Bionic Cat

by Elisa Black-Taylor

Oscar the bionic cat

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Oscar the bionic cat

Oscar the bionic cat Oscar and Dr. Fitzpatrick

Good morning readers. Today I'd like to tell you about the world's first bionic cat. Oscar is a green-eyed black cat who lost his legs to a combine harvester in the British Channel Isles in 2009. He qualifies as bionic because of the procedure used to rebuild his legs.

The two year old moggie was operated on by veterinary surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick approximately nine months after the harvester accident.

Here's a YouTube video with Oscar showing off his new "legs."

Metal pegs were surgically inserted by biomedical engineers using a material called hydroxyapatite, which encourages bone growth. This procedure means skin would eventually cover the metal pegs using the same principle as a deer growing antlers through the skin. The pegs themselves were developed in 2006 by Professor Gordon Blunn and his team from University College London.

This new procedure also carries less risk of infection than traditional prosthesis operations.

Oscar's operation led to a BBC documentary television series titled Bionic Vet starring Dr. Fitzpatrick, who operates a multi-million pound state of the art clinic out of Surrey. Oscar may be Dr. Fitzpatrick's first bionic pet, but he certainly isn't the last.

No one knows the cost of this bionic surgery, but chances are it's quite high. So readers, what do you think of this surgery? Personally, I think it's awesome. I would have loved to have found a video of Oscar running. I'm just curious as to how he feels about his new legs.

Photos are courtesy of Dr. Noel Fitzpatick.


Comments for
Bionic Cat

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Nov 22, 2011
by: Ruth

Cats are wonderful in that they adapt to anything life throws at them.
As Oscar is only young he won't have found it as hard to adapt as an older cat would and it's wonderful that the surgery has given him his mobility back.
I do wonder how he feels when he washes himself though, I suppose his tongue has adjusted to not washing those bits.
I don't agree with animal experiments when it's known beforehand that the animal himself won't benefit from it, but in this case it was known and Oscar did benefit.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Nov 22, 2011
Oscar's new mobility
by: Grahame

This puts me in mind of those competing athletes who also have bionic feet which look like springy metal blades. They can run VERY fast on them, and I rather think that Oscar can as well.

As to experimentation upon animals, I would like to make a distinction between pernicious experimentation and trialing to make a viable procedure even better help to animals and not likely to harm them permanently. In Oscar's case, the technology of fitting a metal prosthesis directly into bone is well established. The ancillary aspects of his procedure are being trialled to make the procedure even more helpful to the animal. So I take it, at any rate.

What incommodes Oscar more: his earlier total disability in his cut off hind paws, or the chances of even better performance from his prostheses?

Nov 22, 2011
Amazing but a little bit disturbing perhaps
by: Michael

Hi Elisa. Thanks for this. I find the surgery amazing and Oscar will do fine I am sure. Cats get along great with disabilities because they are stoic and athletic.

However, I have slight reservations about this sort of thing. I am sure it is good but is there a little bit of experimentation going on? Or am I being unkind.

Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo