Meet Pooh: The Bionic Cat Making History in Bulgaria

Nikolay Doychinov/Getty Images
Nikolay Doychinov/Getty Images / Nikolay Doychinov/Getty Images

When Pooh was just a year old, he was run over by a car and lost both of his back paws. Normally, cats who live through such traumatic accidents get around on modified carts or wheels to help them locomote. But Pooh was fortunate: He was referred to a veterinary surgeon in Bulgaria who was able to give him bionic limbs.

After the stray was found in the town of Pleven, surgeon Vladislav Zlatinov offered to take Pooh into the operating theater to perform a rare surgery. Mimicking a procedure first performed in 2009, Zlatinov drilled into both of Pooh’s ankle bones to implant a titanium peg. The pegs use a special coating dubbed hydroxyapatite, which helps coax the bone and skin to grow over the metal. From there, Pooh can be fitted with prostheses that mimic natural paws.

The surgery was deemed a success. Barring a little stumbling, Pooh can walk, run, and jump normally.

Nikolay Doychinov/Getty Images
Nikolay Doychinov/Getty Images

Zlatinov also performed the surgery on the paw of another stray named Steven. Both surgeries were paid for by local animal charities. But Zlatinov doesn’t want to become a feline version of Oscar Goldman: He told members of the press that he hopes the surgery will eventually be affordable enough for all pets that are missing limbs.

[h/t The Telegraph]