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Bionic Cat
Old 06-26-2010, 11:08 PM   #1
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Bionic Cat

For all the cat lovers on this forum.
I just loved this story about Oscar the cat and his new back feet along with the video showing him walking around for the first time on them. They also put black tape around the feet so they would match the black cat.

BBC News - Bionic feet for amputee cat
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:10 AM   #2
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Guess I might be on the other side of this one and have to agree with my wife. I would have had the cat put down when this happened. I like animals (2 cats 2 dogs)......but there is just something wrong with this.
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Old 06-27-2010, 08:41 AM   #3
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Here's a take on this from The Daily Mash, which is the UK's equivalent of The Onion.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:23 AM   #4
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Maybe things that were learned from Oscar's treatment, can benefit people.

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Guess I might be on the other side of this one and have to agree with my wife. I would have had the cat put down when this happened. I like animals (2 cats 2 dogs)......but there is just something wrong with this.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:24 AM   #5
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Benefit people....hmmm....likely it is the other way around. This cat won't be able to climb or really use it's legs. There is a bad enough habit in the US that allows the de-clawing of cats. Look that up if you want to see something pretty nasty.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:03 PM   #6
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Guess I might be on the other side of this one and have to agree with my wife. I would have had the cat put down when this happened. I like animals (2 cats 2 dogs)......but there is just something wrong with this.
I feel both ways about it. It certainly looks strange to see Oscar walking around on his metal paws, and I don't know if I could deal with seeing a cat of mine in the same condition. OTOH, it does not appear from the video I saw (I had to look on you-tube as this one would not play for me) that he's in any pain or at all bothered by his new legs. He wasn't chewing or over-grooming them as he would probably do if they hurt or itched. I think you're probably right that he won't be able to climb, and I doubt he will be able to run or jump either. But he seems to get around very well otherwise. On the clip I saw, he was sedated while the paws were attached to the metal pins that had been surgically implanted earlier. As soon as the sedative wore off, Oscar was up and walking. He looked a bit wobbly (which may have been because the sedative wasn't completely out of his system yet) but within minutes had gotten over the low barriers that were supposed to be keeping him in a small area for safety.

The thing about animals is that they don't have the mental difficulties with such things that a human might have. As far as we can tell, Oscar doesn't think to himself, "boy, my back feet sure look strange", he just uses them as if they were the ones he was born with. It's amazing what animals learn to cope with—I recently listened to the audio version of Homer's Odyssey , the biography of a cat who was blind his whole life due to the loss of both his eyes to a serious infection before they had ever opened.

If I had a cat that was run over by a harvester, I probably would have had it put down too. It says something for Oscar's will to live that there was any decision left to make by the time he got to the vet. Frankly, I'm surprised he survived that long. But in such a case, my decision would be largely based on the expense, and my own emotional response to a cat with metal feet, not on a feeling it would somehow be wronging the cat. I hope Oscar continues to adapt well, and as long as he's not suffering or in distress, that maybe something is learned from him that will help others. I think there are many soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who've survived wounds that would have been fatal in earlier wars, sometimes including multiple amputations. Maybe Oscar can help doctors learn to put them back on their feet again.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:09 PM   #7
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Benefit people....hmmm....likely it is the other way around. This cat won't be able to climb or really use it's legs. There is a bad enough habit in the US that allows the de-clawing of cats. Look that up if you want to see something pretty nasty.
Due to arthritis, one of my 14 year old cats can no longer jump or run (and hasn't been able to for several years now). She's still a good companion who brightens our lives. I certainly wouldn't euthanize her.
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:56 PM   #8
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He'll be outside howling at night and killing birds for recreation during the day in no time!

Mike D. - who once had 11 cats at the same time during a period of intense compassion
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:54 PM   #9
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I'm with F4mandolin on this. But I think the new feet are too long. I wonder if he could have done better with just the stumps.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:03 PM   #10
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Guess I might be on the other side of this one and have to agree with my wife. I would have had the cat put down when this happened. I like animals (2 cats 2 dogs)......but there is just something wrong with this.
I don't think I could answer as an absolute one way or another. (I am assuming for this discussion, finances aren't a concern. The best interests of the animal are first and foremost.)

