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Bionic Cat Gets World's First Implant Paws

kdawson posted about 4 years ago | from the ten-lives dept.

Medicine 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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225 comments

of course (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32692916)

/me whispers "i for one welcome our new bionic cat overlords"

I for one... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32692918)

...welcome our new bionic cat overlords!

Mice beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32692928)

All I can think of is steel tines

And? (5, Funny)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 4 years ago | (#32692936)

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

After all, everyone deserves a hot meal.

Re:And? (5, Funny)

chudnall (514856) | about 4 years ago | (#32693254)

He used to have four paws. Now he has fore paws and faux paws.

Re:And? (2, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 4 years ago | (#32693570)

Yeah, but only two are fur paws.

Re:And? (1, Informative)

Major Downtime (1840554) | about 4 years ago | (#32693300)

True, it was per Dr. Evil's special request:
"You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!" - Dr. Evil

Re:And? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693698)

Oh come on mods, he's not a troll, just an idiot.

Claws (5, Funny)

IflyRC (956454) | about 4 years ago | (#32692948)

Does this mean that the kitty gets adamantium claws next?

Re:Claws (3, Funny)

kolbe (320366) | about 4 years ago | (#32693036)

In a related story, Oscar was found leaping 10 meters (32 feet) into a tree, catching an unsuspecting bird in the process.

Re:Claws (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693294)

No, but i'll buy it a pack of kitten mittens [youtube.com] .

Re:Claws (3, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#32693528)

No, but it means PawSense [bitboost.com] will need an update.

Re:Claws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693940)

Believe it or not, PawSense costs 20 USD + S&H. Didn't they get that thing some people call "download" by now?

Perhaps (4, Funny)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 4 years ago | (#32692972)

they should have replaced his paws with rabbit feet, that way he might be luckier next time he meets farm machinery.

Re:Perhaps (1)

Iriscal (1563535) | about 4 years ago | (#32693012)

You know what they say - once bitten, twice shy.

Re:Perhaps (4, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#32693042)

they should have replaced his paws with rabbit feet, that way he might be luckier next time he meets farm machinery.

Yeah, just look at how well it works for rabbits.

Can opener (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#32692988)

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

Laser Cats! (1)

Itninja (937614) | about 4 years ago | (#32693040)

You know this [nbc.com] is inevitable.

Also, something can be 'completely normal' or 'almost normal', but not 'almost completely normal'

Re:Laser Cats! (1)

siride (974284) | about 4 years ago | (#32693112)

Why can't you say "almost completely normal"?

Re:Laser Cats! (4, Funny)

MagicM (85041) | about 4 years ago | (#32693134)

Because that's almost completely ridiculous.

Re:Laser Cats! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693948)

so the cat walks almost but not quite entirely unlike abnormally?

Re:Laser Cats! (1)

Deosyne (92713) | about 4 years ago | (#32693544)

Wouldn't that be "nearly normal?"

Re:Laser Cats! (1)

siride (974284) | about 4 years ago | (#32694002)

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 intensified phrase, meaning "not just normal, but normal in every conceivable way". And "almost", of course, means "very close, but not exactly". So the speaker is stressing that the object is very close to being normal, and not just kind of normal, but normal in every way. It is so extremely close, but yet not quite. "Nearly normal" doesn't have the same connotation or force.

Of course, it may be that the speaker was using needless exaggeration or force. That's a reasonable complaint. People do occasionally have a tendency to use phrasings that are far stronger than they need to be. I won't accept, however, that this phrasing is incorrect.

Re:Laser Cats! (1)

Itninja (937614) | about 4 years ago | (#32693460)

Because 'almost' means "nearly in it's entirety", and 'completely' means "in entirety". So it's like saying 'it's nearly entirely entirely normal.

Meanwhile in Africa ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693056)

hundreds of people died of Malaria.

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (3, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#32693168)

Damn strait, we should be giving those malaria victims prosthetic feet instead!

