The World’s First Cyborg Cat
Recently, the science and medical worlds were amazed by a recent innovation. Yet the breakthrough did not involve space rockets or robots, but rather one small black cat. The cat in question has made history by becoming the first feline to have artificial limbs attached to its body.
The 2-year-old cat named Oscar lives on the Channel Islands in the U.K. He lost his back legs in an accident involving a combine harvester. The operation was the first of its kind, as never before had a cat been given artificial limbs.
Oscar is considered to be the first cyborg cat. The word “cyborg” which is short for “cybernetic organism,” is often used in science fiction movies, books and video games. The actual meaning is for something mechanical or artificial to be joined with a living creature, either human or animal. Oscar is considered a cyborg because he doesn’t merely wear the artificial legs; instead they are actually joined to his bones.
Oscar’s new legs were developed by a team from University College London led by Professor Gordon Blunn, and were fitted by surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick last November. The operation took three hours, during which the team connected the new legs with what was left of the bones in the cat’s back legs.
The new legs were covered in a substance that encourages bone growth, so Oscar’s bones have connected with his new legs and skin has grown around them: Apparently this is also how a deer’s antlers grow through its skin.
Speaking about the miracle operation the surgeon responsible said, “The real revolution with Oscar is we have a piece of metal into which skin has grown” the surgeon continued by saying, “Oscar can now run and jump about as cats should do.”
The design of the legs and the fact they are connected allows Oscar to move as he would have before his accident. The same technology was previously use for a British woman who needed to have an artificial arm fitted.
Oscar’s owner Kate Nolan is delighted with the recovery her cat has made. She told reporters; “Our main concern has always been whether this operation would be in Oscar’s best interests and would give him a better quality of life.”
Now the surgeon and the team from University College London are confident this will be the future for prosthetic limbs. Hopefully this will help improve the lives of many, both people and animals.