4 min read

Cat Walks For The Very First Time, Thanks To New Prosthetic Legs

Vincent seemed to have used up all of his nine lives when he showed up at the Story County Animal Shelter in Iowa. Discarded, two-legged kittens probably don't start out with that many lives anyway.

But when a woman discovered the hapless cat at the shelter, she couldn't walk away without him.

"Normally a cat like him that came into a shelter would not a have a future because his injuries are pretty staggering," Cindy Jones, who woman who took him home, says in a video uploaded to YouTube. "I took one look at him, fell in love and took him home."

Jones took care of the love. But, what about those legs?

That's where science came in.

Iowa State University / YouTube

Veterinarians at Iowa State University's Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences devised a one-of-a-kind procedure to attach prosthetic legs to the cat when it seemed impossible.

Iowa State University / YouTube

"His implants go inside the bone and then traverse the skin so he actually has metal posts poking through his skin," Mary Sarah Bergh, the surgeon who attached Vincent's prosthetic legs, says in a press release. "That's very, very unique and a challenging problem and implant to work with."

After just one surgery, in February 2014, Vincent was walking again. Tentatively, at first.

"The first time I saw him after surgery, it was scary, to be honest," Jones says. "Because you don't normally see metal things poking out of your cat."

But she soon got used to the titanium alloy hind legs. Just like Vincent.

Several more surgeries succeeded in lengthening and strengthening his artificial legs.

Iowa State University / YouTube

"I anticipate he'll be jumping and doing really normal cat things very soon."

Vincent's success is also a resounding triumph for veterinary science - and promises to save even more animals from an untimely end at shelters.

"This does open up the door for us to be able to help other animals who have similar problems," Bergh says. "Even what we've learned just through Vincent's one case, we've actually refined the technique and the implants so the next cases we do moving forward will be even more successful."

If you would like to learn more about the work being done to improve the lives of animals, visit Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.