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Medicine Science

Bionic Cat Gets World's First Implant Paws 225

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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  • And? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:14PM (#32692936) Journal

    Big deal, they have been grafting lasers onto sharks for years now.

    After all, everyone deserves a hot meal.

  • Claws (Score:5, Funny)

    by IflyRC ( 956454 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:14PM (#32692948)
    Does this mean that the kitty gets adamantium claws next?
  • Perhaps (Score:5, Funny)

    by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:16PM (#32692972)
    they should have replaced his paws with rabbit feet, that way he might be luckier next time he meets farm machinery.
  • Can opener (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:16PM (#32692988) Homepage

    They should have given him can opener paws so he could open his own tuna.

  • You know this [nbc.com] is inevitable.

    Also, something can be 'completely normal' or 'almost normal', but not 'almost completely normal'
    • by siride ( 974284 )
      Why can't you say "almost completely normal"?
      • by MagicM ( 85041 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:25PM (#32693134)

        Because that's almost completely ridiculous.

      • by Deosyne ( 92713 )

        Wouldn't that be "nearly normal?"

        • by siride ( 974284 )

          I know language pedants can't handle shades of meaning or synonyms, but "almost completely normal" != "nearly normal". Sure, in a loose, denotational sense, it does. However, the implication is different. In the latter, the speaker is implying that while the object in question is not normal, it is close. Maybe not particularly close, but not really far either. In the former, the speaker is emphasizing that the object in question is, in fact, very close to being normal. "Completely normal" is itself an

    • by Itninja ( 937614 )
      Because 'almost' means "nearly in it's entirety", and 'completely' means "in entirety". So it's like saying 'it's nearly entirely entirely normal.
  • We can rebuild him. (Score:3, Interesting)

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

    We have the technology.

    • But I don't want to spend a lot of money.
  • 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])

  • Bionic? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by c0nehead ( 581714 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:22PM (#32693072) Homepage
    bionic adj 1: of or relating to bionics 2: having particular physiological functions augmented or replaced by electronic or electromechanical components So, not a bionic cat. A prosthesisic cat.
    • Indeed. Reading the summary I had expected to see a borgified kitty, or at least something H.R. Geiger-ish. Instead, it's a normal prosthetic (with the exception that it's grafted to tissue directly).

    • One glance at the picture in the article and it's clear that what we be dealin with be a Pirate cat. And if Pirate Cat says he be bionic, he be bionic. You can tell im different, if ye don't be valuin yer pretty face. Yar har har!

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      True, it's not a bionic cat, but it isn't a prosthesisic cat, either -- protheses are removable. It's a cyborg cat. However, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] disagrees with Mirriam-Webster [merriam-webster.com] about what a cyborg is. Wikipedia:

      A cyborg or a cybernetic organism has living tissue over metal endoskeleton (i.e. an organism that has both artificial and natural systems).

      I would point out that the endoskeleton doesn't have to be metal; I know cyborgs with artificial joints that aren't metal, although the earlier artificial joints were. The

  • Slow motion (Score:5, Funny)

    by www.sorehands.com ( 142825 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:22PM (#32693080) Homepage

    The bionic cat in the video looks like it is running in slow motion, but we all know it is running at 60mph.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:25PM (#32693142)

    I guess the press can't interview him. But I was just wondering if he accepted his new paws, or tried to bite them off? I mean, even some humans have some problems with new limbs, and they can understand what is going on.

    What is going on in that cat's head right now?

    Any cat psychologists on Slashdot?

    "WTF!?!?! Where the hell did these come from!?!?! Oh, well, at least I can walk again."

    "Hey, you, Walks-on-two-Legs! Where's my dinner! A tin of tuna would be a nice change from that dry stuff!"

  • That cat needs to lose another 20 ounces, OR IT'LL NEVER BE PRETTY!
  • Heh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moogied ( 1175879 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:37PM (#32693368)
    I don't know about anyone else, but this story really cheered me up. +1 to whatever admin approved it, thank you. You cheered up an otherwise crappy day with stories of kitty happyness. :) (....23 year old straight male.... NOT 80 year old lady)
    • Ditto.
    • You know Slashdot culture is bad when people feel the need to disclaim their happiness by saying they're not gay or a woman.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vegeta99 ( 219501 )

      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 pu

  • by ifrag ( 984323 )
    Is it bad that I think this cat looks cooler than one which still has all of its original limbs? I suppose PETA would go crazy if people started having this done to animals which had not been in "accidents".
  • whose hind paws got cut off in a harvester accident

    can bionic ears be too far behind now? [fanpop.com]
  • i wonder if the treatment included retraining the cat on burying its business in the cat box.
  • Suddenly, it's not such a good time to be a mouse anymore!
  • Not Bionic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaWorm666 ( 553934 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:49PM (#32693574)
    Bionic = Biological + Electronic. Where's the electronic part of all this?
    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      There's none.

