Meet Oscar, the Bionic Cat

By Joseph Calamia | June 28, 2010 5:24 pm

It’s a happy ending for Oscar. While lazing in the sun, the British cat lost his two hind paws in a tragic combine harvester accident. But after receiving two bionic paws from Noel Fitzpatrick, a veterinary surgeon based in Surrey, the lucky black cat can now continue crossing many paths.

Oscar really is a bionic cat, as these aren’t just any prosthetic paws. They’re called “intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics” (ITAP)–which means that the skin from Oscar’s amputated legs can actually grow into the prostheses, like a deer’s skin grows into its antlers. This skintight solution reduces the chance of infection.

As Fitzpatrick told the BBC, which will feature Oscar on a show called The Bionic Vet (see video excerpt):

“The real revolution with Oscar is [that] we have put a piece of metal and a flange into which skin grows into an extremely tight bone.”

Though it’s the first surgery of its kind on a cat, Popular Science notes that these special legs may soon help human amputees as well. Researchers are currently testing ITAP technology on humans, including a victim of the 2005 London bombings.

Related content:
Discoblog: When Humans Get Animal Prosthetics: Amputee Fitted With Mermaid Fin
Discoblog: “Air Guitar Hero” Helps Amputees Test Out New Arms
Discoblog: Step One in Your Surgery: Swallow the Microscopic Hands
Discoblog: Bizarre Disorder Makes People Want to Sever Their Own Limbs


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