Cat With Titanium Alloy Legs Provides Hope For Veterinary Medicine

University of Iowa program’s work with a cat named Vincent is providing him with a “normal life.”

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Meet Vincent: 2015’s version of the bionic cat!  Via ISUNewsService/YouTube
Meet Vincent: 2015’s version of the bionic cat! Via ISUNewsService/YouTube
Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig

When Cindy Jones first saw the tiny furry feline a little more than two years ago, he stole her heart.

“I took one look at him and fell in love,” Jones said.

Someone had found the kitten at a campground and brought him to Iowa’s Story County Animal Shelter, located north of Des Moines, where Jones worked. Despite the fact that the little guy was missing most of his hind legs, the cause of which was unknown, Jones wanted to help him out in some way. Now the Domestic Shorthair is finally getting around with the assistance of two titanium-alloy prosthetic legs, reports the Iowa State University News Service.

Meet Vincent, the now 3-year-old cat who has undergone two surgeries — the most recent being in February — to fit him with implants, which were inserted into the femur bones of Vincent’s legs and pass through his skin.

It was love at first site for Vincent's owner when he was a little kitty. Via YouTube

It was love at first sight for Vincent’s owner when he was a little kitty. Via ISUNewsService/YouTube

“His bone is looking great,” Dr. Mary Sarah Bergh, the veterinary orthopedic surgeon who attached Vincent’s prosthetic legs and oversees his rehabilitation, told the news service. “The implants are stable, and he’s walking really well on them.

“I couldn’t be happier with how he’s doing at the current time,” she said, adding that Vincent is probably only one of less than 25 animals with this type of implant.

Bergh met Vincent through Jones’ daughter, Emily, who was attending veterinary school at Iowa State. The associate professor is said to have worked with a wide range of injured species and reportedly realized early on that endoprosthetics would be the best chance for Vincent to have a normal life.

Hanging with mom, Cindy Jones, at Iowa State University. Via YouTube

Hanging with mom, Cindy Jones, at Iowa State University. Via ISUNewsService/YouTube

The design of the implants allows for Vincent’s bone to grow onto the titanium shafts to support his weight, Bergh reports.  But the titanium shaft is exposed to the environment, which puts Vincent at risk for infection — an ongoing challenge she and Jones have worked hard to overcome.

The university’s video highlighting Vincent and his progress proves the little guy is ready to get into some kitty fun… and maybe even trouble.

Bergh told the news service Vincent’s procedure — considered to be an “emerging field” rare in veterinary medicine — may help her and other veterinary orthopedic surgeons in the use of implants for animals in the future.

As for Vincent, Bergh said his future looks bright.

“I anticipate that he’ll be jumping and doing really normal cat things very soon,” Bergh said.

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  • I LOVE that there are so many wonderful people who will go out of their way to help an animal in need!

    Darling Vincent, I’m so THRILLED that you are receiving all the love, care, attention, affection, protection and respect you so richly deserve. Love and blessings to you Sweetie that you enjoy a long, healthy and happy life with your loved ones xo xo xo xo xo xo

    Wendye L Kolles January 6, 2016 12:39 am Reply
  • The ‘legs’ look a little short; am wondering why.

    Albionica January 6, 2016 1:39 am Reply
    • It’s very true that his little hind legs are short but……..but it doesn’t seem to bother Vincent at all. He probably thinks…..’short legs are better than no leg’s. God bless these wonderful doctors who help out animals like this who don’t have a very good future!

      Sandy January 6, 2016 4:34 pm Reply
    • It’s true, this little fur balls legs are short but I think Vincent would think that ‘short legs are better than no legs at all’. God bless these wonderful people who help these kinds of animals where they do not have much of at future at all.

      Sandy January 6, 2016 4:38 pm Reply
  • Short legs or not what a miracle that I would love for my little boy Hershey. He is my little dauchsand with no back legs! What I would give to be able to give him that relief on his little body, wheelchair works okay outside but not so well indoors….love and God bless you little one and everyone whom loves you too!

    Theresa Otlano January 6, 2016 2:12 am Reply
    • You should write to the school! You just never know….

