Betty’s quite the little cat. As you may have read the other day, she inspired Ruth, her pet parent, to write a charming children’s book about her struggles and successes of living with cerebellar hypoplasia.
Betty found us. She was stranded in the middle of the road in front of our house. At the time, she was so small she fit in the palm of my hand, and we had no idea she had CH. I’d never heard of it.
How severe is her CH?
She’s on the milder side.
Does she have certain limitations?
She can’t jump or run up or down stairs. She “runs” with a peculiar hopping, skipping motion. She doesn’t like being outdoors at all.
How does she manage the litter box? Eating and drinking? Do you do anything special to help?
She does fine with the litter box, although occasionally I have to help clean the litter off her fur. She eats and drinks well all on her own.
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.
The whole book is full of funny stories about her! This cat has figured out how to do – or get us to do – whatever it is she wants!
Has she ever hurt herself because of her CH?
I think she’s hit her head a time or two and taken longer than normal to get back up, but so far (knock on wood) nothing appears to have been serious.
She has an incredible personality. Feisty and independent, but still lets me love on her occasionally.
Have you found ways to help her with CH? How?
The stairs in our house are carpeted so she can claw her way up as she insists on doing. There’s not much else she’ll let us do.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other CH parents?
We have to keep an eye out for her underfoot. She’s small and black and easily blends in with the floor. She can’t zip out of the way like the other cats.
What do you think people need to know about CH?
That these cats are as full of life and personality as a “normal” cat. Betty’s been a blast to have around and I truly can’t imagine not having her “yell” at me when I come through the door at the end of the day.
What is your favorite and least favorite thing about her having CH?
Favorite would be that we don’t have to worry about her trying to get out the front door to chase lizards like the other cats try to do. Least favorite is that I always worry that one of these times, she’s really going to hurt herself.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d suggest that someone who is looking to adopt a cat do the research on this type of disability before adopting. While cats with a mild form, like Betty, are about the same as a “normal” cat, the severe forms require extra care. It’s the same as any other type of breed or disability, people should know what they’re getting into. And if they do adopt one of these cats, be prepared to have them march right into your heart and take over!