Planet Earth

Meet Oscar, the Bionic Cat

DiscoblogBy Joseph CalamiaJun 28, 2010 9:24 PM

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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 Sciencenotes 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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