      Dianna B January 6, 2016 6:48 am Reply
  • I’m so happy that there are kind, caring people who gave this beautiful kitty a chance at life.

    Sandy Weber January 6, 2016 4:08 am Reply
  • What a heart warming story, thank you to all who helped & love this beautiful cat. God Bless.

    Angela January 6, 2016 5:07 am Reply
  • What a handsome boy…and what a wonderful story! God bless you all and Vincent, I wish you a long, healthy and happy life!

    J. David Scott January 6, 2016 5:34 am Reply
  • Amazing what can be done. Oscar’s story was pretty incredible too.

    Teresa January 6, 2016 6:03 am Reply
  • Maybe the legs are so short so he can sit? He is so cute!

    Kimberlydawn January 6, 2016 6:37 am Reply
  • I wish more people would consider animals with disabilities. The opportunity for prosthetic legs is great but a loving owner even more so. We must start to make these options affordable too. When basic dental cleaning is almost 1000.00 to start and most vets refuse payment plans, to many sick, injured or so vial needs animals suffer. Thank you and keep upgrading his prosthetics. God Love you both!

    Claudia Travis January 6, 2016 6:58 am Reply
  • God Bless you for taking this precious kitten into your life and getting him fixed so he could walk. What a wonderful mom you must be. Amen

    Claudia Hansen January 6, 2016 8:01 am Reply
  • So very glad that you found this darling cat and gave him a chance at a happy, normal life. He’s just gorgeous! I would do the same for one of my kitties.

    Hazel Blumberg-McKee January 6, 2016 8:16 am Reply
  • I think this is fantastic. And so wonderful Cindy that you adopted him and that the doctors were able to give Vincent more of a life. Rare people who care about an animals life.

    Sue January 6, 2016 9:01 am Reply
  • Just curious, why can’t his back legs be same length as front legs? That would also elevate him farther from possible ground infection. Very lucky and handsome kitty!

    Mary Crew January 6, 2016 9:11 am Reply
  • All the very best for dear Vincent. Thank you to his kindly human team.

    Best regards,
    A Canadian

    Donna January 6, 2016 10:08 am Reply
  • I’m all for fixing up animals to lead a good life but… it doesn’t look very comfortable. I would think a pair of wheels would be easier for the cat to get around… At least he would be able to run.. Also isn’t it putting pressure on his back?.. <3

    Dark Ruby January 6, 2016 10:08 am Reply


    H Ollon January 6, 2016 10:29 am Reply
  • I think it’s fantastic! I’m sure that with time, these sort of implants will be more common (hopefully, for the animals” sake). I wonder if he will have hip or spinal problems and/or pain later on due to his uneven gait? Meanwhile, it’s so awesome that these sorts of things are even being attempted. Yay kitty!!!!

    Ruth January 6, 2016 4:03 pm Reply
  • This is fantastic and sorta gives me the idea that humans can be helpful although 85% of the human race don’t care about anything but themselves and how they can better their own lives which is not necessarily a bad thing to a point but those whom have comapssion for other living creatures and can give up a pizza for a night to help out withsomething worth more to their soul and not there belly line would be awesome!

    Tony Helm January 6, 2016 6:34 pm Reply
  • This is great and has given this beautiful cat a future. Well done! Our Noel Fitzpatrick in England has been doing this type of “bionic” surgery for quite a while now and has great successes.

    angie sokolowska January 6, 2016 6:41 pm Reply
  • What a special story and such a handsome boy. Thank you all for giving him a good life.

    Dana Settles January 6, 2016 7:06 pm Reply
  • It’s nice to see there are SOME good caring people left in this world that actually want to help these poor little animals out. Unfortunately you hear more bad stories than good. I’m so happy someone gave this little guy a chance. I wish there were more animal lovers out there. Most people seem to not care or have a clue at how animals have such unconditional love. It’s really sad. So happy for this little guy!

    Chris January 6, 2016 7:46 pm Reply
  • Basta orrore verso gli animali smettetela

    giovanna January 9, 2016 11:37 am Reply

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