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Meet Twitch

June 16, 2014

One thing I never tire hearing about are the stories of how a CH cat has changed someone’s life. I know exactly how you all feel — adopting our two CH cats changed my life in inconceivable ways.

That’s why I love the story Kelly sent in about her and her 4-year-old moderately severe CH girl, Twitch. Just loving her has not only made Kelly more patient, but has provided opportunities for Kelly to show Twitch love by finding ways to make Twitch’s day-to-day safer, easier and more fulfilling. Learn more about them here:

Does she have certain limitations? 

She can’t go up or down stairs, so she has to stay on one main level of the house, which is the top floor where my room is. She also gets muscle spasms from time to time (they seem to happen when she gets really excited). Her body will just tense/freeze, and you just have to hold her so that she doesn’t end up jumping all over the place.

Twitch1How does she manage the litter box? Eating and drinking? Do you do anything special to help? 

We cut out the very front of her litter box. We discovered when she was a kitten that she had trouble stepping into the litter box, so we cut it so that it looks like a kitty ramp. I also put puppy pads (the kind that you’d use to house train a dog) underneath and around the litter box area. Sometimes if she can’t make it to the litter box, or has difficulty staying up, she will use the pads to go to the bathroom.

What’s one funny story about her (related to CH)? Or share a story about how she figured out how to do something CH cats “can’t” do.

She is a climber and very, very proud of it. She will climb up on my bed with her claws, and sometimes if you learn forward to pick her up to help her, she gets really determined and tries to do it herself before you’re able to. She’s very strong!

Has she ever hurt herself because of her CH? 

Not that I can think of. I try to cushion the area around where she plays. She did hit her head once against my door, so I try to leave my door open now when she’s in there so she doesn’t hurt herself.  Read more…

Dealing with the Transition from Kitten to Adult

June 12, 2014
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Ellie turned 3-years-old on June 2.

I love celebrating our cats’ birthdays. In fact, I love finding any reason to celebrate them. They bring so much joy to our lives, that it’s only natural I’d want them to know how much I adore them.

Ellie with Natural Pet Company ToyBut for some reason, this birthday was harder to take than most. For some reason, in my mind, the 3-year-old mark is the transition between kitten and adult. Yes, she may be a young adult, but I now feel odd calling her a kitten — at least when it comes to her age.

Perhaps that’s because for me, Ellie is a permakitten. Not only in size (she’s not tiny, but certainly petite) and ability (compared to CG she’s less capable), but also in personality. Ellie loves with her whole body, from the tip of her tail — which curves over the back of her body when she feels particularly happy — to the tip of her nose, which always reaches up to tap my lips whenever I make kissy noises at her.

Ellie has the personality of a kitten who has never faced hardship in her life. I think perhaps her “darkest” day was when she got a “new” family back in 2011. (Backstory: When Matt and I went on our honeymoon in 2011, Ellie and CG stayed at my mom’s place. When we brought her back to our apartment, we were convinced Ellie’s goldfish-like memory couldn’t remember that she used to live with us, since she once got lost on her way to the food bowl! Consequently, we joke that we became her new family that day!)

She’s truly lived a life full of love, laughter, snuggles — and had a mom who’s always there to help her down the stairs, pick her up (with a kiss) after a tumble or carry her up to bed. She’s my little girl and I love her.

And I think that’s why I’m having a bit of a hard time accepting that she’s getting older. Ellie’s such a kitten, in so many ways, that I can’t imagine her as an older cat.  Read more…

Meet Willow

June 8, 2014

Do you want to know something I’m thankful for today? I never cease to be amazed and thankful for all of you.

A few months ago, Lori wrote in and shared that ever since she adopted her CH cat Willow a few years ago, she’s been reading the blog and has picked up a number of great tips. Consequently, she felt it was time to share Willow’s story. Here we go!

Willow1“I have two other cats, one of which is special needs with a missing foot. I was looking for another special needs kitten when I ran across an entry in Petfinder.com for three sibling kittens that were being fostered in Chehalis, Wash., about an hour and a half drive south of Seattle.

I emailed the foster mom and got more information about the kittens. She mentioned that they had cerebellar hypoplasia and had motor skills challenges. Not knowing anything about CH, I got online and read everything I could find about it. I decided that it was a handicap that I could manage, so I make an appointment to meet the foster mom and the three kittens.

It was very hard to choose only one, but there was a definite connection between us, so I chose Willow, a female dilute Siamese, and took her home. It didn’t take me very long to wonder what I had gotten myself into. She was 12-weeks-old at the time, but she was very small for her age at 2.5 lbs. I was mostly concerned about her lack of strength, and that she might get hurt while I was at work or away from home.

That same day I went to Babies-R-Us and purchased a “play pen” so she could be contained, but have enough room to move around. It also gave my other two cats the opportunity to get to know her better, but have some separation so they didn’t feel imposed upon. Read more…

Meet Leia

May 18, 2014

It was love at first sight for Kayleigh and Leia — or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say love at first peck. 

Leia1Kayleigh visited Petco one afternoon in between her shifts at work. It just so happened to be an adoption day, and Kayleigh hoped to find a cat who could accompany her to her new apartment — even though that was a month off.

She approached one cage that contained three cats and stuck a finger in the cage to try to pet them.

“That’s when a petite torti started to lick my finger, well, tried to anyways. I was confused at first because she was almost pecking at my finger. I knew I wanted her,” Kayleigh said. 

