A 10-year-old cat in Raleigh, N.C., will undergo the first surgical procedure to give a feline an artificial knee in the U.S. today. The five-hour operation will take place at N.C. State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Cyrano, a 20-pound Tabby, suffered from bone cancer, and his left hind leg has deteriorated from radiation and other treatment. Although the cancer has gone into remission, movement for the limping cat is slow and painful. Unfortunately, amputating the cat’s leg was not an option because of its high weight.
It took seven months to custom design Cyrano’s implant, which is made of cobalt chromium alloy and dense plastic, and the procedure is estimated to cost more than $20,000. Sandy Lerner, one of the founders of Cisco Systems, is the cat’s owner.
Cyrano isn’t the first cat to get a full knee replacement. In 2005, Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick in the U.K. performed the first artificial knee replacement procedure on a cat named Missy.