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What is Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia?

Thanks so much for visiting this blog! I hope you find it useful. Prior to commenting, please read the bulleted notes at the end of this post — they may help answer questions. Thank you!                                                                                                                                                                            

Feline cerebellar hypoplasia is a non-progressive, non-contagious neurological condition that results in walking and balance problems.

A kitten is born with “CH” when her cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls fine motor skills and coordination, is underdeveloped at birth.

A cerebellum’s growth can be stunted by a number of factors, most commonly if the mother contracted the feline panleukopenia virus while pregnant or if there was some sort of trauma to the kittens while they were in the womb.

Consequently, an underdeveloped cerebellum can result in underdeveloped or complicated mobility. CH cats are known for their “drunken sailor” walk, which is why they’re known endearingly as “wobbly cats.”

The severity of a kitten’s CH can vary greatly — even among litter mates. While some cats may only have a slightly impacted gait, others may have significant trouble getting around, if they’re able to walk at all. It’s important to remember that the cat isn’t sick, weak or hurt; she’s simply uncoordinated.

CH cats may also experience head tremors, the uncontrollable shaking of the cat’s head when she’s trying to focus. Again, some cats may experience mild cases, others may be more severe. (Consequently, some think CH cats may have vision issues. If you think this is an issue with your cat, speak to your vet.)

Unless a CH cat has other health issues, her life expectancy is the same as a cat’s without CH. Since the condition is non-progressive, it will never get worse — and in some cases, owners say that their cat became more capable over time.

A CT scan or MRI is the only way to officially diagnose cerebellar hypoplasia; however, many vets are familiar with the symptom’s characteristics so those tests are often not necessary. Yet it is important to understand there are some diseases and conditions that may mimic CH.

One of the great things about CH cats is that they don’t seem to know that they’re any different from other cats. Even though they may think they’re normal, depending on the severity of their CH, they may be somewhat limited in ability and learn how to do things differently. For example, some CH cats don’t have the coordination to jump – so instead they become great climbers. Consequently, CH cat owners may find ways to help their cat become more capable. You can find more topic-specific help here.

Click this video to watch a fantastic video about a CH cat named Charley.

There isn’t a treatment for this condition; however, many owners will tell you that there doesn’t need to be one. They’ll say their CH kitties are some of the sweetest cats you’ll ever meet, and what they lack in coordination they make up in personality. You can read their stories here. And if you’re not convinced, here are 10 reasons why you should adopt a CH cat.

Since many people are still learning about this condition — and because some shelters don’t adopt out special needs animals, many kitties with CH are needlessly euthanized every year. While it’s not an extraordinarily common condition, cats with this condition do require a special owner who’s devoted to providing the best care possible for the cat.

147 Comments leave one →
  1. Nina Provenzano permalink
    December 1, 2011 10:11 pm

    I have a CH Cat named Bella I found her 9 years ago and I am blessed that she in my live I love her so much please adopt a CH Cat they will put joy in your life

  2. Renee permalink
    January 3, 2012 7:50 pm

    Two and a half years ago, we went on vacation and came across a pet shelter outside a pet store that had several pets for adoption. We saw a little kitten shaking in one of the cages. I was immediately drawn to her and her beautiful gold eyes. She was so sweet and looked so scared. Everytime a car drove by she would shake and jump, which I commented that she must be scared. That was when the workers said that the kitten had CH. We didn’t know anything about CH, but as we walked into the nearby store, I couldn’t stop looking at this sweet little kitten, and the kitten couldn’t stop watching us. It was then I started crying, my poor husband thought I lost it! I told him, I felt that no one woud adopt her because she wasn’t perfect. My heart broke for her. We were on vacation, certainly not a good time to adopt an animal, so my husband dismissed the idea for the day. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about that kitten. After several days, and more discussion, my husband agreed we should adopt her. The only problem was we didn’t know what agency it was. I called the store, who gave me the number to the agency, which gave me the number to the owner’s home (who took all special needs animals home to care for them). We made arrangments that very next weekend, and went out to pick her up. We had no clue how much CH affected her, but were willing to accept her and take care of her the way she needed. It’s been 2.5 years, and we have loved every moment of caring for this sweet cat. She was adopted as Missy, but wouldn’t answer to that name, only Kitty, which shortened to Kiki. She is a playful, sweet, attentive cat. She does very well day-to-day, but has her moments every now and again. She is certainly perfect in my eyes. :)

    • January 4, 2012 8:47 am

      Renee,
      What a heartwarming story! I’m so glad Kiki touched your heart and you were able to give her a wonderful, loving home! How does she do with her CH now? Would love to hear more about her :)

    • Sharon Havener permalink
      June 10, 2014 1:16 pm

      What a special couple you are. If we had more people like you WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD THIS WOULD BE. Thank you for caring.

  3. meghan permalink
    January 25, 2012 8:15 pm

    Question, i just adopted a kitty who’s almost 3. Thrice my kitty, seems to walk fine, only with a lean at times almost like walking diagonal and on top of that leans into walls lots and instead of sitting alot of times he’ll just flop over, just drop on his side. Do you think he might have mild ch?

    • January 26, 2012 7:52 am

      Hi Meghan,
      Thanks for checking out my blog! Of course I have no way of really knowing if Thrice has CH, but it sounds like something is going on. If anything, it may be another kind of ataxia (you can read more about it here, I’m also posting another piece on different types of ataxia on the 29th.)
      Have you discussed his behaviors with your vet? What does he think?
      Hope you and Thrice are doing well!

    • Mariah permalink
      July 22, 2013 8:28 am

      What you are describing is what my cat did before her physical /massage therapy with me. Whatever it is called, I believe there is hope to undo it, but not through conventional veterinary care, which could not take the time to work individually without charging millions!

  4. jill ashmore permalink
    May 9, 2012 12:37 pm

    we live in the UK and have a cat who may have this .. we got her and her sister from a rescue when they were about 6 weeks old .. they came from someone who bred the mother cat every time and let the kittens just go to anyone that wouls hand over the cash .. someone rescued the whole litter at 4 weeks old .. they wouldnt let them have the mother cat .. and handed them into the rescue .. as Smarty grew it became apparent that she wasnt moving about like her sister was so we took her to our vet and they suspected she had a slipping knee cap and when she was old enough pinned it in place .. it soon became apparent tho that it hadnt cured the problem and we went back to the vets who said they thought she had brain damage from the mother cat being over bred …… they said they could refer her or scans etc to one of the vetinary universities but they thought all that would do is find out what the damage was to her brain and doubted that anythoing could be done about it .. so we decided that it wasnt worth the hassel and expense just to be told its this bit thats affected .. so cant be exactly sure this is her problem .. but shes definately very similar .. cant run or jump or climb .. but is quite happy to potter about in the garden which is well fenced ..she often kind of collapses for a few seconds and cant get to her feet straight away but then gets up and walks off like noithings happened .. we made her a little stair case that she can use if she needs to for getting onto the work top where shes fed.. more often tho she sits and shouts at ypou to lift her on lol .. shes now about 10 years old and one of the sweetest most laid back cats weve evewr had .. and is like a cuddly sleepy doormouse a lot of the time … sadly her sister got hit by a car outside where we live when she was about 9 months old .. since then ive always thought smartys condition is a blessing because it means we can keep her in and safe and would be wary of having another cat maybe unless it was another with similart problems to smarty who we could keep safe ….. smarty has her own facebook page too … https://www.facebook.com/pages/smarty-a-very-special-little-cat/130052137034746?ref=ts shes a very special happy littl;e cat indeed

    • May 9, 2012 12:50 pm

      Hi Jill, Thanks for commenting! I’m so happy to hear that Smarty, no matter what condition she has, is doing so well! Give her a hug for us!

