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Cat gets bionic paws

SAINT HELIER, Jersey, June 26 (UPI) -- Oscar, a black cat from the island bailiwick of Jersey who lots his hind paws in a farm machinery accident, has become the first bionic feline, his owners say.

Oscar was injured when struck by a combine harvester while laying in a cornfield. Alerted by a passer-by, co-owner Mike Nolan rushed Oscar to a veterinarian, Peter Haworth, who stabilized the cat and then suggested the possibility of implants.

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The ground-breaking operation was performed weeks later by Noel Fitzpatrick, a veterinary neuro-orthopedic surgeon in Surrey, England, the BBC reported Friday.

Oscar's custom-made paws are bioengineered to mimic the way deer antler bone grows through the skin, the British network said.

"Without this surgery he wouldn't be here, it's as simple as that," said Kate Allan, another of Oscar's owners.

Allan describes Oscar as a "very laid back," 2 1/2-year-old cat, which "made him an ideal patient for this surgery." But the fact it had never been done before caused a lot of concern for his owners.

"It was the uncertainty, nobody knew what the outcome would be because it had never been done before, we were in the hands of the surgeons," Allan said.

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Oscar's still recovering in England but Nolan the reports they are getting are positive.

"As he is at the moment we're told he is running around, he has taken to his new feet really well," Nolan said. "He is jumping about, walking as a cat should, eating, sleeping -- it's phenomenal really."

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