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693700)

Yea damn those waterways!

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693308)

It pays to be adorable....

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 4 years ago | (#32693340)

... because their government(s) are pieces of shit and/or they have no real resources.

It sucks, yes. But it's no reason for the rest of the world to drop everything and rush to fix their problems for them.

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693412)

Do Africans pay taxes to the UK? Then shut the fuck up.

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693450)

That's a feature. Not a bug!

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#32693470)

Bill Gates, scourge of slashdotters everywhere, has donated billions towards fighting malaria. I don't think there is much more we could do to help -- if the Gates Foundation's $60 billion can't solve the problem, then nothing can.

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (3, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 4 years ago | (#32694012)

DDT probably could, but no one is quite sure what that would to their environment over there so no one is willing to give it a shot. People forget that malaria was a problem in the Americas too until the mosquito population was decimated by pesticides massively slowing the infection rate; combined with rapid quarantine and treatment of infected individuals it all but eliminated malaria from two continents.

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (3, Insightful)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 4 years ago | (#32693768)

So you are saying no one or no creature should ever receive medical treatment becasue people are dying elsewhere? Sound logic.

Re:Meanwhile in Africa ... (1)

operagost (62405) | about 4 years ago | (#32694174)

Buzz off [wikipedia.org] .

We can rebuild him. (3, Interesting)

The Altruist (1448701) | about 4 years ago | (#32693062)

We have the technology.

Re:We can rebuild him. (-1, Troll)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#32693266)

But why would you want to? You can get another cat free at the humane society.

Re:We can rebuild him. (3, Insightful)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 4 years ago | (#32693816)

That is akin to saying "Your child is injured, why bother fixing them? You can just adopt another one."

In case you hadn't noticed, every cat is not the same.

Re:We can rebuild him. (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | about 4 years ago | (#32693870)

We can also get another human for free...plus it's fun making new ones. However there are certain benefits to preserving (enhancing?) life once it's been created.

Re:We can rebuild him. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32694170)

Free? ha, $150 adoption fee is the cheapest you can find it...good luck...There is Never such a thing as a free pet.

Re:We can rebuild him. (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 4 years ago | (#32693354)

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

Re:We can rebuild him. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32694142)

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

It's the one-hundred dollar cat!

Portal cat? (3, Interesting)

gregthebunny (1502041) | about 4 years ago | (#32693064)

Those implants look a lot like Chell's heel springs. (image [wikimedia.org] )

Bionic? (3, Insightful)

c0nehead (581714) | about 4 years ago | (#32693072)

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.

Re:Bionic? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 4 years ago | (#32693360)

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).

Re:Bionic? (1)

prisma (1038806) | about 4 years ago | (#32693438)

Yep, the news here contains zero bionics and is mostly biotech/bioengineering. The advancements in prosethetic limb technology seen here is pretty significant but this is in no way bionics. Surprisingly, the BBC article had a bad title while the Popsci article's title was accurate.

Re:Bionic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693554)

Not that surprising, BBC's science reporting is notoriously shoddy.
Language Log keeps a pretty good tally:
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004536.html
http://158.130.17.5/~myl/languagelog/archives/000567.html

Re:Bionic? (1)

CityZen (464761) | about 4 years ago | (#32693522)

Only because they haven't installed the lasers yet...

Don't ye be gettin pedantic, ye scurvy dog! (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 4 years ago | (#32693898)

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!

Slow motion (4, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 4 years ago | (#32693080)

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

Re:Slow motion (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 4 years ago | (#32693858)

But the real question is does it make the "do do do do do do do do do do" sound when he runs or jumps.

Re:Slow motion (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 4 years ago | (#32693986)

No, it plays the Meow Mix jingle. Which admittedly takes some of the drama out of it.

Re:Slow motion (2, Funny)

operagost (62405) | about 4 years ago | (#32694054)

CHchchchchchchch...