  5. Gergory Dolphin permalink
    May 20, 2012 9:27 pm

    Hi Amand, I have 4 cats out of a 7 kitten litter 2 years + old now with CH one is more in need of my help the other guys are just wobbly .Still in all i have 6 cats rescued a kitten tied up in placstic bags he turned out fine.However 6 cats and one broke dude over 3 years and never enough time to play with them all.I need forever homes for the special ones , I made i promise to them all not to abadone them . Any resources or direction would be helpful
    Greg Dolphin

    • May 21, 2012 4:05 pm

      Hi Greg, Thanks for reaching out! I’ll email you soon and put you in touch with our CH cat adoption specialist. I’m sure she’ll be able to help!

  6. Tiffany permalink
    June 13, 2012 1:09 am

    I recently looked into adopting a kitten from a local shelter with CH. I’m actually excited because I was born with cerebral palsy and feel that I would understand if anyone the struggles and things this kitten would go through. It’s no surprise kittens improve with age just as children do with therapy. I only wish people were more accepting of these special animals and people alike.

    • June 13, 2012 7:31 am

      Hi Tiffany! I completely agree with you, and I’m so glad you’re interested in adopting a CH cat! I hope it works out, but if not, there are many other CH kitties up for adoption too: http://lifewithchcats.com/adoptable-ch-cats/

    • Tiffany permalink
      June 13, 2012 8:57 pm

      I will keep everyone updated as I get closer to adoption, just need my landlord to sign a paper saying I can have a cat and the shelter said I can take her home. Im having him sign it Friday, so excited. Im hoping I will have a new addition to my house by next week. My service dog will be sad she has to share me.

  7. Anona Mouse permalink
    June 25, 2012 9:27 pm

    My kitty Naia has always walked funny. we took her to a vet to check out what was wrong with her. they said they didn’t know. After seeing the Charley video, I knew my kitty had CH. She may not be very sweet, but she is a beautiful cat. Thank you for allowing me easy access to this information and letting me put and worries of her condition to rest.. thanks to you, I did what my cats vet could not. I dream of becoming a veterinarian when I grow up, and thanks to this, I have a step up to my own vet.

    • June 26, 2012 7:34 am

      I’m so happy I could help! And I’m glad to hear you want to become a veterinarian. That’s a wonderful profession! Perhaps you can share what you find on CH with your veterinarian; in my experience few ever see a CH cat, if they even know what it is. A great resource you can give to them are these handouts: http://bit.ly/LyBO1K Hope they’re helpful and thanks for reading!

  8. Jessica permalink
    June 27, 2012 12:57 pm

    Hello all,
    So, we have three adult kitties and I wanted a new one and went to a vet where they had a litter. They originally had 9 kittens 4 were left, and 2 had the CH. Even though I was scared that he might have more severe health issues down the road (as I’d never heard of CH and even though the tech was saying no no, everything is fine it just affects the balance) I still felt sorry for the little guy and it broke my heart to know that he’d been passed up 7 times due to being wobbly.

    We have him sequestered in the guest bathroom so all can adjust without direct contact. So my question is, when we get ready for all cats to meet, are there any special actions we should take to do so? The adult male is already hissing at the two adult females, but this is not new for him. The others are also declawed.

    Another question I have is, b/c he does slight balance issues, would declawing be an issue? I’m being careful to let him do everything and not help him up. If he wants on the toilet, he’s making several tries up the carrier, then over to the toilet seat. I do worry slightly when he falls or hits is head pretty good on the wall if he could cause other brain damage, but I’m not rushing to him, I just watch to see how he is.

    BTW – I chose to take him b/c of his “defect”…if felt everyone has something wrong with them and so why not? I can hear him playing up in the bathroom right now batting his ball around and it makes me smile. I am worried about how the other cats will react (a) b/c of teh CH and (b) b/c of the claws. Are these un-nessesary worries?

    • June 27, 2012 1:44 pm

      Hi Jessica,
      Thanks for opening your heart to a wobbler!

      I totally understand your concerns, and I’m glad you’re looking into them! At the end of the day, of course it’s totally up to you to make a decision, but I hope everything below will be some food for thought.

      I think you can likely introduce Charlie to the other cats the same way you introduced all of your other cats to one another — slowly and patiently :) One thing to keep in mind that I learned when my two CHers met each other is that the other cats will likely not understand why your little one falls down. As mine did, they may interpret that as an “attack,” which was actually pretty adorable. However, you’d want to make sure that this doesn’t start Charlie’s relationship with everyone on the wrong foot. I’d say (obviously) supervise their first encounters to see what your older cats think of him. Some folks believe that their older cats take the younger wobblier ones under their wings, so to speak, because the older cats recognize that there’s something different with them.

      As for declawing, I can understand why you would want to remove Charlie’s nails since your others are declawed; however, there’s a lot to consider on this issue. Many see that their CH cats use their claws on a daily basis not only for balance, but also to get around. For example, mine cannot jump, so instead they climb onto the couch, bed, etc. To declaw them would be to limit their worlds significantly.

      Yet, some CHers do approve with age (they become more competent as they get exercise and build muscle mass/memory), so not all need their claws as much as others. Unfortunately, there’s no crystal ball to reveal how much and if your CHer will improve.

      So I’d say give it a couple more days. Keep these things in the back of your head as you watch Charlie do his thing. I’m sure you’ll come to the right decision for him in time.

      Good luck and I’d love it if you’d keep me posted! New CHers are always a blast!

  9. Jessica permalink
    June 27, 2012 1:01 pm

    On a side note***** Ironically my husband liked the name Charlie before I found this website so it’s neat to see that cat in the video is also named Charley. :D

  10. Jessica permalink
    June 27, 2012 2:20 pm

    AH, yes, I could see where a declaw would be limiting. One of the 2 adult female cats we got from a couple who declawed all four paws b/c they had a baby. Of course, when the terrible two’s hit, they put the Bermese on crasiglist as the child was chasing her all the time and spent most of her days under a bed…sorry I digress. My point is, with her I’ve seen her miss when climbing or jumping from place to place over a greater distance b/c she doesn’t even have the back claws to help her.

    Ironically, I’m allergic to cats and was told by my allergist to keep all cats off the bed (they never slept with us but we’d allow them on the bed at any other times), keep them out of the bedroom….PERIOD. So, I’d prefer him not climb with claws where he is allowed and am thinking about steps to place at the end of our couch.

    In watching Charlie, I believe his CH is more on the milder side, and he’s already getting better at climbing the carrier to get to the toiler to get to me better when I stop in for a visit. That being said, I read about CH cats using steps to get to a couch and am thinking that those would be a good alternative for him to get to us rather than clawing/climbing. If we were to keep the back claws (I’d never personally declaw all four, just adopted one that it was already done to) would this be a good alternative? I know that subject is a touchy one even with normal cats, but for 12 yrs that’s what I’ve adopted and what I know….the “formal livingroom” furniture as well as my skin is grateful.

    Thanks for the insight, this is a WHOLE NEW WORLD to me as a cat lover and I want to make his life as fun/safe as possible. :o)

    • Robin permalink
      September 13, 2013 11:06 pm

      Please don’t declaw your cat. I have had cats with and without claws at rage same time with no injuries. The cats with claws retracted their nails when playing…as if they knew.

    • Jan permalink
      July 12, 2014 7:33 am

      Hi Jessica,

      I too am a cat lover. I have had much fine furniture over the years, and must say that declawing a cat is nothing more than barbaric animal cruelty. Their are many more options available to you if you do the research. Their are caps that can be put on your cats claws. Much like you have your nails done at the salon, you can do this at home. I hope some day people learn that Breaking an animals front feet and then expecting them to walk on them, is paramount to me breaking all of your toes and making you walk on them with No support. Now imagine the pain they are in for the sake of your furniture.

