I’ll admit it. I don’t think I’ll ever own a “grown-up” bed.
By grown-up bed, I mean one that consists of more than a mattress and box spring on the floor. One that has legs, a headboard, and – dare I imagine – a fancy comforter that makes me feel like I’m living in a hotel or a magazine.
But to be honest, I’m willing to give up all of that.
After adopting CG and later Ellie, I came to the realization that when it comes to beds, lower is better – not to mention that any comforter I own would be peppered with claw holes immediately and ripped apart eventually.
Such is the life of someone living with cerebellar hypoplasia cats. Or so I thought.
But I’ve learned that my solution to this overall issue isn’t the only choice. In fact, there are many options available to folks who do have a “grown-up” bed and want to accommodate their CH cats, too.
This realization happened the other day when Dori posted on Facebook:
“Need some suggestions. We have a very high bed and the kitties love coming in for a kitty snuggle fest… Problem is, Charlotte is constantly wanting to get down to explore or do her thing. She has a tendency to fall and fly across the floor and I’m fearful she’s going to hurt herself. It makes for an unrestful night because we are always listening for her. I could use pillows on the floor but is there anything else besides $50 worth of pillows I could use? I hate to ban them from the room but I’m considering.”
The trouble is, how do we enable our special needs cats to get on and off our beds safely?
The community was quick to come to Dori’s aid. A number of people offered great suggestions, and it made me realize that I’m not the only one dealing with a similar issue – not to mention finding ways to come up with solutions.
So let’s say you have a “grown-up” bed, which from now on is going to be called what it is: A bed. How do you accommodate your CH cats? Here are a number of solutions:
Tomorrow marks our second anniversary.
As I sit here reflecting on how well things are going, I can’t help but think part of that success is thanks to our cats. (I know, I know, obligatory post about how our cats have impacted some aspect of my life.)
Well, anyway, it’s the truth.
Living with CH cats changes you. It helps you understand limitations; dream up ways to get around those limitations. It grants you opportunities to grow unlimited patience, especially when confronted with another’s need. It’s made me more considerate, more appreciative. Life is less about stuff, and more about experiences together.
I think all of those lessons have contributed to who I am as a woman, cat mom, daughter, sister, friend, and today, most importantly, wife.
I know I still have a long way to go personally, but in the past few years my little family has had a profound impact on my life. I know without a doubt that they’re all blessings from God. They’re in my life to change me for the better, and I see that happening every day.
So happy anniversary to my little family – specifically Matt. The past two years have been incredible, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
“How can you not know your blood type?”
It was a legitimate and concerning question I posed to my husband a few months back. Luckily for him, it had never come up. After giving blood platelets one day, he was presented with the opportunity to learn which blood type he had. He was holding the envelope that held the answer, and while I was eager to find out which type he had, I was hoping I’d never need to share it.
That said, emergencies happen. You never know when you’ll need to know your blood type – or for that matter your cat’s. So I started to look into cat blood types, their giving and receiving blood, and more. Here’s what I found:
While humans can have one of eight possible blood types, cats can only have one of three: A, B, and AB. Most cats (about 94-99%) have type A, but this can vary by breed:
- Type A: Most non-pedigreed cats, as well as American Shorthairs, Siamese and other Oriental breeds
- Type B: Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, and about 15 percent of Persian and Abyssinian cats
- Type AB: It’s rare, but it has been found across a number of breeds
Unlike humans, there is no universal donor when it comes to cat blood types. If a cat receives a blood transfusion, the donated blood must be of the same type, otherwise a potentially fatal reaction can occur.
Consequently, knowing your cat’s blood type can be essential when your cat is having surgery or giving birth.
If a kitten is born with a different blood type than his mother, there could be serious complications. In a mother cat’s milk there are antibodies that protect against other blood types. By drinking her milk, a newborn kitten’s blood cells could be destroyed by the mother’s antigens. Some researchers believe this may be the cause behind “fading kittens.” Read more…
Finding the perfect toy for your cerebellar hypoplasia cat can be difficult, especially if the cat’s mobility is somewhat limited.
So here’s a suggestion from Paige, who’s the pet parent to Mister Wobbles. Since he has moderate to severe cerebellar hypoplasia, it was important for her to find him a toy that he could play with while laying down. The winning option? The Bergan Turbo Track Cat Toy – with a twinkle ball, of course.
“We have this kitty track toy that Mister Wobbles absolutely loves – it’s by far his favorite toy,” Paige says. “He is able to do all of the playing while laying down, so it has worked out really well for him.”
“We also purchased a separate ball for it – one that flashes and lights up when it’s touched, and I think this makes for a huge ‘upgrade’ on the toy, as he loves the flashing light. We also ordered a catnip ball for it (but it’s a little too small, so sometimes he knocks it out of the track). We now have the track set on a plush rug, which is nice because it keeps it in place and it doesn’t slide around on the floor when Mister Wobbles plays.”
What a great idea, Paige! And I love how they placed the track toy on the rug, so they toy stays in place, and so Mister Wobbles can be more comfortable and have greater traction!