Great (-1, Troll)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 4 years ago | (#32693094)

Great for the cat, but as a slashdotter could you imagine having to masturbate with bionic hands?

Re:Great (1)

zmollusc (763634) | about 4 years ago | (#32693216)

I really hope any other replies skip the graphic detail of their imaginings.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693262)

Practice with a hot dog first!

Re:Great (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#32693560)

"Practice on a hot dog first!" -- Family Guy

Darth Cat (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693108)

http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/7296/darthcat.jpg

Well... is obvius.

Re:Darth Cat (2, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about 4 years ago | (#32693372)

Don't quit your day job (Unless you edit photos for a living. In that case, quit immediately.)

And how does the kitty-kat feal about all this? (5, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 years ago | (#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!"

Re:And how does the kitty-kat feal about all this? (1)

nacturation (646836) | about 4 years ago | (#32693418)

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.

It would be interesting to find that out. However, I suspect the answer would be something along the lines of "What the...?!? Okay, this is pretty freaking weird. But it's better than dragging my stumps around."

Re:And how does the kitty-kat feal about all this? (2, Interesting)

CTalkobt (81900) | about 4 years ago | (#32693702)

My 3 legged cat doesn't really use her stump that much except when climbing steps...

She's developed the ability that when the front 2 paws are on the higher step, and her good back leg is on the lower step she'll angle her butt so that the stump is at the edge of the top step. The little stump will then twirl and while it's doing it's think she'll bring the back leg up and keep going.

Watching it almost reminds me of those famous horse pictures proving that a horse has 4 feet off the ground at a time...

Re:And how does the kitty-kat feal about all this? (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about 4 years ago | (#32693730)

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

Well, in that one video, he looks very uncomfortable with the attention he is getting to the point where he appears to want to go hide in a cardboard box.

Otherwise, it's most likely "steak steak steak steak" or something like that.

Re:And how does the kitty-kat feal about all this? (5, Funny)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 4 years ago | (#32693866)

Most cats probably find being born with a tail to be more confounding.

Re:And how does the kitty-kat feal about all this? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32694120)

I once watched a kitten that kept grabbing its own tail, bit it and then growl at the pain he caused himself. He would then let go and start all over again.

Most of the time I called him "dumbass [wikipedia.org] ", but sometimes I called him "Kelso [wikipedia.org] ".

Some humans don't like the ones they have (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32694186)

I mean, even some humans have some problems with new limbs
 
Some humans don't even like the ones they have... [poetv.com]

At first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693202)

I thought this was an Onion News headline.

In related news (0, Redundant)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 years ago | (#32693226)

Bionic shark got world's first implant laser guns.

Gentlemen, behold! I have lost weight! (1)

mweather (1089505) | about 4 years ago | (#32693248)

That cat needs to lose another 20 ounces, OR IT'LL NEVER BE PRETTY!

metal sticking out of the legs (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#32693334)

The difficult part was surgery allowing a metal rod to be inserted into the bone in the cat's legs and then somehow getting the body not to reject these, the skin actually grew around the metal without infection. The legs themselves are not really robotic or anything, they are a bit 'wobbly' to allow the cat to adjust the walk but they are static legs, no dynamic actuators of any kind.

I don't really understand why they needed to put the cat under to place the new legs onto the rods, then the cat walked and even jumped onto a pack of toilet paper.

As always the most important part of the entire procedure was using black duct tape to mask the fact that the attached legs were actually made of some brown flexible material before they were attached to the black cat.

Re:metal sticking out of the legs (1)

ajlitt (19055) | about 4 years ago | (#32693434)

Why not skip the complicated and expensive surgery and go straight for the duct tape?

Re:metal sticking out of the legs (4, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | about 4 years ago | (#32693454)

I don't really understand why they needed to put the cat under to place the new legs onto the rods, then the cat walked and even jumped onto a pack of toilet paper.

Same reason you put a cat under to clean its teeth. Messing around with a cat's legs while it's awake is likely to cost you a few fingers.