      Please if you are going to be so concerned about your furniture, do not have a cat. Otherwise, be prepared to use Claw caps. Don`t be Cruel to another poor animal. As humans we are so Very cruel to animals when we do such things for OUR OWN happiness. DO THEY not DESERVE the VERY SAME…… Would you do this to your Human baby I doubt it.

  11. July 26, 2012 9:04 am

    Declawing is amputation and extremelt painful. Scratching posts and redirection a better choice for any cat CH or not.

  12. Marina permalink
    August 8, 2012 6:15 am

    I sure wish I had a way to demonstrate how I worked with a type of “physical therapy” with my CH kitten. My having had bodywork training and experience surely helped me understand her limitations, palpate her hypertoned musculature, and explore her range of motion, so that in doing the gentle exercises to strengthen her neurological system, I did not hurt her , nor overextend her. One of the first things I did is work with gentle paw reflexology and gentle , brief hip area massage , which reduced her spasticity, thus giving her more control over her movements. Her head bobble soon disappeared and never returned. The second step was strengthening her back legs by helping strengthen the “signals” back there going to her brain. I would put her on my chest, both of us lying down, and gently work with range of motion alternating with massage. When she got a little stronger, I would work with 3 or 4 little “assisted squats”. I believe a sensitive and trained massage therapist with some animal training could help others with this, but I also think merely reading about it and trying to do it may lead to complications. Just knowing it is possible to intervene and help the neuromuscular system change is a helpful concept.

    • Laura Gardner permalink
      January 26, 2013 2:45 pm

      Hi Marina. I am a nurse and just adopted a Maine Coon mix who I believe has CH- all of the symptoms match and he has no signs of contagious illness. I was wondering if you would consider sharing the therapy you used with me in more detail or if you can refer me to a site that has more info. Thanks!

    • Yolanda permalink
      July 12, 2014 8:19 pm

      Where can I find a book or info for the therapy to help our little Ellie.

  13. Carolyn permalink
    October 29, 2012 4:26 pm

    I have 2 CH kitties that look just like Charley. I am a foster mom for a TNR group. However, I seem to end up with the ones that aren’t adoptable. “Betty & Bernie Bobblehead” came to me because their eyes were so infected. Then we realized they had a problem walking. They were diagnosed with CH. I thought they would have to be “put” down but our vet said no and was only concerned with their eyes. They are doing great now!!!!! They fit in with all the other “unadoptables”, the lame, the blind and even the ones with bad attitudes. All of my kitties love them! I am blessed to have these precious souls.

  14. samantha permalink
    November 6, 2012 7:14 pm

    Agador Spartacus is our 5 month old CHitten and recently we’ve been having an issue with him pooping and peeing everywhere but the litter box. We try placing him in the box but he freaks out when we do. This is a new thing for him. We love.him so much but we are going crazy trying to figure out why! His usual spots are under the couch or dining room table. We changed the type of litter and he still isn’t okay with it. My father hasn’t caught onto this yet but once he does, we may have to get rid of him would break our hearts. Is this a CHitten thing or a kitten thing? Any thoughts, suggestions or comments are more than welcome

    • November 6, 2012 7:27 pm

      Hi Samantha!
      I’m sorry to hear about your troubles! That can be rough. You said he just started going outside of the pan? Can you attribute any change to this change in behavior? Perhaps you changed the location of the pan? Perhaps it’s not as clean as he’d like? Perhaps the pan is too high for him, and it’s difficult for him to get into it?

      It sounds like he associates his current pan with something unpleasant. Maybe something happened to him while he was in it at one point (maybe he heard a scary noise, was interrupted by a person/other pet, etc), which could make sense as to why he no longer wants to use it. Have you tried purchasing another type of pan for him to use? This may help reset his behavior, because odds are he’s not happy about going to the bathroom around the house. Cats are extremely clean animals and he’ll want to use the pan, instead of going all over your (and his!) home.

      I’d also recommend speaking to your vet to make sure that there isn’t a medical condition involved. This can also likely be the case.

      Good luck! Keep me posted,
      Amanda

    • Beverly permalink
      July 19, 2013 4:30 pm

      Agador Spartacus has got to be the BEST name for a cat I’ve ever heard. Your precious kitty is in good hands if he’s being raised by a fan of The Birdcage! Good luck with him. I’ve never had a cat with CH, but I’ve had many special needs cats in the past. Sometimes they can cause extra trouble and stress than a “normal” cat might, but in the end, they’re a joy!

  15. Kelly permalink
    December 10, 2012 4:43 pm

    I have the most amazing cat ever and she has Cerebellar Hypoplasia. I was getting cat food for my cat at a pet store who were having a cat adoption day. all the cats were in crates expect for this one. She was just laying in the middle of the store looking around. I was automaticlly curious. I went up to the adoption rep and asked about the cat. She giggled at me and told me to go pet the cat. as soon as i was done petting her she started “walking” after me. She was flopping and falling all over. The people around started at this poor cat. I could hear the cruel things they were all saying about this sweet and beautiful black cat. I went up to the agency rep and asked her what the odds were of this cat being adopted. The rep explained to me that this 8 month old cat was born in the agency and no one has even taken a second look at her until me. At that moment i knew i had to take this special cat home. My amazing cat is named Von, and we have been together for over a year with my other cat Jade. At times i don’t know whos happier von is with us. Definitly a toss up between me, Jade, and Von

  16. Laura Gardner permalink
    January 26, 2013 3:12 pm

    Hi Amanda. I just adopted a shelter kitten we estimated to be 10-12 weeks old. He is a Maine Coon mix and as I only saw him lying down in his cage He seemed fine. He had no signs of contagious illness. When he got home I immediately noticed how uncoordinated he was. My first thought was that he was much younger than we had guessed. The more I observed him the more I noticed symptoms fitting your description of mild CH- staggering walk, head tremors when concentrating, etc. Sometimes he seems to be trying to compensate by “marching” determinedly like a little soldier-totally adorable. That said, I called a friend who has been doing rescue for years and she told me she has only seen kittens with neuro symptoms die rapidly. Imagine my relief when I found your site! I will of course be taking him to the vet this week, but I just don’t see anything wrong with him that appears like any of the contagious diseases I have observed. He is one happy little guy- always purring madly and trying to follow us. He has us wrapped around his fuzzy paws. He even manages to get in and out of our tall litterboxes, although he falls out more often than not. I can’t get shallow boxes, as most of my other cats are enthusiastic litter flingers, so I hope putting something soft for him to land on in front will be ok. Bless you for having this blog, I was devastated at the thought of losing him. I read every bit of it and was relieved to find that he didn’t have symptoms of any of the other diseases that cause head tremors and staggering (your links). My husband now wants to name him Weebles :) I’ll keep you posted after we visit the vet!

  17. Barb permalink
    February 5, 2013 9:31 am

    We caught 2 of a litter of 5 wild kittens born 9/12–one of them has CH. She is our baby out of our 7 house cats. In addition to CH, she grows very slowly–is half the size of our little boy kitten. We love her very much and is indeed specail in our eyes. Her brother loves her and plays with her. She found a forever home with us!

    • February 5, 2013 10:24 am

      How wonderful! I’m so glad she captured your heart and found a forever home with you. Please keep us posted on how she’s doing!

