Vito the cat is the first feline in Italy to receive prosthetics after an accident caused the loss of his hind legs.
His story first garnered media attention in his native Sicily and soon the tale of the ‘bionic cat’ spread around the world. Though a small town kitty hailing from San Vito Lo Capo, Vito is known around the internet as #vituzzosuperstar. Vituzzo is the 6-year-old orange tabby’s full name, but at home, he’s known simply as Vito.
Late last year, Vito lost his legs in a terrible accident while his moms, Linda and Silvia, were away on their honeymoon. His legs were crushed by a car. He was found a day after the accident and rushed to a veterinarian. The damage to one paw was so severe, surgeons had no choice but to amputate right then. His other hind paw remained, the medical team doing what they could to keep the leg intact.
Informed of the accident, former basketball player Silvia Gottardi and her wife, Linda Ronzoni, rushed home to care for their ginger cat. On his Facebook page, Vito recalls the time after his accident, “My moms who were in India on their honeymoon, they were coming back to come to me, they were very sad because they thought they had to say goodbye to me forever. Instead the veterinarian Massimo Petazzoni just visited me said: ‘If it were my cat I would try!’”
And try they did.
Technology is Changing Things For Injured Cats
Vito’s moms and medical staff tried their hardest to save the remaining hind paw, but infection set in. Eventually, it was lost too, but Dr. Petazzoni was prepared. After removing the gangrenous paw, he fitted Vito with temporary prosthetic legs.
Typically, when a cat loses both hind limbs, it’s a death sentence. With the science of prosthetic limbs for animals being a newer field, the technology is costly, ranging into the thousands of dollars range. But, Dr. Petazzoni and Vito’s parents were inspired by the story of Oscar, a British cat who received prosthetic legs after a gory combine accident left his legs amputated.
Thanks to Dr. Petazzoni, as well as Linda and Silvia’s dedication to their beloved cat, Vito got a second chance at life.
Vito’s Will to Live
Now fitted with top of the line blade-runner style legs, Vito is back to exploring and enjoying life as a cat should.
It took a little time to acclimate to life without his original hind paws, but as this video shows, he seems to be progressing well!
“I lost my back legs in an accident, but not the will to live. Thanks to two prostheses I enjoy life like all other domestic cats,” wrote Vito on a crowdfunding page for a fellow feline who’d lost his legs after being bitten by a dog.
Though he’s Vituzzo Superstar, Vito says, “The whole press talks about me. But I remain humble.”