Vincent the cat is a three-year-old Domestic Shorthair who was surrendered to the Story County Animal Shelter in Iowa. The fact that his back legs are more like stumps probably had something to do with his previous owner ditching him. But from such undignified circumstances, Vincent has gone on to join a select club of only 25 animals in the world who have been fitted with prosthetic legs.
Here’s how Vincent became a medical trailblazer.
When Vincent was dumped at the Story County Animal Shelter, he caught the eye of Cindy Jones, who happened to work there.
“I took one look at him and fell in love and took him home,” she says on a video about Vincent that has gone viral.
From a technical point of view, Vincent’s hind legs are, well, missing from the mid-tibia down. It’s not known whether he was born this way or stumbled into some kittenish shenanigan that left him in such a state.
Realizing that Vincent needed help, Cindy’s daughter, who was studying at Iowa State University, suggested she take him to the veterinary science department. After meeting Dr. Mary S. Bergh, Vincent was put on a course of physical therapy and then a cart device to help his mobility was tried out. But with both efforts proving fruitless, something more drastic was needed.
That’s when the plan to attempt some ground-breaking surgery on Vincent was formulated. The tricky operation saw implants being placed inside the leg bone, thereby giving Vincent a set of natty metal legs to get around on. (The prosthetic kitty limbs were designed by a company called BioMedtrix.)
“The first time I saw him after surgery, it was scary,” admits Cindy. “You don’t normally see metal things poking out of your cat!”
With the surgery a success, Vincent is now getting used to his new way of strutting around. Medically, he seems to be in fine condition.
“The bones are looking great, the implants are really stable, and he’s walking really well on them,” says Bergh, before adding that she anticipates that he’ll be “jumping and doing very normal cat things very soon.”
Bergh also adds that the success of Vincent’s surgery could open the way for similar procedures to be used on other felines in the future. Good job, everyone.