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Medicine Science

Bionic Cat Gets World's First Implant Paws 225

Posted by kdawson
from the ten-lives dept.
Several readers send in the news of Oscar, the first bionic cat, whose hind paws got cut off in a harvester accident. In a world's-first operation, a neurosurgeon has now given him exoprosthetic paws that are implanted directly into his leg bones. The BBC artlcle has a video captured just after the operation, and PopSci has an apparently later one in which Oscar is walking and running almost completely normally.
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Bionic Cat Gets World's First Implant Paws

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  • We can rebuild him. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Altruist (1448701) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:21PM (#32693062)

    We have the technology.

  • Portal cat? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gregthebunny (1502041) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:21PM (#32693064) Journal

    Those implants look a lot like Chell's heel springs. (image [wikimedia.org])

  • by CTalkobt (81900) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:57PM (#32693702) Homepage
    My 3 legged cat doesn't really use her stump that much except when climbing steps...

    She's developed the ability that when the front 2 paws are on the higher step, and her good back leg is on the lower step she'll angle her butt so that the stump is at the edge of the top step. The little stump will then twirl and while it's doing it's think she'll bring the back leg up and keep going.

    Watching it almost reminds me of those famous horse pictures proving that a horse has 4 feet off the ground at a time...

  • by HBI (604924) <kparadine AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:17PM (#32694030) Homepage Journal

    My gf lived on a farm (her mom still owns it) and had a whole load of barn cats. Like, dozens. Barn cats are semi-tame, not a housecat but not feral, either. The kittens would follow her around in a line, and the older ones would come to her for loving up. The cats were tolerated (and fed a bit) because they kept the barns and grounds free of vermin. It's a common practice, at least in Minnesota.

    She's a cat whisperer now. Works the front desk at the vet and can calm down and get friendly with almost any cat, even sick ones. I've seen her stick her fingers into cats' mouths to check out their gums and teeth, make the toes spread and claws pop out by pressing the center pad of the cats' paws, all with no resistance from the cat. The kittens are pacified with a clutch of their neck scruff, but the older cats are a mystery as to how she does it.

  • by LowlyWorm (966676) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:33PM (#32694260) Homepage
    I had a three legged cat. It lost one of its front legs. Whenever it used the litter box it couldn't really bury its business but it did waive its nub around in the air.
  • Cat Pain Tolerance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TinBromide (921574) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:33PM (#32694270)
    Just as a point of interest, there were a series of experiments (honest to goodness animal cruelty WITHOUT benefit) to test the pain tolerance of various animals. One of the results of the experiment was that the scientist concluded that cats did not feel pain. This was later proven to be false, but because cats evolved as a unique mix of predators/prey (they're not the alpha carnivore) and as a solitary creature, there was no benefit to showing external signs of pain. In fact, it could put them at risk, so cats will actively hide it.

    Now if you step on a cat's tail, it'll freak out, so there's none of that kind of pain going on, but cats are really good at hiding chronic pain, so simply because the cats are good at hiding pain doesn't mean that these implants are pain free.
  • Re:Bionic? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:47PM (#32695248)

    Well it's not quite that simple. Depends on your definition of "bionics":

    bionics - The study of functions, characteristics and phenomena observed in the living world and the application of this knowledge to the world of machines.

    Bionics (also known as biomimicry, biomimetics, bio-inspiration, biognosis, and close to bionical creativity engineering) is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.

    I think people may be tempted to call these "bionic" rather than "prosthetic" because they're actually attached to the cat's legs (to the bone) instead of simply being something that is strapped on to the cat.

    Personally, because of how "bionic" is generally used, I think it should generally meet the following criteria before it's considered "bionic":

    1) It is connected to or implanted in the body in such a way that it is permanent. If you take your arm off to sleep or shower, than it's a prosthetic arm. If you wear it 24 hours a day and can't easily remove it, then it can be considered "bionic".

    2) It should function better than (or at least as well as) the body part it is replacing. If I have an electronic eye that restores some limited sight, that's... I don't know what it is, but I hesitate to call it bionic. If my prosthetic eye offers better resolution than a normal eye and can also see ultra-violet and infra-red, then it's definitely bionic.

  • by ortholattice (175065) on Friday June 25, 2010 @04:14PM (#32695662)

    Somewhat off-topic (but the story is about cat surgery, so...), over the past year, a cyst/tumor started to grow on my cat's forehead. When it grew to about 1.5cm diam., the vet said it would keep growing, eventually into her eye, if it wasn't removed. She quoted $850 for the surgery, much of it the cost of anesthesia and monitoring. After fretting over it for some weeks, and draining it every few days (which the vet said I'd have to do for the rest of her life without the surgery) to keep the pressure down and make it grow slower, I had an idea. Cat fur is very loose and pliable, so I pulled the tumor away from her skull, formed it into a kind of ball, and tied a rubber band very tightly around the base to cut off the circulation. (I don't think this caused her any pain; she was purring during the whole procedure.) Within a week and a half it dried up and shrank to the size of a raisin. The skin just under the rubber band fused together, and last week, about 6 weeks later, the tumor fell off by itself (rubber band still attached). Now there is just a tiny reddish spot where the tumor used to be. I thought that perhaps I should patent my "method to cure cat skin tumors with a rubber band", but upon researching it, I found that apparently Hippocrates suggested this technique in 460 BC.

  • Re:Heh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vegeta99 (219501) <rjlynn@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday June 25, 2010 @05:34PM (#32696798)

    Lol dude, you're not the only one. I'm 23, and I live in an apt complex that's a little cramped for a big dog (little dogs are just furry footballs, screw that), so I got a cat. Anyone who says that cats are completely independent and don't love their owners hasn't ever had a cool cat. I had a kitten that I knew had FLV and was going to die for 11 months and it was the coolest thing ever. He'd play fetch, come running to the door when I came home from school just like a dog, followed me everywhere like a puppy. Plus, instead of jumping on the bed and pushing you off as soon as you're asleep like a dog, he'd curl up on my pillow and purr.

    And he didn't do the whole "run away and die" thing either, when the mass he had in his chest cavity finally got to his lungs and his time had come, he climbed up on the couch and laid on my lap, and let me know it was time to go to the vet. I don't think I've ever been so upset about losing a pet.

    I went to the Humane Society a few months later and picked up a "freebie" cat that had been there too long without a home and was going to be put down. Needless to say, he's the happiest cat in the world. Pets are what you make of them, I think. This guys just as playful as my last cat, and never leaves my side. Then again, my apt is covered in cat toys, stuff to climb on, and I've got two lasers to drive him nuts with.

    Still love dogs, but cats are equal... and I think they're a bit smarter and self-aware.

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