscar is one lucky black cat. After the napping cat lost his lower hind legs when he was run over by a combine harvester, Oscar was close to death. Even if he survived the horrific accident, life would not be easy for a two legged cat.

A local vet in Surrey, England, suggested that Oscar’s owners, Kate and Mike Nolan take Oscar to Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick, a veterinary surgeon who specializes in prosthetics. After a three hour surgery Fitzpatrick outfitted Oscar with custom made prosthetic paws that are attached to Oscar’s ankles.

After several months of rehabilitation, Oscar is now up and about, and although he is reportedly not chasing mice, Oscar can perform all the normal feline activities. "Oscar can now run and jump about as cats should do," Dr. Fitzpatrick said.

The revolutionary surgery was the first of its kind and could serve as a model for human prosthetics.

Oscar’s story as well as Dr. Fitzpatrick’s pioneering work to save and improve the lives of animals is chronicled in the BBC documentary series “The Bionic Vet." So far it has not aired in the US, but let’s hope it does soon.

Robin Lawless | @robmlaw
Robin lives in NYC with her cat Maggie where she follows a vegetarian lifestyle, practices yoga, and volunteers at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Follow Robin on Facebook

Photo credit: video screen capture