Vito the cat lost his two back legs last year after being run over by a car in Milan, Italy. Now he runs free thanks to his new bionic legs.
Vito, whose full name is Vituzzo, has become an internet sensation in Italy and has his own Instagram page.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Vito Lost His Two Back Legs When He Was Run Over By A Car in 2018
Late last year Vito’s owners, Silvia Gottardi and her wife Linda Ronzoni, were on their honeymoon and he was being looked after by a friend. Vito is an outdoor cat who loves to roam his neighborhood in San Vito Lo Capo in northwestern Sicily. According to BBC, he was run over by a car and his two hind legs were in bad shape. One leg was immediately amputated but there was hope they could save the other. Eventually an infection required that the other leg be amputated too.
“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,” Vito wrote in a crowdfunding post to help raise money for his friend Tempesta, a fellow cat who also lost his hind legs when a dog bit him.
2. Vito Is Able To Walk and Play Again Thanks to His Bionic Legs
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Vi ho detto che ho fatto progressi? Ps: negli ultimi giorni abbiamo trovato Vito più volte al piano di sopra, ma non l’avevamo mai “colto sul fatto”. Visto che non deve sforzare le protesi temporanee ora bloccheremo in qualche modo l’accesso alle scale, ma volevamo comunque condividere questo video perché i progressi che ha fatto in questi mesi ci riempiono il cuore. Operazione definitiva programmata a settembre. Poi le scale si potranno fare! ? #vituzzosuperstar #bioniccat #nothingisimpossible #amoreinfinito #catlovers #ilovemycat #igatticonquisterannoilmondo #gattissimi
Vito the bionic cat, who is six years old, is able to walk and play again thanks to his prosthetic legs. But prosthetic legs for cats are rare and expensive, costing thousands of dollars.
According to Newsweek, “the field is so new that there’s no formal education or licensing program, nor have any real studies been conducted about the impact of orthotics and prosthetics.”
“The mindset is still just to cut the leg off and assume the other three are good enough,” Dr. Brian Beale, a surgeon at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, told Newsweek.
3. Vito Has His Own Instagram Page and Has More Than 6,800 Followers
Vito has his very own Instagram account and has more than 6,800 followers. His Instagram is @vituzzosuperstar and his bio reads: “How to become a bionic cat. Stories of an italian cat named Vito who tries to face a new life on two legs. Based in Milan.”
His Instagram page follows him as he recovered from getting his prosthetic legs and shows him playing and even walking up stairs.
The page is in Italian. One of the first posts to Vito’s Instagram page was on Dec. 26, 2018, just after his legs were amputated. He also has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/vituzzosuperstar with more than 1,800 followers.
4. Vito’s Parents Are Silvia Gottardi, a Former Basketball Player Who Once Played Against the Harlem Globetrotters, and Her Wife Linda Ronzoni, a Graphic Designer and Art Director
Vito’s parents are Silvia Gottardi, a former basketball player, and
Linda Ronzoni, a graphic designer and art director. The couple recently married and live in Milan.
Gottardi won the Italian championship and Italian Super Cup in 2000, Shield and the FA Cup in 2005, and has numerous appearances in the National Team, according to a bio on IMDb. She has a degree in sports marketing from the Catholic University of Milan and a master’s in marketing management from MMU Manchester in the United Kingdom. She wrote and directed “She Got Game: The Movie,” which came out in 2015.
Gottardi played against the Harlem Globetrotters in 2010. She told West 46th Magazine about the experience:
In 2012 Candido Cannavò Foundation and the Harlem Globetrotters joined forces for a charity fund during their Italian tour. After many years a woman was to play with the Harlem Globetrotters. I was chosen to play against them as a testimonial for my commitment in social problems and charity, but also to draw attention to the many women in Italy who are victims of violence. It was a unique experience: the environment was very professional as well as fun and joyful. I can never forget the looks on the players’ faces when in the first game I scored a basket immediately!
Linda Ronzoni recently worked on a project called Volto Manifesto. Volto means face in Italian. “Through the idea of the face as a heritage for humanity, the Volto Manifesto project invites all and all to a collective and shared dialogue on the subject of the changing human face and its unique and unrepeatable role for relationships and society.”
5. Vito Isn’t the First Cat to Receive Prosthetic Legs, Oscar the Bionic Cat From Britain Was the First in 2010
In 2010 Oscar, a cat from Britain, was the first cat to get prosthetic legs. The bottom half of Oscar’s back legs were sliced off by a combine harvester. He was “covered in blood, bits of flesh. It was very gruesome,” said his owners Kate Allen and Mike Nolan, according to ABC News.
In the three hour operation, Oscar had metal holes drilled into what remained of his legs so that special implants – known as ITAPs – could be attached. Skin will eventually grow over the implant’s umbrella-like end, which is specifically designed to form a seal against bacteria. The pegs protrude so that prosthetic “blade runner” paws can eventually be fitted on Oscar.
Oscar holds two Guinness World Records – one for being the first animal with two bionic leg implants and the other for being the first animal to receive implants into its moving joints.