  18. fiona tompkins permalink
    February 8, 2013 12:52 pm

    Have only put a name to my cats condition today after visiting a new vet for his annual health check and boosters. No one had ever mentioned it before. We took alfie on 4 years ago when my brother had to move abroad. No one ever mentioned the condition. He was presumed normal but a little odd. We thought he was very odd. Loving and cuddly yet wobbly with an almost constant tremor. He shakes when he eats, falls over on his side a lot and can’t land if dropped 2 feet onto the floor. It goes without saying that he cannot really jump. He has got a little worse recently. He is 10 now and cannot cope in a standard cat chalet at the kennels. He has to have a specially adapted pen with stairs to get up to his sleep7ng quarters. I transferred to a new practise after the sad death of our previous vet and the new guy put his finger on it straight away. Nice to know we werent imagining it. Not that it is a problem or affects quality of life. Vet told me to try and give him extra vit b. We now have 2 disabled cats as we already have a little boy who was blinded in a serious road accident. Funny old life.

    • February 8, 2013 1:52 pm

      Hi Fiona,
      Thanks for sharing! I hope Alfie is doing well. It sounds like you’ve found ways to help him – if you have any advice, please feel free to share :)

  19. Kelly permalink
    February 8, 2013 2:47 pm

    So a little update on my CH cat named Von. My vet and decided to try something a little different to help Von move a little better. I’m putting a heating pad on vons back legs and hips two or three times a week for about 10 minutes at a time. Of course your can’t just leave the pad on there 10 minutes straight but taking a few breaks during the time period. Von loves it! she’s starting to stretch her legs and helping her put her legs back into a “normal” position. Has anyone heard of doing this before?

  20. laurie permalink
    April 11, 2013 4:08 pm

    My Spike is 13 yrs old and has broken both fangs on one side from doing what I call Bambi on ice when he shakes his head. He has run into walls but pick himself up and goes about his way. The vet doesn’t think he can see very well but I beg to differ he sees very well and has learned how to play it up for mommy and daddy to help him.LOL. He does have what seems like a seizure once in a while if he greats very excited but I just talk to him in a soothing voice and it only last a couple of seconds. I figure he has maybe hit his head one to many times. I have found that a laser light has helped with his coordination.I would get another CH kitty again in a heartbeat.I look forward to the rests of Spikes life and enjoyment with him. He is a little momma’s boy and I love him dearly. I would say he is mild to moderate with his CH and I knew he had it when I got him. Lots of pee rags for when he won’t use the litterbox. He can be very stubborn at times as well but is very cuddly

  21. Lesley permalink
    April 23, 2013 5:04 am

    I live in Tangier, Morocco……Recently someone left a box of kittens outside our building.
    Children playing in the street would pick up the kittens and play with them. The roads are dangerous as cars drive fast. So I took the kittens to the Protection for Animals, (SPANA) they will find families to adopt the kittens.
    While waiting for the vet I saw the helper open a cage and take out a Simease cat and put it down………..It was wobbling & couldn’t walk straight!
    I asked what was wrong with it and was told it has brain damage. Never seen this before and knowing that it wouldn’t get adopted I asked the vet if I could adopt him.

    I filled in the paper work and brought Lucky home :) I have Two other cats I took from the streets and a gentle dog…….
    Lucky is 3 months old and spent most of that life in a cage! I’ve had lucky only Three days and I love him with all my heart………..He’s special
    I hoping with all the love from my family & me, also my other pets, Lucky will learn how to walk, play without falling so much!

  22. April 29, 2013 10:02 pm

    A cat from the local shelter with CH has stolen my heart. Thank you for sharing your information as it make the decision to adopt easy. I think Tiggy and I will make great pals because I don’t have such great balance either (I have Chiari Malformation, a disorder of my human cerebellum). We will be able to lean on each for support!

    • April 30, 2013 6:27 am

      How sweet! Good luck with the adoption. I can’t wait to hear more about Tiggy!

  23. Cindy permalink
    May 19, 2013 8:09 am

    I have a sweet boy that goes byWobbles, Wobert, or Wobby. At first he seemed fine, but within a couple of months after he was born I noticed his back legs splaying out. At first I thought it was just him learning to walk on the tile floors. Then he was having trouble eating and drinking. I would hold him in my lap to eat, but I was afraid he may drown fallng into the water dish. He has a couple of broken teeth from hitting the tile floor. At first I was afraid to take him to the vet b/c I was sure they would tell me to put him down. I did eventually take him and was told it was probably an inner ear problem. They never mentioned this condition. Well anyway, he is now about 7 years old. He has no problem pushing my other cats out of the way to get to the food dish now. I love my Wobby very much!

    • May 21, 2013 7:34 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Cindy! Wobbly sounds like a great cat :) if you’d like him to be featured on the blog, hover over the “Readers” link above for more info. Hope to hear from you soon!

  24. dezarai vestal permalink
    June 2, 2013 4:57 am

    on august 20,2012 me, my mom, and little brother were on our way to childrens hospital in little rock ar. and we stopped at a gas station well my little brother went around the side the building to use the restroom and came back around it holding the cutiest little kitten ever :) i instantly feel in love with him. i noticed though something wasnt right, he would shake his head uncontrollably when he would eat or play with toys. i had noticed it would happen worse when he was trying to concentrate on doing something. i have yet to get enough money to take him to a vet but he is very healthy, and energetic. he absolutely loves to play, and he is one of the most loviest cats ive ever had. i havent had for to long but i have learnt his ways and how he has to do certain things. he is really no different then any other cat. his only real problem is that he also has seizures. but i love him no matter what!!!!!! he is my baby :) and strangly as it may seem I have seperation syndrome from him whenever i am away from him i go crazy lol i guess its cause i also have a seizure disorder, and a mild case of terrets if i dont take my medications.

  25. June 6, 2013 10:20 pm

    I recently took in a pregnant stray kitty who was abandoned with the intention of finding her and her kittens new homes. She had four kittens and one has CH, I call him Remmy. They are all in need of forever homes, but I want to find a really loving home for the this little wobbly guy. If anyone is interested he (and his siblings and momma) will be ready for a family in just a few weeks. All have their first set of shots. I’m reaching out to the cat-lovers community to help them, please spread the word and let me know at adoptafurball@yahoo.com. Thank you!!

  26. Vickie permalink
    June 25, 2013 9:48 pm

    We have two CH cats the Mom was a stray and gave birth in our garage. They are 13 years old this year and they are our special baby’s. There names are Tiny and Whobbles, we can’t not imagine life without them.

  27. July 14, 2013 2:44 pm

    I have had a wobbler for the last 2 years. I adopted him from a high-kill shelter. The volunteers there told me about his condition. He is not too seriously affected – he can run and jump with no difficulty if not a little oddly, but he’s like a bull in a china shop. Sometimes he falls over when he sneezes, and when he comes to a stop his head shakes for a few seconds. He looks and acts a lot like Charley in the YouTube video. Very, very cute! He is the “personality cat” out of our four – fearless, stubborn, and king of the house. He is super affectionate, kneading and purring madly. I don’t consider him disabled at all, and I’m sure he has no idea that he is different than any other cat. A friend who is a veterinary neurologist told me he finds CH cats to be the most equanimous cats he has ever seen – calm, confident, laid back. I can certainly say that about my Sammy! I would adopt another CH cat in a heartbeat. I just love him to pieces! Thanks all of you who have adopted CH cats.

    • tigerlily1 tds.net permalink
      July 14, 2013 6:34 pm

      Rico is (we think, he’s a shelter adoptee) a bit over 9 months now. He has gotten much stronger, and his head only shakes when he is excited. His rear end though…well, for those of you old enough to remember positraction, it’s kind of like that. Or like a cartoon character trying to run, except his front feet get going and the rear end takes a while to figure it out- and then goes sideways. He still can’t truly jump, and I don’t think he ever will, but we bought jumbo King size comforters for our Queen bed so he can climb up. Our furniture suffers, but he is more than worth it. He still can’t walk in a straight line, so he “marches” like a soldier if he needs to go straight lol. He is spoiled ridiculously rotten.