Have you found ways to modify a regular cat toy into one that meets your cat’s needs? Please share in the comments!
How do you convince a potential adopter that a special needs cat, such as a cerebellar hypoplasia cat, may be “the one”? At some shelters, special needs cats are scooped up quickly. Other shelters report that special needs cats are less adoptable. The unfortunate truth is some folks may simply be skeptical, worried, or have preconceived notions of a special needs condition.
This is a post to work past that. Brush up on these conversation topics – you never know when they’ll come in handy at your shelter, when chatting with a friend about rescue, or even while visiting with your vet. Some are good practices when filling out a cat’s profile online, some work well when chatting with potential adopters in person, and others apply to both scenarios.
So where do you start?
The first step is to get to know the cat really well. Spend time with him to understand his abilities and limitations, experiment with ways to help him, and get to know his personality. If the cat was fostered, speak with his foster parent and learn as much as you can about the cat.
This simple, but essential step will take your conversation from:
“This is Wobbles. He wobbles when he walks. He seems to do OK.” to:
“This is Wobbles. He was born with a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia that impacts his fine motor skills, but he doesn’t let that stop him! He’s six-months-old, and in the time I’ve known him, he’s become much more capable. He used to have trouble using the litter box, but now he’s a pro. He loves playing with sparkle balls, and does really well if he has carpet to walk on.”
The difference is you don’t want the cat to be known for only his condition, but for his personality, accomplishments, and what he’s done in spite of being differently abled.
That way, you’ll be able to write an engaging profile online or chat passionately about this cat with potential adopters. Knowing the cat well means that you’ll also be able to answer specific questions about his needs, or address potential future issues. (More on this later.)
But that’s not all. Yes, you want to tug at potential adopters’ heartstrings or pique their curiosity to open their minds to the idea of adopting a special needs cat, but once you get them hooked, it’s time to cover the basics about the cat’s special needs. Read more…
The United States has an unbelievable problem with pet overpopulation. Strays have litters. Pets have litters. Some of these animals get adopted, some end up on the streets, and some end up in shelters.
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room for all of those animals to end up in shelters or homes. Each year, nearly four million cats and dogs are euthanized simply because there are too many of them. Tragically, a majority of those animals are healthy, friendly, and could be adopted – if only there were enough homes to take them in.
That’s why it’s so important to spay or neuter your cat. Spaying or neutering your cat means that you’re doing your part in not adding to our nation’s pet overpopulation problem.
While many people come up with endless reasons why they’d like their cat to procreate, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Here are eight reasons why you should strongly consider it: Read more…
Now that you’ve read Mister Wobbles’s adoption story, it’s time to get to know this kitty a bit better! Paige, Mister Wobbles’s pet parent describes her 2.5-year-old CHer as moderate to severe. Here’s a bit more about his day-to-day:
How does he manage the litter box? Eating and drinking? Do you do anything special to help?
Mister Wobbles is able to use the litter box all by himself. However, he is not able to stand; he lays down while he uses it. As he gets ready to go into the litter box, he methodically balances and concentrates before all of a sudden making his little “jump” for the box. We have a large, covered litter box, and he uses the side of the box to lean against as he gets situated. Since he lays down, sometimes his aim is slightly off, which is why the covered box with the sides works best. He tends to take a very, very long time in the litter box, and ends up pawing at the litter and against the sides of the litter box.
As for eating and drinking, he lays down. He has a water fountain, so there is no chance of the water tipping over and making a mess. We use a double dish that is set in a base with a rubber lining on the bottom, so there is no chance of the food dish tipping over. In recent months, we have witnessed a couple of times where Mister Wobbles has eaten standing up! It’s not a normal thing, but there have been a couple of sightings of it. The first time I saw it, I was SO thrilled and such a proud CH mom!
What’s one funny story about him (related to CH)? Or share a story about how he figured out how to do something CH cats “can’t” do.
He used to eat straight out of the food dish, however, about a year ago he decided to start “scooping” the pieces out of the dish and putting them on the place mat and eating them off the ground… We aren’t really sure why!? He has also apparently “taught” our non-CH cat Titan how to do this, and we have even caught Titan copying the behavior.
Better yet, one of our other non-cats, Coconut, has also decided to copy one of Mister Wobbles behaviors as well. Coconut someones completely lays down when he drinks! Either they just all want to be as awesome as Mister Wobbles, or they are being good friends and copying his behaviors so that he doesn’t feel as “different.”
Has he ever hurt herself because of his CH?
No (crossing fingers)!
Each animal is special in his own way. How is he special?
He gets SO excited as soon as he hears us come in the door. Each time we see him, he acts as if he hasn’t seen us in months (even if it’s only been minutes). He obsessively licked our faces and purrs. At night, he sleeps between our pillows. He is also constantly making us smile and laugh, with his cute movements, facial expressions, and his determination.
He is an incredibly focused, determined cat. I have never seen anything like it. When he sets his mind to something, he will absolutely accomplish it, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes him. He also seems to have an extremely long body and long legs. Read more…