The future once didn’t look too bright for Vincent, a tabby kitten who was born missing the bottoms of his hind legs. Abandoned as a baby, Vincent was found and brought to the Story County Animal Shelter in Nevada, Iowa.

Many animals with disabilities or birth defects are put to sleep. Luckily, a shelter employee took a shine to Vincent and brought him home—and her daughter was a veterinary student at Iowa State University. She connected the now 3-year-old Vincent with Mary Sarah Bergh, a veterinary orthopedic surgeon. After attempting physical therapy, Bergh collaborated with a company called BioMedtrix to develop the cat a set of titanium prosthetics.

The metal implants were inserted into Vincent’s femur bones, and pass through his skin. According to Bergh, Vincent’s bone will grow onto the titanium shaft to support his weight. Additional procedures will gradually add length to his stubby hind legs. Soon, Vincent might be able to run, jump, and play like a typical four-legged feline.

Since only a couple dozen animals across the world have been outfitted with prosthetics like Vincent’s, it’s hard to anticipate the full outcome of his recovery. And since his titanium shafts are exposed, Vincent's legs have to be misted with an antibiotic spray twice daily to stave off infections. But Bergh is happy with Vincent’s hopeful—and heartwarming—progress, which you can check out in the video above. 

All images courtesy of ISUNewsService/YouTube

[h/t IFLScience