      Laura Gardner

  28. July 18, 2013 12:28 pm

    Hello,

    My fiance and I have a CH cat that we love and spoil. Parker has unfortunately developed some health issues and the vet isn’t sure what is going on even though they are ruling out a UTI. They are suggesting more tests that we are having trouble affording. We also are trying to pay for a wedding, have just moved and simply cannot watch him as much as he needs. Does anyone have any ideas for adoption or no kill shelters? Please send any thoughts to mpellas@fastmail.fm

    Thanks!

  29. July 19, 2013 3:58 pm

    just found your blog – I volunteer with the local shelter so any info like this is important for me to add to my knowledge – thank you – I understand there is a product that can be applied to cats claws to make them ok – can’t scratch furniture or other animals but can avoid being declawed. this might be a good alternate for these wonderful kits who need their claws but have housemates.

    • August 13, 2013 9:06 pm

      Hello –
      I believe there is a product called “Soft Paws” that may be what you’re looking for. Good luck!

  30. Mariah permalink
    July 22, 2013 8:25 am

    I understand not everyone can do what I am suggesting, but as a trained and experienced massage therapist/bodyworker, I worked daily with my cat as a wee little cerebellar kitten – first to reduce the muscular spasticity, also with a few DAILY assisted squats, some assisted and held and slowly released leg stretches, some essential massage along the spine and into the hips and thigh muscles. Within a few months my kitten was running like the wind- straight, not falling down, quite coordinated.

    her head bobble was completely gone within weeks and remains gone for 5 years now. Clearly that was and is an indication of neuromuscular repatterning.

    She also is fortunate to be in a house with a staircase (with treads), and going up and down this helped her develop neuromuscularly. We also played little chase games which she enjoyed and which helped her develop her different feline skills. We played little games to develop and work with “pouncing”.

    It was important that she was very small and young when we began. She is now 5. Excepting the fact that she cannot squat to pee properly ; ( , (and even that is remedied with my form of physical therapy, although not as much as I would like), she runs and plays and is quite fast and never falls over. it isn’t just orthopedic strength, much of her healing was in regard to neuromuscular repatterning and discharge of spasticity.

    Although it is 5 years hence, I witnessed her doing her first “leap” a couple months ago-
    onto the bed- before that she would sort of fling herself at the mattress and rappel up. I also put the mattress sets on the floor and cat proofed the house against any “too high” of leaps….getting down is an issue too. One would never know she ever had this problem, really.

  31. Debbie Peterson permalink
    August 2, 2013 3:54 am

    Hi Amanda,

    I foster for our Humane Society. Six weeks ago, I was given seven newborns and the mama to foster. Two of the kitties have very mild CH. However, one of the kitties has a more severe case. She runs/flips/goes as fast as possible…and it is adorable to see her try so hard. Eating is another case, however. She doesn’t initiate eating (at least that I can tell.) I am with her when she eats, steadying her shoulders so she can eat. When the Humane Society and I talked about her condition – it didn’t look promising for her because of the feeding problems. And so, my question is…Do you have some tips to help me help this little one eat on her own? Drinking is also a problem, for the same tremor problems. If these two issues can’t be resolved – I will be adopting her. She is too sweet. Thanks for your help.

  32. Brandy permalink
    August 11, 2013 12:38 pm

    This may have been answered in another comment or link but, my parents have just recently saved a baby kitten who we just found out has CH. He has a lot of difficulty going to the bathroom as he loses his balance and falls over, making a mess of the floor and himself. Are there any tips, tricks or suggestions you may have that can help him out. The poor thing is only a few months old and struggles so much with his potty time.

  33. Tersha permalink
    August 13, 2013 4:46 pm

    My boyfriend had two CH cats before we met. We have Twitch, a 5 year old tabby, who has a more severe case of CH and Shiver, a 6 year old grey and white DSH who is almost so mildly affected that most people wouldn’t notice. Shiver is deaf, but does very well at hiding it. My boyfriend told me that if his cats didn’t like me, we wouldn’t still be together. :)

    We decided about a month ago that we were ready for another kitten. We immediately went on the website for the group that he got Shiver through. Turns out they had three more CH kittens! We visited with all three and finally got picked by a cute little six month old orange and white kitten. We decided to name him Hobbes. He has a mild CH but does wobble when he walks. He is a wonderful addition to our little family. He plays with Shiver and cuddles with Twitch.

    I would recommend to anyone questioning if they should get a CH cat, to do some research and then open your home and heart to a little bundle if CH fur. You won’t regret it!

  34. Nanci permalink
    August 26, 2013 4:50 pm

    We recently has a neutered, declawed 6-year old show up on our doorstep. The vet suspected Toxoplasmosis but after 3 weeks of antibiotics, she is still very unsteady on her feet. Not enough to stop her but she is a bit “strange.” She doesn’t know what to do with the toys I give her; she’ll play with ribbons for about a minute and then lose interest. She’s very solemn, but extremely affectionate and loves to bury her head in your hand. I take her back to the vet tomorrow for a follow-up visit. After watching her for almost a month and reading this site (and other research) I’m convinced she has CF.

    My main concern is that she was front declawed and I don’t know how that is going to affect her ability to get around. Right now she’s confined to one room but after she gets the all clear from the vet, I want to introduce her to my other kitty.

    • August 26, 2013 8:59 pm

      Hi Nanci –
      Thanks for commenting. Have you discussed the possibility of cerebellar hypoplasia with your vet? I’d recommend bringing it up, especially since there are some conditions that have similar characteristics as CH.

      I can understand your concern about her being declawed, too. Perhaps you can find a few ways to help her get around your home without needing to climb (for example, maybe a step stool near your bed if she can’t jump up, etc.). You can find more ideas like that on this blog.

      Good luck and keep us posted!

  35. Alyn permalink
    August 26, 2013 11:28 pm

    Hi my name is jhuana
    i have 7, and 5 days old baby kittens. and the 2 kittens are have a damage of their feet. the other one so sad looking like its almost ready to separate the leg. and the other one is swollen leg and look like black and wide feet and not look good. they both have damage since the birth. my husband don’t want the 2 kittens because of their legs damage from birth.. the 5 kittens the all are look very fine since birth.. but, the 2 its so sad looking its not a perfect kittens. my husband said, that.. it will turn look bad when i keep them and egnor their legs.. they might be suffering when they grow up. what is the best thing to do for them?

    • August 27, 2013 6:49 pm

      Hi Jhuana,
      Please take them to your local vet to make sure that they’re all OK. Your vet is the best person to decide what’s best for them. Good luck!

  36. Faye permalink
    September 5, 2013 9:36 pm

    I have a pregnant cat that shows signs of CH. She is very close to time to deliver her kittens. She came into my rescue today and I’m concerned about what I should watch for.

    • September 6, 2013 6:05 am

      That’s a great question – I haven’t had experience with a pregnant CHer. How severe do you think her CH is? Depending on that, she may need some help delivering, but that’s just a guess. Once she has her kittens, I’d recommend that you get her checked out so you’ll know for sure if it’s CH or something else.

  37. P. Geraldine Belarmino permalink
    September 7, 2013 1:45 pm

    Now I know that my adorable cat has CH- thanks for your very helpful infos. I use to wonder why she is uncoordinated, the vet doesnt tell me what’s wrong with her. Before, my cat only waddles, now she loses her balance more often and she falls. Will her condition worsen ? I love her so and she’s so affectionate.

