Cats Go Bionic with Prosthetics

Newton’s Purrspective – Bionic Cats

Although it was before my time, some of you humans may remember the $6 Million Dollar Man (Steve Austin) and the Bionic Woman (Jaime Sommers) on TV. Both these characters had serious injuries and science turned them into super heroes. In the real world, however, people who lose arms or legs may get prosthetics which, at most, restore their independence. Until recently cats have not been so lucky. If we lose one leg in an accident we can still get by quite well with three. The loss of two legs is much more challenging, but some cats do adapt to wheelchairs. http://www.lifewithcats.tv/tag/wheeled-cart/

Cats have a terrific sense of balance so kittens born without front or even back legs can adapt to the disability. But could their lives be improved by prosthetic limbs?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/pets/11635624/How-an-adorable-bunny-cat-with-only-two-legs-became-an-Instagram-celebrity.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GZw3nugUJU


Isaac Newton

Learning to use a prosthetic is not easy for a person, so imagine trying to explain to Kitty why you are strapping on a set of mechanical legs. When Oscar the cat lost both back feet in a 2009 farming accident his family feared there was no hope for him. Fortunately, a vet in England was willing to try a pioneering surgery. Oscar became famous as the first animal in the world to receive surgically implanted prosthetic feet. Titanium rods were inserted into his bones and are kept in place by the tissue growing around them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqUEraHGHvI The feet can be detached (they wear out since he is very active) and over the years have been modified to achieve more natural mobility. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUhOKRKksCU

More recently a similar surgery was done on a cat in Iowa. Vincent, who was likely born without complete hind legs, was rescued by a shelter worker. Staff at Iowa State University Veterinary Hospital did implant surgery similar to Oscar’s. http://amestrib.com/news/cat-walking-prosthetic-legs-after-isu-veterinary-hospital-treatment Despite the risk of infection inherent in the surgery his prognosis is good.

The procedure is still uncommon, partially due to the cost. However, the success with animals is paving the way for US approval of bone anchored prosthetics for humans.

And this brings me back to the TV science fiction bionics. Did you know there was a bionic dog on the show? His experimental bionic surgery was the basis for using the techniques on Steve and Jaime! When Max becomes ill Jaime saves his life and adopts him. I love happy endings, don’t you?

 
 

Updated – Revealing crash test video shows what happens to animals being transported incorrectly

(Updated)

At one time I would put the carrier either on the front seat of the Cat Faerie Mobile (a 2006 Prius) or the back seat and thread the seat belt through the handle of the carrier and lock it thinking that if I was in an accident the cat in the carrier would be perfectly safe. I assumed that it would not jerk or fly, that it would stay in place. It seemed so logical! But was I ever wrong! In these videos and photos you’ll see what happens to the seat belt at the moment of impact! It is shocking.

One video is in German but you don’t need to understand it to see what happens in crash tests, the visuals say it all. The other is in English. Both also cover transporting dogs safely.

As you will learn the best way to transport your cat is in a carrier placed on the floor of the back seat wedged between the back seat and front seat. This video is suitable for people of all ages, there isn’t anything scary or tragic, it’s 100% crash tests with dummies and mannequins.

You can see the individual test videos for the carriers, crates, and harnesses from the above tests here.

A blind cat’s video story – meet Pinocchio

We love it when customers send photos of their cats playing with our toys. And we love hearing about cats who have special needs or situations.

In April we got this photo from Shawn of her cat Gomez playing with a Cat Faeries As-purr-agus Catnip Toy. Isn’t he cute?

Last week we heard from Shawn again who wanted to tell us about a video featuring two of her cats: Jiminy, and Pinocchio who is blind. Watching them in action, watching them grow up, and seeing how beautifully Pinocchio progresses without eyesight will delight your heart. Love and the vibe of a playful kitten could cure anything! Here’s what Shawn told us:

Aloha! Thank you for your message about the bunnies! Yes, Pinocchio (no eyes), and his “seeing eye” brother, Jiminy, have lots of fun with the toys (as do my 7 other kitties)!

Enjoy this short of video of Pinocchio and Jiminy’s story. They are both two now, and I have been blessed with them since they were kittens.

Shawn (full time rescue mommy and professional violinist)

We asked Shawn to tell us more about living with a blind cat and this is what she had to say:

He is adorable! He definitely has a very heightened sense of smell, which leads him to completely sniff us all over each time we come home. His hearing is absolutely amazing. He hears moths when we can’t even see them. He knows each of the other kitties’ smells and sounds, and he can tell who my husband and I are by our footsteps.

Pinocchio delights us and impresses us every day with his ability to navigate around things, up cat trees; he runs up our flight of stairs at full speed, sometimes forgetting to stop, so he climbs a few extras in the air!