      This is a Biotape cat. Biological + duct tape.

    • S: (adj) electronic (of or concerned with electrons)
      Metal contains electrons
      The posts grown into kitty's legs are metal
      Kitty is now electronic.

    • The electronics will be in the upgraded version.

      This is just to get Oscar used to them, then they will add the servo-boosters and pulse thrusters so he'll be able to nail a bird in flight 22 meters off the ground and kick a harvester into the next county.
  • The mice arranged to a bell included in the specification. Cunning little buggers.

  • Katt Williams would say this cat's in touch with his star playa!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qlNEmpxQxI [youtube.com] (NSFW - wear headphones)

  • whassat? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:56PM (#32693686)


    Oscar was struck by the combine harvester whilst dozing in the sun.

    I think the first order of business should have been some hearing aids.

  • by WilliamBaughman ( 1312511 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:57PM (#32693704)

    What happened to the "You're a kitty!" tag? I think it's very appropriate. For those who haven't seen it, XKCD's "Cat Proximity" http://xkcd.com/231/ [xkcd.com]

  • That's a good amputee-cat video, but there is no running. There's accelerated walking, call it scampering if you want, but it's not running [freeuk.com].

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      He's a bionic cat. He's running extremely fast but they show us the video in slow-motion otherwise all we'd see is a black blur.

  • Pirate Cat! (Score:4, Funny)

    by ArbitraryDescriptor ( 1257752 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:59PM (#32693736)
    They really should have gone with a faux-wood finish on those prostheses.
  • by Gavin Scott ( 15916 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:00PM (#32693746)

    Cats in a farming environment generally seem to be considered disposable and people who grew up on farms rarely seem to be cat lovers.

    Cats apparently like to hang out and hide in fields of grain, and after any harvesting/mowing operation you end up with a lot of cut grain and a field full of legless cats.

    My father once described having the job as a kid of going out into the field with the .22 rifle he got for his birthday and having to shoot all the maimed cats to put them out of their misery.

    So this is one damn lucky cat.


    • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:17PM (#32694030) 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.

    • after any harvesting/mowing operation you end up with a lot of cut grain and a field full of legless cats.

      That image makes me chuckle. I must be a bad person. I actually like cats, but it still makes me chuckle.

    • Cats hunt the mice and other rodents that eat the grain.

      One lucky cat indeed.
  • Sounds like we have a new lolcat meme.
  • Finally met his match!

  • A friend of mine has a dog that is missing one of its back legs. The dog runs around at full speed, fetches the ball and plays with other dogs. Unless you look really closely, if your first sight of the dog was it playing and running around, you'd never notice that it was missing a leg.

  • 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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Ddalex ( 647089 )
      My cats would let me know when they are in pain, either chronic or acute. On chronic pain I'd see 'meow' movements of the mouth without sound, curling up on me, or increased keading. Massaging the back of the neck always helps since it triggers serotonin release and calms the cat down. Works on older cats too. I've never seen any cat making sounds on chronic pain. But this doesn't mean that the signs aren't in there if you look for them.
  • by s122604 ( 1018036 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:38PM (#32694336)
    The through-the-skin interface is the real story

    Huge implications if this can be approved for human use.

    Getting something to anchor postively to the remaining bone and go through the skin, yet be sealed, so its not a huge source of infection would be a big big deal.

    Getting a prosthesis to properly fit into a stump has always been hard, and expensive, and doesn't even work that great when its executed perfectly.

    It often also being a source of lifelong discomfort, skin irritation, and annoyance.

    What I'd envision is a permanent bone-interface protruding and few inches or so, with a strong locking mechanical interface on the other side, so that the user can tailor the prosthesis to the occasion
  • I can witness it personally...

    50 days ago, one of my two cats (both aged 8 months old at the time - they are brothers) was hit by a car. Cadfael (that's his name - he's a male with all his "attributes" and I have no intention to change that) crawled to our neighbour's doors (100 meters away) in spite of his having a broken basin on one side and a broken leg on the other!

    After a heavy-duty surgery and a 3-week antibiotic-based post-operation treatment (causing diarrhea in the process) (along with an enforced

    • I guess the fast recovery has something to do with the fact that they live shorter. (Faster metabolism compared to humans, higher pulse etc.)

  • This isn't new tech (Score:2, Informative)

    by ItsPete ( 1393083 )
    I was involved with a company who did this work on a Siberian Husky in 2007. CBS News in Colorado: http://www.cbs4denver.com/video/?id=28412@kcnc.dayport.com [cbs4denver.com] Triumph's website: http://triumphthedog.net/ [triumphthedog.net]
  • I for one welcome our new bionic feline overlords.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN