Bionic Cat Vito Becomes ‘Superstar’ With His Prosthetic Legs
Meet Vito: the superstar cat who’s the first in Italy to get two prosthetic hind legs.
Vito, or Vituzzo, had to have his two rear legs amputated after being run over by a car while his owners were away on their honeymoon.
Cats who have to get their hind legs amputated are ordinarily euthanised. But not Vito – this feline made animal history.
Vito’s accident was back in December last year. His owners, former basketball player Silvia Gottardi and her wife Linda Ronzoni, were off celebrating their marriage when they found out their pet had been run over while wandering the streets.
After that, he was missing for more than a day. When he was found, one rear paw was so severely injured that it was immediately removed. Surgeons tried to save the other, but due to infection, it would also have to be amputated.
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È la vigilia di Natale. Un anno esatto fa Elena e Manu, amici delle mamme, mi portavano alla Clinica Veterinaria Milano Sud per un ultimo disperato consulto. Avevo già la zampa destra amputata e l’altra, ormai in cancrena, mi stava mandando in setticemia: a tutti l’unica soluzione possibile sembrava l’eutanasia. Cinque giorni prima Ramona, un’altra amica, mi aveva trovato pieno di sangue di fianco a casa e il primo veterinario aveva fatto quello che aveva potuto. Intanto le mie mamme, che erano in India in viaggio di nozze, stavano tornando per venire da me, erano tristissime perché pensavano di dovermi salutare per sempre. E invece Il veterinario Massimo Petazzoni appena mi ha visitato ha detto: “Se fosse il mio gatto ci proverei!” Il tempo di una veloce Skype con le mie mamme in aeroporto a Delhi e il mio destino è cambiato; mi ha operato d’urgenza per amputarmi anche l’altra zampa e applicarmi delle protesi esterne costruite sul momento. La mattina di Natale le mamme sono rientrate e anche io sono tornato a casa mia. Per me la Vigilia di Natale è una data importante, è il giorno in cui è cominciata la mia seconda vita! Quindi sta sera, come un anno fa, brinderemo a tutte le nuove possibilità che la vita ci offre. Un grazie speciale a Elena, Manu, Mariella, Ramona, la Stefy… Gli amici speciali che mi hanno aiutato in quei momenti terribili quando le mie mamme erano lontane. P.s. Questa foto è stata scattata appena tornato a casa il 25 Dicembre 2018. #vituzzosuperstar #bioniccat #xmascat
Silvia and Linda wrote at the time, as per the BBC:
[Vito has] lost a paw and risks losing the other, without which he couldn’t live. We are far away, it is a terrible moment, but luckily we have beautiful people nearby who can take care of him.
Surgeons got to work fashioning a more permanent solution for Vito’s missing paws, providing him with ‘temporary legs’ in the meantime.
Inspired by British feline Oscar – the first to receive prosthetic legs following a combine harvester accident – Vito’s procedure was a complete success and a landmark moment for veterinary accomplishments in Italy. Now, he roams the streets with spring-loaded legs, not dissimilar to the ones used by athletes.
It took Vito a few months of coming to terms with being a ‘bionic cat’, but eventually he got to grips with the new legs – now, he can easily leap up onto the sofa.
Vito’s story has now went worldwide, however. On Monday, December 23, photographer Claudia Rocchini put together an article telling the cat’s amazing story, which was then shared on his Instagram page.
After local media picked it up, the story has spread like wildfire with animal lovers sharing it here, there and everywhere.
Vito’s Instagram, @vituzzosuperstar, features plenty of cute snaps, and people clearly love him – currently, the account has more than 9,000 followers.
But the fame isn’t getting to him. A recent post on Vito’s account is captioned: ‘The whole press talks about me. But I remain humble.’
We love you, Vito – Merry Christmas!
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