It’s been a couple of years since I posted anything new here at Animal Intelligence. It’s not that my interest in the subject has waned — if anything, I’m more convinced than ever about the intelligence of our non-human friends — but that my other blogs have taken all of my time.
Lately, though, I’ve decided that it’d be a heck of a lot of fun to post here again. To make this easier, I’m going to broaden the blog’s scope. While I’ll still cover stories about animal emotion and intelligence, I’ll also include general-interest animal stories. What do I mean by that? Let’s start with this report from CNN about a cat with bionic feet:
If cats have nine lives, they may have just acquired a 10th — thanks to a groundbreaking surgery that saved the life of a feline double amputee. A British cat, Oscar, has made a full recovery after being fitted with a pair of prosthetic feet in November. The cat’s hind paws were severed by a combine harvester.
The three-hour procedure, performed at an animal hospital in Surrey, England, by neuro-orthopaedic veterinary surgeon Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick, could serve as a model for human amputees.
Oscar’s custom-made implants, ITAPs (Intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics), were modeled after deer antlers, which have a honeycomb structure that bones can grow through and skin can grow over. By using computer-generated technology, a team of veterinarians and scientists designed a feline foot that mimics the way a cat walks and runs.
That’s a bunch of jargon, right? What it boils down to is this: Oscar the cat got run over by a tractor. A group of vets attached a pair of bionic feet to Oscar’s hind legs. The results are amazing! Here’s a BBC video that shows Oscar getting his new bionic body parts:
The best part of this story? Dr. Fitzpatrick donated much of his work with Oscar for free. The CNN story concludes: “He may not chase mice like he used to, but he can still scratch up the furniture.” Oscar is a cat, after all.
p.s. Yes, I know the formatting is goofy. As I resume posting here, I’ll implement a new template, one with wider columns. For now, things will be a little off, though, when I post wide photos or video. Sorry.