Oscar the bionic cat lost his hind feet in an accident four years ago and thanks to the efforts of vets to get him back on his own four feet
Kate Allen and her partner, Mike don’t get many callers at their house in Jersey. They’re relatively isolated. But mid-afternoon, there was a knock at the door.
Mike, answered to find a distressed woman standing with a bicycle. She asked them if they own a black cat and if they and told them about a cat in the field with lots of blood.
Kate and Mike rushed to the scene and found Oscar lying on the edge of the field splattered with blood. It looked as if he had been trying to drag himself home but couldn’t quite manage it. The cat’s hinds leg had been chopped off, caught by the combine harvester.
Oscar was rushed to the New Era Veterinary Hospital and Mike explained to the vet, Peter Haworth, what happened.
Mike said, “We tried to come to terms with the fact that we would probably have to have him put to sleep, although sleep was the one thing we couldn’t do ourselves. Luckily for Oscar, not everyone was as pessimistic.
When we went to visit him, he was on a drip, but Peter had an idea. He knew of a colleague in England, Noel Fitzpatrick, who had used implants to replace missing limbs on dogs. He didn’t know if Noel would be interested, or indeed if it would be possible to do it. But suddenly we had a glimmer of hope. We knew it was a long shot, we knew it might be prohibitively expensive. We also knew we had to explore this option fully. It was all we had.”
Back in 2009, Oscar underwent a nearly $50,000 (USD) operation. The cost was financed mainly by the surgeon because of its pioneering nature- with Oscar now having led the way for other groundbreaking work.
After the surgery Oscar went from strength to strength. He grew big and muscular and charged around the house. You could hear him click-clicking as his back feet made contact with the stone floor in the hall and kitchen.
Mike said, “Oscar settled into a pretty normal life, with one big exception. He could not roam at will. It was so sad when we got home to see two huge eyes staring through the window on to a world that was no longer his.”
“Sometimes we let him out into our tiny garden. He had always been fascinated by a particular place at the bottom of the fence where he would sit for hours. What for, we had no idea. Whenever we let him outside it was the first place he raced to. Sometimes he would sit down there and his tail would sweep from side to side like a lion’s. Sometimes he would click his teeth together.”
After years of injuries and operations, his artificial parts included a new hip, the metal implants and two prosthetic feet. Mike said, “He really was a bionic cat, but personality-wise he was exactly the same as ever.”