    • September 7, 2013 7:32 pm

      Hi there! Thanks for commenting. CH doesn’t worsen, so if this is something that has developed over time, you should mention it to your vet. If your vet isn’t helpful, I’d recommend getting a second opinion elsewhere. Good luck!

    • September 10, 2013 7:13 pm

      If your cat has CH, it should not worsen. In fact, some people say their CH cats get better over time. Good luck!

  38. Deb Conte permalink
    September 10, 2013 1:43 am

    Hi, I rescued a young cat from my dogs and noticed that it walks funny. I believe it is a female, perhaps 4-5 months old. She kind of sits like a kangaroo, using her front legs a lot. When she walks her back legs are crouched down like she’s going to go to the bathroom, but she doesn’t. She uses the litter box fine. When she stops, she kind of flops over on her side. Otherwise, seems very healthy. Clear eyes, ears and nose. She is extremely affectionate and sweet. I can’t keep this kitten as I already have 4 dogs and 2 other cats (and the dogs are aggressive towards cats). I don’t want to take to the shelter as they are euthanizing kittens very rapidly and since this one appears to be handicapped she wouldn’t have a chance. I am not sure where to turn.

  39. MzKitty Kat permalink
    September 21, 2013 2:31 am

    Hi my is Kat, I found a kitten in the bushes on August 4, was only a week or two old. It couldn’t walk just kept falling down so I thought if was just hungry because it was so skinny and ribs was showing. I took it in the house and gave it food and water because I didn’t know what to do and it was the weekend. On Monday took it to the animal shelter in Riverside, Ca and they said it was to young and they would put it to sleep, so I left and said No! that’s okay I will just take it back home. The next day my daughter took it to the animal shelter in Moreno Valley, Ca and they too told my daughter that they will kill it so my daughter got really mad and walked out. We then took it to the Vet like 2 weeks later and then found out it was a little boy and they said he was to young to get shot and he look sick and wasn’t going to live so can we leave him there for a few hours so they can check him out and see what was wrong. We told them he falls down and all his little ducks don’t seem to be swimming in the same pond because he shakes, falls in his food, flips over, runs into everything and fall in his poop when he use the litter box. They then weighed him and he only weigh a 1lb, so we left him and went back 5hrs later to pick him up and they gave him IV and a shot that made him walk a little better..well it only lasted a day and then we notice he was back to worst. Now I’m very concerned of what is going on so I went online and started searching My Kitten Is Falling Down, My Kitten Can;t Walk and so on. Then there was a video of a cat on YouTube doing the same with the word Cerebellar Hypoplasia / CH so I watched the video and watched some more, couple of day later took him back to the vet and gave them the name of what I seen and read about and they didn’t know what I was talking about but told me I may need to really think about putting him down because he is a handicap kitten and is not going to make it. I said well I can;t do that because I read that there are cats with it and living a long happy life so can he get his shots now and they said no because he is sick and I sad no he’s not, he is just special then they said but we can do a test to see if he has worms, so they did that and they don’t see any round worms but they see tapeworms, I said well he don’t have fleas so they gave him the tapeworm shot and some round worm medicine in his mouth so I took him back home and now I’m going to take him to another vet after I find one who know about CH Cats & Kittens…His name is Angel and is sweet as can be my other cat that I been having for 9yrs Siaeena and my daughter cat been having 13yrs Remy they are not very happy because Angel has to have a little more attention because his special and wants to be carried. He now weighs 4lbs but the only thing is he stop using the litter box and got diarrhea, so can you suggest something for him on how to get him back to litter box and his diarrhea. I bought him something that he doesn’t have to climb in. Oh! I have to wash him off at least twice a day because he falls in his poop…He is my little Angel and I take him to work with me everyday so I can keep watch of him so he don’t have to smell like his poop..Thanks for reading my story and GOD BLESS..

  40. Shelley Marcy permalink
    October 21, 2013 9:18 am

    Mira – short for Miracle was abandoned by her mother on the door step of a real estate office. After 4 years of caring for her, the office closed its doors and nobody wanted to be responsible for her. She was brought the friends for life forever farm, a sanctuary for senior and special needs companion animals. It proved to be too much for Mira though and she was terribly unhappy. I was vp for the organization at the time so I brought Mira home. She’s 10 years old now and probably the most severe case that anyone is caring for. She is completely blind and can not walk at all. She has to be hand fed and can not drink so I have to mix water into her food twice daily to make sure her kidneys continue to function. I take her outside once a day at the same time each day and she will pull herself along until she gets to the right spot and she will flip up her tail and urinate. Every other day whe will also go poo. She knows and understands her schedule. She stays in a playpen when she is not with me on my lap. She can not just be on her own in the house because she hurts herself when she flops around. But this is all that Mira has ever known and she is content and happy. Like the others, she purrs constantly! She is laying on my lap as I type this. I know most people don’t understand why I would go to the extreme of caring for such a needy animal, but then they’ve obviously never been loved by one! She is my heart…..

    Shelley
    Brevard NC

    • monica permalink
      October 24, 2013 12:02 pm

      Hi Shelley,

      There should be more people like you :)

      I am about to adopt a cat this weekend who also has CH.

      Mira is very lucky to have you :)

  41. October 30, 2013 3:14 pm

    hi i just wanted to know if cats are only born with this? my cat that is 7 is having trouble walking with his back feet lately. wondered if this is connected. thanks.

    • October 30, 2013 4:55 pm

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, cats are only born with CH; I’d recommend taking your cat in to your vet to find out what’s going on. Good luck!

  42. October 31, 2013 10:49 am

    Thanks! We think he might have diabetes and are going to get him to the vet. Thanks for the reply.

  43. Teresa permalink
    November 7, 2013 9:12 am

    Thank you for your blog, it has given me a lot of comfort! We took in a kitten from my husband’s coworker who told us he has hip displasia but when I saw him walk I knew it was neuro. It’s actually fairly mild but I worried that he would be in pain or would start having seizures. Did you make any accommodations for your cat? He struggles to keep balance in the litter box and I guess a bigger box might help so he doesn’t have to perch quite as much. Any suggestions or do we just let him work things out for himself?

    • November 14, 2013 7:05 am

      Hi Teresa,
      My first recommendation would be to take the kitten to the vet just to make sure everything checks out. In terms of seizures, I have heard of a few CH cats who get them. If you’re concerned, I’d suggest speaking to your vet to find out if there are any warning signs or things to look for. That said, a majority of CH cats do not have seizures.
      You also asked about accommodations made for our cats, and that’s a great question! In fact, this whole blog is built on well, life with a ch cat, and you’ll find tons of tips and ideas as you read through it. For specific ideas, scroll to the blue tag cloud on the right and pick the topic that matches your interest. For example, you mentioned litter box tips. You can find some here: http://lifewithchcats.com/tag/litter-box/
      That said, all CH cats are different, so while some suggestions may work really well for you, you may discover other solutions that work even better.
      Good luck!

  44. jcassada permalink
    November 9, 2013 11:39 am

    My first comment got lost in the process of signing in to WordPress, so I’ll try again! First, thanks for this wonderful blog, Amanda.

    We are currently fostering a very affectionate, fearless and totally enchanting 9-month old male (neutered) kitten named Josiah (we call him Jo Jo). He had an upper respiratory infection (URI), and our shelter (the Asheville Humane Society in Buncombe County, NC) likes to put those cats in foster homes to reduce their own stress and to keep them from spreading the infection. We had isolated Jo Jo in my two-room bathroom, which has been good for other foster animals, We were able to visit him frequently and observe his progress. We noticed that as he improved and started feeling better and moving around more, he also wobbled and his rear legs didn’t always react as they should.