So much would depend on other factors: the age of the cat, whether the cat was strictly an indoor cat and the amount of future procedures and treatments a cat would have to endure come to mind.

Animals (especially house pets like cats and dogs) are remarkably resilient after losing body parts, and often seem to have no problem functioning and enjoying life after undergoing an adjustment and compensation period. If the prognosis was such that a cat might expect another pretty good 5-10 years with little or no discomfort or need for ongoing treatment, I could see doing this. If it were a considerably older cat, the decision would lean more toward euthanasia. If the likelihood was that there was going to be little chance the cat could adapt and adjust, that it would need ongoing care and treatment for the problem, that it would be in considerable pain for life -- again, probably don't do it.

But a two year old cat, particularly an 100% indoor "only pet" which would likely recover and adjust reasonably well and live a reasonably happy, high-quality life for several years after adjusting to it and without pain? If money's not an object I probably do it there.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:24 PM   #11
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I'm with F4mandolin on this. But I think the new feet are too long. I wonder if he could have done better with just the stumps.
Funny, I had just the opposite reaction. Before I saw the video, they looked too short to me. But seeing Oscar in motion, the length appears to be about right—he was able to walk as soon as he woke up from the sedation. I wonder if he had already been walking on just the stumps, or possibly just the implanted pins, before the prosthetic feet were put on. It might have been trickier stopping him from walking before the implants were completely healed in place, than for him to walk afterwards.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:34 PM   #12
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(snip)But a two year old cat, particularly an 100% indoor "only pet" which would likely recover and adjust reasonably well and live a reasonably happy, high-quality life for several years after adjusting to it and without pain? If money's not an object I probably do it there.
He was an outdoor cat before, but I'm sure Oscar's an indoor-only cat from now on. Aside from the fact that (I think) he can't run or climb, there might be greater danger of his getting an infection around his implants if he goes out. My guess is, he may live in the vet clinic from here on out. That would be a good way to monitor him and make sure he stays healthy, plus giving the greatest opportunities for observation of his healing and general progress & adaptation, if there is any plan to investigate whether this type of surgery would work for human amputees.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:33 PM   #13
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Due to arthritis, one of my 14 year old cats can no longer jump or run (and hasn't been able to for several years now). She's still a good companion who brightens our lives. I certainly wouldn't euthanize her.
Thanks Gumby. I feel the same way. The kitty in this story reminds me so much of the cat I recently lost. Loved him so much. Still so down about losing him.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:42 PM   #14
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I think ziggy has it about right. I'm not sure if matters, btw, if the cat was outdoor or indoor before (based upon accident assume outdoor) if he can happily adapt to indoor. FWIW, in the video he didn't look unhappy. If he isn't in pain I don't think that giving up jumping in exchange for being able to walk is a dealbreaker. Seems a fair enough trade and most animals are resilient. They aren't humans, pining for what they've lost.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:46 PM   #15
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I'm a bit shocked by the reactions on this board. I certainly expected something else.

Several reactions sounded to me like "I like human beings, but there is just something wrong with getting them treatment when they get hit by a car, because it's cheaper to put them out of their misery."

I read the article days ago and loved it. If a pet I loved would be injured, I'd go to great lengths to have it treated and if necessary I would spend several months worth of salary if there was hope that it would make it better. Except if it was already on death's doorstep because of other reasons.

Sure, you could replace a cat by a free kitten, but to me a cat isn't an item that you can replace.

Not really related, but entertaining:

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Old 06-27-2010, 08:53 PM   #16
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Sure, you could replace a cat by a free kitten, but to me a cat isn't an item that you can replace.
Not my Hummer for sure. He was an extraordinary cat. My best friend. My soul mate. I loved him so much. My heart is broken over his loss.
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