Re:metal sticking out of the legs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693576)

As with the problem of human prosthetics, the issue is never really skin growth without infection, or even really getting the metal attached to the bone. The issue is long-term changes in the bone density at the metal-bone interface. No matter how hard we try, the load is never the same, and the bone deforms greatly. It will be interesting to see how the hind legs perform over time, with a point load at a metal-bone interface. Even the most sophisticated human hip replacements require a lot of maintenance, and those loads are better distributed.

As for putting the cat under, that's likely just to keep him calm while they are playing down there, and to make sure his first movements are slower. The video looked less like he was knocked out and more like he was sedated.

Bionic Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693366)

I, for one, welcome our new Bionic Cats Overlords.

Heh (3, Insightful)

moogied (1175879) | about 4 years ago | (#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)

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693498)

Get a girlfriend. (or a new one)

Re:Heh (-1, Troll)

multipartmixed (163409) | about 4 years ago | (#32693682)

So, how's the view from the closet?

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32694042)

Much better than the view from the land of Homophobia.

Because yes, any male who was made happy from this story is obviously gay. (But not as gay as your lame attempt at humor.)

Re:Heh (1)

operagost (62405) | about 4 years ago | (#32694140)

It's THUPER!

Nice. (1)

ifrag (984323) | about 4 years ago | (#32693414)

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".

occupational therapy (2, Funny)

Kreplock (1088483) | about 4 years ago | (#32693452)

i wonder if the treatment included retraining the cat on burying its business in the cat box.

Re:occupational therapy (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | about 4 years ago | (#32693642)

i wonder if the treatment included retraining the cat on burying its business in the cat box.

Actually, both of my cats at home use their front paws to side paw the littler on top... So yes, assuming she doesn't step in it (unlikely) she'd be fine and up to the usual tracking the litter out of the box like normal...

PS: (Yes, I have a 3 legged cat so I have a basis for asserting this.)

PPS: ( Anyone have a 1 and 2 legged so I can complete the set? )

PPPS: (Yes, I like parenthesis).

Bionic cats?!? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#32693524)

Suddenly, it's not such a good time to be a mouse anymore!

Not Bionic (3, Insightful)

DaWorm666 (553934) | about 4 years ago | (#32693574)

Bionic = Biological + Electronic. Where's the electronic part of all this?

the really brilliant bit... (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 4 years ago | (#32693600)

The mice arranged to a bell included in the specification. Cunning little buggers.

Poor little Tink Tink! (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 4 years ago | (#32693648)

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? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693686)

Given:

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.

"You're a kitty!" tag (4, Funny)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | about 4 years ago | (#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]

Not Running (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 4 years ago | (#32693714)

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] .

Pirate Cat! (3, Funny)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | about 4 years ago | (#32693736)

They really should have gone with a faux-wood finish on those prostheses.

This is the worlds luckiest cat (5, Informative)

Gavin Scott (15916) | about 4 years ago | (#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.

G.

Re:This is the worlds luckiest cat (3, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | about 4 years ago | (#32694030)

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.

Oscar Goldman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32693796)

That's gotta be a real coincidence or they renamed the cat appropriately.

I'm very happy to see progress like this in the biotechnology field, even though I consider it very slow and little progress. As we all know, Space Nuttery is dead and the future is biotech!

Lolcats (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 4 years ago | (#32693800)

Sounds like we have a new lolcat meme.

The Chinese chef has.. (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | about 4 years ago | (#32693884)

Finally met his match!

AND WHY... (1)

neptunusmaris (1466809) | about 4 years ago | (#32693976)

have none of you posted a LOLCat caption of this bionic basement kitty?!

Creepy but cute.. (1)

Eggz Factor (455382) | about 4 years ago | (#32694136)

Oscar has poodle paws!
Or maybe paddle paws?

Animals are amazing (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 4 years ago | (#32694182)

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.

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