She spoke to a woman from the shelter, who told her the kitten was a special needs cat with balance issues. That didn’t bother Kayleigh at all, and in a few weeks once Kayleigh had moved into her new home, the kitten, Leia, came too. 

“She was purring non-stop, and I knew I found my purrfect cat!”

Leia, who was about a year and a half old in March, has moderate CH. Kayleigh says being surrounded by another cat without her condition motivates her to work on her walking and climbing.

When it comes to the litter box, Leia is perfectly capable. She can use one with a hood and has a second without one — but if she uses it, she may make a big mess if she loses her balance and falls, which can lead to litter being flung everywhere.

When she eats, she uses her paw as a scoop to fling food onto the floor where she can peck at it. Drinking is no different than other cat, she’s just a little loud! To help her, Kayleigh bought elevated bowls. Kayleigh also owns a platform bed so Leia doesn’t fall far when she accidentally rolls off. 

Recently, Leia conquered her fear of falling down stairs by surprising Kayleigh in the basement one day! It went so smoothly, Kayleigh didn’t even hear her wobble her way down! Read more…

Video of Special Needs Cat, Best Friend Dog Goes Viral

May 6, 2014
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A sweet video has been making its rounds lately, perhaps you’ve seen it. Titled “Dog Befriends Disabled Kitten,” the video shows the special bond between Ralphee the kitten and Max the cattle dog. From the video’s description:

“Ralphee the kitten and Max the cattle dog are an odd couple who seem besotted with each other’s company after they were introduced following Ralphee’s rescue from a barn at a horse stable.

…Ever since Ralphee was brought home, Max is never far away. He appears to be forever curious and watches over Ralphee wherever she goes. Ralphee is growing more mischievous by the day and loves to see what Max is doing as well. She will often get excited when he is nearby and leap in the air before playfully charging in his direction.

Despite her condition, Ralphee is a happy cat who, like most kittens loves affection and causing all sorts of trouble wherever she goes.”

I originally saw it pop up on a Polish site, but now it’s being passed around a number of English sites, including Gawker:

The video originally caught my eye because folks have been attributing Ralphee’s behavior to cerebellar hypoplasia.

While I can’t speak to whether or not that’s true – diagnoses can be complicated as some cats are impacted to different degrees and may have other congenital conditions and not all wobbly cats are CH cats – I’m thrilled that the video of this precious little kitten is getting the word out about this condition.

So thanks, Internet! If you found this post via that video, welcome! If you have questions, I recommend starting with this post. I’ve tried to make information easy to find on the site, but if you have any questions, please leave a comment. Thanks!

May 3 was Specially-Abled Pets Day & CH Cats Made the List

May 5, 2014
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I’ll admit – I’m not completely on top of things nowadays (when it comes to blogging!), but I did want to take a moment to give a shout-out to Catster.

On May 2, they published a post titled “Specially-Abled Pets Day is May 3 — Let’s Celebrate Our Handicats” — and in the post they mention a variety of special needs cats including amputees, blind and deaf cats AND cerebellar hypoplasia cats!

I was terribly thrilled about this, as it’s another sign that CH cats are becoming more and more well-known and acceptable. It’s a far cry from the tenor of conversation happening just a few years ago. That said, if you think your cat may have CH, visit your vet, as not every wobbly cat is a CH cat.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the post. Enjoy!

Show Off Your Love For CH Cats & Help Other CHers

April 25, 2014
Here's one way to show off your love for CH cats!

Here’s one way to show off your love for CH cats!

Hi all – I know it seems like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth in terms of posts lately, but even though the site has gone quiet, I’ve tried to keep an ear turned to all that’s going on in the CH community.

And now that I have a moment, I wanted to make sure that you knew about something special. Have you heard about the “Keep Calm and Love a CH Kitty” t-shirts? They’re super cute, a great way to show off your love for CH cats and a great conversation starter, and what makes this even more wonderful is that each shirt that’s sold helps CH cats.

In fact, the original goal of selling 50 shirts, which raised more than $550 for the two kitties below, was recently reached (hurray!) — and you can still take advantage of this great offer and donate through the end of April.

Here’s some more information:

Ballerina

Ballerina

The campaign ends on April 30th. The shirts are $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping. Click here for the order form; if you live internationally, please click here. Of course, there’s no pressure to buy (I would never do that) — I just wanted you to know about the opportunity. Here’s who we’re helping:

Meet Ballerina, a two-year-old rescue who has not been spayed yet. She experiences episodes during which she attacks other cats and humans, which has led to some problems in her home. Those problems, along with not being able to afford Ballerina’s vet bills, prompted her mom to reach out to Deb Martin to find Ballerina a new home.

This campaign will help fund Ballerina’s vet visit, spay, and hopefully help them figure out her episodes.

In addition to Ballerina, this campaign will also help a one-year-old severe CH kitty named Stevie.

Stevie

Stevie

For the first year of his life, Stevie’s previous owners kept him outside — may I remind you, he was a young, severe CH kitty. On April 12, those owners dumped him at a kill shelter. The shelter contacted Deb, and two days later Stevie was rescued.

These funds will go toward Stevie’s much needed vet visit so he can be examined, have blood work done, receive shots, be microchipped, and he’ll soon be neutered. There may also be dental work done, as all of Stevie’s teeth are chipped from falling on concrete.

Again, there’s no pressure to buy a shirt or donate, I just wanted to spread the word. If you do decide to get a shirt, it will be a great conversation starter. If not, you can at least see how the community is coming together to help cats in need! Along those lines, a big shout-out to Deb Martin for all of the work she does to help CH cats and other pets. It does not go unnoticed!
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