Frostbitten Cat Becomes First in the World to Receive Four Titanium Paws

Every pet owner will be devastated to have the limbs of his pet amputated, but it can often be the kindest thing to do if it has had an accident or is unwell.

Amputation sounds drastic but it is a much more common procedure than before, and in most cases, disabled cats can cope well without a tail or on three legs without any major problems. Yet, they will need time to recover from the surgery and learn how to walk and run again, as this leads to a changed weight distribution.

Up until now, there has been no effective method to help poor animals continue their life as it used to be in case all of their limbs have been amputated.

House pets in the Siberia region in Russia are often victims of the harsh winters to frostbites, and many of them need to undergo such a surgery and even euthanasia.

Yet, a cat named Ryzhik—which means Redhead or Ginger—has been lucky to get a set of operations granting the quadruple-amputee four prosthetic paws constructed of titanium.

Ryznik had suffered from gangrene and frostbite on his ears and four paws in January in -40C cold in Tomsk, and according to veterinary surgeon Sergei Gorshkov, its paws needed to be amputated.

Yet, Ryzhik’s owner didn’t give up on the kitty and decided to make his life as comfortable, so he took the cat to a clinic in Novosibirsk that specializes in implanting artificial limbs.

Using computer tomography and 3D-modeling technology, doctors constructed a perfect set of artificial paws for the cat. They serve as prosthetic limbs but are also very comfortable, so the cat wouldn’t try to pry the new limbs off.

In this way, this feline is likely the first one in the world that is entirely reliant on four prosthetics.

According to Gorshkov, the surgery gave successful results, and these limbs have fully connected with the skin and bone and are completely functional. The part of the limb that goes inside the body is spongy, so the bone tissue grows inside it.

His team believes that even though Ryzhik still has to get over some initial awkwardness before regaining a wholly natural gait, it is only a matter of time before he finds it easy to walk on its new set of titanium paws.

The clinic is pioneering new methods of helping animals in trouble and attempts to patent new techniques for attaching artificial limbs to birds, as well as rebuilding beaks for parrots, and hoofs for cattle.

Ryznik now uses his new paws to play and defend itself from other cats. Footage shows him walking around and going down the stairs using his new artificial paws, and since it is not trying to remove or shake off the prostheses, he is surely comfortable with his new modifications.