    When we took him back to the shelter for a med check up on his URI, we also told our foster care coordinator about his symptoms. She did not say anything to the medical staff who checked Jo Jo, but two separate groups both diagnosed him with CH. Kim, the coordinator, told us that Jo Jo needed to go back with us for another week just to make sure he was over his URI, and that after that he would go up for adoption with a medical waiver, so that potential adopters would know he was “differently wired.” She also told us that one of the shelter staff has a cat with CH, whom she named Forest (after Forest Gump!). Her feeling was that he would have no problem finding a forever home!

    I already have my manageable limit of personal pets (I foster because the shelter supplies any food, meds, etc for us and because we enjoy helping the shelter, meeting new animals and saving lives), or I would take Jo Jo in a heartbeat. My brother has also fallen in love with him but has his several cats of his own and can’t take another one.

    I feel confident that Jo Jo will find a home. His affectionate nature, good looks and charming personality are so apparent. I did tell the shelter that if they had problems finding him a permanent home, we would be happy to take him on long-term foster.

    I intend to give the shelter your blogsite so they can pass the information along to anyone who adopts Jo Jo so they will have a support community and avail themselves of the knowledge contained here

    Thanks again for all you do for CH sweeties.

    Jackie

    • November 14, 2013 6:57 am

      Hi Jackie,
      Thanks for reaching out and sharing about Jo Jo! I’m so glad to hear everyone has been so kind and positive about his future :) Yes, please do pass along my blog, and feel free to reach out if there’s anything you’d like to chat about.
      Best,
      Amanda

  45. jcassada permalink
    November 14, 2013 9:29 am

    Hi, Amanda! Thanks for your reply. Oddly enough, Jo Jo’s wobbliness and seeming lack of back leg strength went away a day after we stopped his antibiotics! Is it possible that his CH may be attached to a reaction to doxycycline? He is still cuddly & talkative, still wants to jump in my arms every chance he gets. Do you know anything about this? (The shelter asked us if we could keep him a few more days because their medical department was booked solid for checkups today (when we were supposed to return him). I told our foster coordinator what a hardship it would be for us — NOT! It will not be easy to take him back to go up for adoption, but we have as many animals as we can afford, and he deserves a home with lots and lots of attention. But we’ll keep him as long as we can cause he is such a joy.

  46. Nytasha Sullivan permalink
    November 14, 2013 11:38 am

    I have a CH kitten, her name is Gypsy. I adopted her from a family member. I did not think anything was wrong with her, only that was just trying to adapt to her new surroundings. Until my sister looked up her condition, and found that she had all the symptoms of CH. I think we love her even more, because she has the most crazy personality ever :)

  47. Amanda permalink
    November 15, 2013 9:16 pm

    Hi, I am thinking if getting a cat with CH however I am so worried.. How do I prevent her from trying to jump or walk up the stairs?! Thank you so much or your help

  48. Julie Sweeting permalink
    November 16, 2013 3:22 am

    I rescued our Ruby from our local RSPCA shelter. Very very nervous, born in a shed, she had three or four siblings. Having watched her over time, she is about 18 weeks old and adorable, I have come to the conclusion that she might have CH. Before I knew about CH I spoke to my vet who checked her over vigorously and said she’s healthy, but the description on here matches her perfectly. As long as she is happy, playing,eating,drinking and toileting, I am pleased as punch she is part of our family. Lovely to read other stories.

    • Amanda permalink
      November 21, 2013 10:39 am

      Hi Julie, I just adopted a CH kitten who is 10 weeks old. She’s doing great and loves to play. She also had a tramatic early life, she was found under a tree hardly living. She was nursed back to life and is doing great. I’m really only worried about her falling over and hurting herself since she’s so small. Does that worry you or do you think they are perfectly okay?

    • November 22, 2013 7:40 am

      Hi Amanda,
      I think that’s something we all worry about with our CHers, regardless of age, so you’re not alone! I have a few suggestions on the blog that may help. I know many CH cat parents also figure out ways to make life easier for their cats along the way. This list of posts may help: http://lifewithchcats.com/tag/around-the-house/

  49. Julie Sweeting permalink
    November 24, 2013 10:26 am

    Hi Amanda ! I do worry Ruby will hurt herself, but having watched some posted videos on fb, she’s not as bad as some of the ch cats on there. Its reassurring to know there’s advice out there as the RSPCA’s response was disappointing, having taken my £105 they weren’t interested in helping me understand Ruby’s condition and even hinted that there was nothing wrong when she left the shelter. In hind sight, I think they mistook ch for nervousness. Having said all that, Ruby is blooming and we all love her to bits :)

  50. Deb permalink
    November 29, 2013 10:30 am

    Hi Amanda,

    Just wanted to thank you for your excellent advice. I rescued three little girls from a litter of 5 found in a squat. Mum was pregnant again so the shelter wanted to rehome them quickly. I originally took two kits who both seemed fine. I agreed to take the third a week later – she arrived skinny, shaky and weak and would not take any solid food. Although I have had many cats over the years I had never heard of CH and thought her wobbly gait and shaking was due to her frail state. After four days of hand feeding and lots of cuddles she became stronger and more confident and began playing with her siblings – this is when I realised that the constant falling down was not because she was undernourished but something more serious. I googled for various causes and found your blog – this is just how she is!! Actually I was relieved as at least this is not life threatening or infectious to the others. I had it confirmed at the vets today and I see no problems going forward she will get all the love and care she needs. Thanks again to all your contributors as I know she will have a happy life :)

  51. December 10, 2013 4:26 pm

    Hi I have a kitten that is about 2 months old and has this disorder it is very mild though she gets around fine although sometimes falls over. She literally is the sweetest cat ive ever owned but unfortunately I cant keep her I need to find her a home asap!! someone please help.me find a loving home.for.this kitten!! I live in shippensburg pa.. call or txt me 7176580852

  52. Kari permalink
    December 15, 2013 10:05 pm

    I just (today) adopted a 2 yr old female with CH. Her name is Tumbles. The previous owners made some life changes that wld no longer allow them to keep Tumbles. I was worried that the cat would be euthanized if I didnt adopt her because of her age and “disability”. I work in the medical field and therefor im already sympathetic to humans who have special needs. In all of my life I never knew that an animal could develop a disability that is the human equivalent of CP. And being in the field, reaching the age of 33, meeting people with different stages of the disability, i know this can range from mild to severe. I believe Tumbles to have a more moderate level of CH, but I swear this is the most adorable thing I have ever seen. The previous owner said Tumbles probably wouldnt live but another couple of months and I was determined to make her last “few” months happy ones. Now after reading this I am ecstatic that its a great possibilty that Ill have lots more years with her. Ten minutes into bringing her home, we were laying in the floor together cuddling. Im in love! It is so heartbreaking to watch her walk and fall down knowing that there isnt anything I can do to make it go away, but it also fills my heart with so much joy at the same time, because I know that her life has never been easy and she keeps on trucking. She falls down and gets back up to do it all over again. I <3 Tumbles!

    • December 26, 2013 2:15 pm

      Thanks for sharing about Tumbles! I’m glad you could give her a safe and loving home!

  53. Kat permalink
    December 21, 2013 2:32 pm

    Hello! I’m so happy I found this blog! I am picking up our Cerebellar Hypoplasia kitty on Thursday and would love to have any advise on how best to care for our newest family member! They estimate she’s around 6 months old. Her tremor is slight in her head but more noticible in her walk. Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions! Thanks! Kat

    • December 26, 2013 2:12 pm

      Hi Kat!
      Congrats on your new family member! We’re excited to hear more about her. This blog is FULL of tips and tricks that can help out your little one. I recommend starting here: http://lifewithchcats.com/ch-topics-tips/ and then clicking on the tags on the right side of the blog to learn more about specifics. Good luck!

