Bionic kitty: Titanium paws give frostbitten feline new lease on life

A cat named Dymka lost her paws to frostbite, so vetrinary clinic Best in Russia 3D-printed her prosthetic legs. Kirill KukhmarTASS/Getty Images

When one Russian cat lost its paws, instead of resigning it fought to keep living.

A feline named Dymka (or “mist” in Russian) lost her paws to frostbite. An anonymous person found her two years ago in the snow in the Siberian city of Novokuznetsk and quickly brought her to a clinic, local publication Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.

Why she was left on the side of the road no one knows.

“There are two likely scenarios: Either she ran away or she fell out of the window,” veterinarian Sergei Gorshkov told the local news website last summer. “Unfortunately, frostbite in animals is a very real problem in Siberia.”

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The cat was taken from the local vet to veterinary clinic Best in Novosibirsk, which had two options: euthanize her or save her. One bighearted vet went with the latter.

Gorshkov made the decision that all four of her paws had to be amputated, along with part of her tail and both of her ears, per the Moscow Times.

Instead of leaving her pawless, the clinic decided to go above and beyond to make this kitty’s life as close to normal as possible with the help of 3D-printed bionic legs.

In collaboration with researchers from Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU), the team created a set of 3D-printed prosthetics for the cat. They were installed onto Dymka’s body with the help of titanium implants fused to her leg bones, the school said in a statement.

The adorable cat got her first set of legs in July 2019, Fox News says, followed by her hind-leg implants in December 2019. The clinic shared a video of the cat’s journey last year to celebrate the successful procedures.

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According to The Moscow Times, the cat now lives with the woman who originally found her.

The same clinic performed a similar procedure on another cat Ryzhik, who also suffered from frostbite, in 2016.

The story is an important lesson to all animal owners living in climates with freezing cold seasons.

Last February, a cat was found “essentially frozen” and buried in Montana snow. She was found by her owner in a Kalispell snowbank when temperatures dropped to -13 C, her fur clumped with snow and ice, ABC News reported.

The clinic used warm water and blankets to thaw the cat and after several hours, Fluffy was showing signs of recovery.


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