He is very vocal, which is his way for feedback, whether it is to call for his little brother or to find out where mommy is. He is fearless. Most amazing is how he knows how to jump on our bed and off again-truly jumping blindly. He has figured out the distance of everything. He goes into our courtyard and knows his way around. His whiskers help him to not bang into things (except on occasion :)). He also found the kitty door on his own with NO encouragement and figured out how to go in and out by himself.

People may wonder about the litter box. He has NEVER had an accident. I showed him where the kitty box was ONCE and he hasn’t missed it ever. He “covers” but sometimes doesn’t cover all the way! He tries really hard though!

He was shown where the food and water was, and knows right where to go. I even have an extra bowl of water on my night stand for one of my kitties, and he knows how to get to that one. I never showed him.

He can hear the wings of a bird and know exactly where they are. He hasn’t caught a bird but he has caught moths, geckos, and katydids. He will listen intently to a moth and know exactly where it is even though we don’t know it is there. If he smells a gecko, he will be drawn to that area for hours.

Most of my kitties are “misfits”. The sadness I feel for him is unknown to him. He is so, so happy and well adjusted. I was scared at first, and still get anxious when I see him climb or run too fast. But, like people, he has adapted better than seeing kitties. He loves LOVES to snuggle up close. He teaches me something valuable every day about living even though he has a disability. Even as a feline, he has learned to use his other senses remarkably well. I feel pure love from this soul who has changed our world. :)

So friends, don’t let a disability stop you from loving a blind cat, a cat with 3 legs, or a cat who’s an elder. Cats are miracles that purr and meow! Feeling the love today, thank you Shawn!

Do you have a special or unusual cat that you want to tell us about for our newsletter? A video would be fun, but it’s certainly not necessary. Send a message to catfaeries@catfaeries.com and put My Special Cat in the subject line.

Revealing crash test video shows what happens to animals being transported incorrectly

I used to thread the seat belt through the handle of a carrier thinking that if I was in an accident the cat in the carrier would be perfectly safe, that it might jerk, but it would stay in place. Was I ever wrong! In this video you’ll see what happens to the seat belt at the moment of impact! It is shocking.

You don’t need to understand German to see what happens in crash tests, the visuals say it all. We could not find an English language video on the subject.

This video shows us that the best way to transport your cat is in a carrier placed on the floor of the back seat. This video is suitable for people of all ages, there isn’t anything scary or tragic, it’s 100% crash tests with dummies and mannequins.

Non-Toxic Flea Control Proven to Work

I’m so not fond of housecleaning that I can successfully talk myself out of it nearly every time! And vacuuming? Ugh! The noise offends my delicate nerves and ears, and worse, it scares my cats and rabbits. What better reasons could I possibly have to postpone vacuuming for when the dust bunnies grow into tumbleweeds? My hatred of fleas!

After reading an article (linked below) about how effective a quick vacuuming around the house is at killing fleas in any stage of their development I’ve changed my ways. When I learned that for 96% of yucky fleas who get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner it’s “a one way trip.”

Over the years I had read, as I’m sure you had too, that we should put a flea collar in the vacuum cleaner bag. And, that we need to throw out or otherwise destroy the vacuum bag after each use because it was assumed the fleas were still alive and would escape with vengeance in their evil little minds. All of this misinformation gave us more work to do, gave us more to worry about, and fortunately none of it was ever necessary.

From the article…

“Six tests of vacuuming the adult fleas yielded an average of 96 percent of fleas killed; three tests of vacuumed pupae and one test of vacuumed larvae (in their third stage of development) resulted in 100 percent killed.”

Read the entire article here: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/needfleas.htm

Here’s a smart kitty on flea patrol on his Roomba!

See this video…

Film maker Morgan Spurlock spends a week at an animal shelter!

Film maker Morgan Spurlock spends a week at an animal shelter!

Didn’t you just love Morgan Spurlock’s film Super Size Me? Currently he has a series on CNN called Inside Man. Just like in Super Size Me he physically dives into the week’s topic. In the episode which just aired called “Pets in America” he works for one week at The Animal Rescue League of Berks County in Reading, PA so he can firsthand experience everything that happens. He nurses a 3 day old kitten who was not expected to live (but did!) to cleaning kennels and witnessing euthanasia.

“Where I worked in Reading, PA is one of thousands of these types of shelters across the country. You see these animals who are so sweet and so nice and a lot of them who won’t get adopted and will end up getting killed. That’s the sad side of the story. But the fact that there are people who every day make them first in their lives is phenomenal.” -Morgan Spurlock

In this short interview Morgan gets interviewed about this episode of “Inside Man” and what he learned about cat and dog over population.

We tried to find a copy of the episode online for those of you who missed it, but we couldn’t find one. If CNN releases it for online viewers we’ll let you know. It will be repeated on CNN so if you have a DVR you’ll find repeats of this show.