  54. Carolyn Carver permalink
    December 23, 2013 12:15 am

    I have a cat that looks like a Maine Coon. She was a stray kitten that moved in with us and is now about 1.5 years old. She is on the small side but seems healthy with one exception. when she rolls over on the bed to play, her hind legs begin to move around wildly and she doesn’t seem to have control over them. Once she realizes this is happening, she will grab the hind legs, lick them and then everything seems to be ok. She doesn’t jump as well as our other cat, but is great at climbing (up, down, sideways, you name it…) Could this be a form of CH?

    • December 26, 2013 2:10 pm

      Hi Carolyn,
      This doesn’t sound like CH. I’d recommend taking her in to your vet when you have a chance to learn more about what it could be. Good luck!

  55. Kirsty permalink
    December 27, 2013 8:17 pm

    Hi there. I have seen that all these cats are the similar breed. My kitten is very wobbly and he does look like his drunk (most of my friends have picked up on it too) I thought he may of had something wrong with his leg or hips. I was feeling very worried, I couldn’t bare to loose him as his adorable and a very effectionate kitten. I put into google exactly what he does and how he walk and this was the first thing that was on the page. I watched the video of charley. My cat walks just like charley and they look like the same breed too. I feel a bit more happier knowing that my cat will be fine but to be on the safe side I think I should just go to the vet to get him all checked out and to confirm that he does have CH, thank u for all the information that is on this website. It’s helped me a lot.

  56. Maureen permalink
    January 11, 2014 8:41 pm

    My neice found a feral kitten and took him home, he was only about 3 to 4 weeks old. After about a week of feeding him kitten milk etc. he started to come around and get somewhat friendly. He was always very wobbly on his feet but we thought it was due to him being so young. Once he turned about 12 to 14 weeks it was obvious something was wrong. She took him to the Vet and the Vet diagnosed him with Cerebell Hyperplasia. She decided she no longer wanted him so she took him to a Shelter. As soon as I found out and against my husband’s protests I called the shelter and went in and brought him home. I knew they would put him to sleep because their way of thinking is “there are so many healthy cats out there that need homes they don’t want to save those that are “less than perfect”. Let me tell you it was the best thing I have ever done. The funny thing is as much as I love him he only just likes me but he loves my husband and my husband loves him. He was a blessing. I have always had German Sheppard’s and from the time he was a kitten he loved my dogs and they love him. We have 2 acres in the country and he goes on walks with the dogs every day. If anyone is thinking of adopting a CH cat they shouldn’t hesitate. They do learn to climb but they never go on your kitchen counters or places whear you might otherwise not want the cat to be. I brought Felix (that’s his name) home 17 years ago and never regretted it for a minute. If you have any doubts about adopting a CH cat don’t hesitate you will not be disappointed. Felix is 17 and still healthy, he does sleep most of the day away now but I wouldn’t trade him for anything. I hope to have at least another 5 or 6 years with him.

  57. Rachael permalink
    January 29, 2014 7:08 pm

    Hi! My partner and I just adopted a 5 month old CH kitten. He is classified as severe. We are looking for a harness that we can help him walk with to keep strength in his back legs that might eventually be attached to a walker to help him be more mobile on his own. We’ve been doing some searching, but was curious if anyone had any harness suggestions. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks so much! ~Rachael and Sam

  58. Cheryl permalink
    February 8, 2014 11:08 am

    If a cat has this condition could it not show up till later on??? My cat is 4 and he seems to have this condition but was fine prior to this. The only thing that showed up since we adopted him from a shelter as a kitten was trembling eyes or eyes shaking when looking at things. Also one pupils as and is larger then the other one. Thanks for any information.

  59. sue mccoy permalink
    February 8, 2014 5:23 pm

    I believe we adopted a CH cat just recently. Misty is a Snow Shoe female that we adopted at 7 1/2 months. The day we brought her home, as she was exploring her new home, she started to walk hunched over with that tell tale gait and kept flopping over. Took her to the vet the next day, everything checked out fine. Then we noticed a pattern of excitement and trouble with walking and balance. Return response to normal behavior was less than 5 minutes. Does this sound like a mild case of CH to you?

    • February 21, 2014 8:06 am

      Hi Sue, CH doesn’t come and go, so there may be something else going on here. I’d say document her behavior (when she behaves like that, how, etc.) and share it with your vet the next time you go in. Your vet would be the best one to figure out what’s going on. Good luck!

  60. Wendy permalink
    March 22, 2014 9:06 pm

    I have had my sweet Ellie for almost 2 years now. There is an abandoned farmhouse across from my parents and my mom goes over there everyday and feeds the cat they left behind (he’s very wild) and before to long came another cat. She was pregnant and had the litter and Ellie was part of this litter. My mom thought she was hurt at first, but after a few days, she knew something wasn’t right (Ellie is a severe case) and scooped her up and asked if I would take her (I was hesitant at first, but the minute I saw her, I had to have her), her sister has a mild case and my mom was able to catch her and find her a home with a lady that also had another cat with CH. The last kitten wasn’t affected, but my mom was able to catch the 3rd kitten and the momma cat and at least take them to the vet to get fixed. They’re not her cats, but she goes over there twice a day to feed them and make sure they’re ok no matter what the weather is (she has 6 cats of her own and can’t take anymore). Any way, this little girl is my baby and has brought me so much happiness. She’s loyal and loving, and though it takes her a bit, she follows me from room to room “talking” to me. If I’m in the garage, I can here her meowing for me (she is NEVER allowed outside). I also have a normal cat (Sir) and though he is grumpy, he always looking out for Ellie. Sometimes with her falls, I don’t know how she doesn’t get hurt. She’s a tiny one, but beautiful with huge eyes (she has problems focusing). And her treats, she loves her treats, she gets those little legs going, but gets so excited and can’t get anywhere lol. Though the ones with severe CH require a lot more attention, the reward is sooo worth it. And I saw a post earlier about declawing, and all I can say is PLEASE don’t… These babies need their claws for quality of life issues.. They rely on them to walk, climb and catch themselves when they fall. And I love your blog!!!!

    • Kari permalink
      May 17, 2014 8:42 am

      I do allow Tumbles outside. Supervised only of course. Im terrified she’ll get to the street. But we have developed some simple commands that she responds very well to. If she travels too far “Hey!” typically stops her in her tracks and heads her back in my direction. Her name and a tap on my thigh will have her follow me one way. And if all else fails i always carry a bag of catnip treats. She does not refuse them. She would powerglide against four lawns for catnip.

  61. Kari permalink
    March 27, 2014 2:16 pm

    Absolutely do not declaw them. I still have Tumbles after adopting her back in november and wldnt change her for the world. I love it when she follows me around. And i love when she talks to me. She is also a stickler for her treats. Her favorite is catnip. And Tumbles has come around quite a lot in the past 6 months. Couldnt imagine life without her.

  62. April 1, 2014 3:17 pm

    This is a brief update on Jo-Jo, who may or may not have CH. We had been fostering him for our animal shelter while he had an upper respiratory infection. When he finished his antibiotics, his wobbling decreased significantly. He is still clumsy, often misses an intended landing place and his back legs splay outwards a little — so I think he may only have a mild form of CH. Two different medical staff members diagnosed it at the shelter, so I think that is what he has.
    Anyway — Jo Jo is ours! We talked and talked and talked and finally realized we could not give him up. The shelter was happy to let us adopt him and, when we took him to our vet for his free wellness checkup (a perk from the shelter for adoptions), Dr. P fell in love with him and told us, “He’s a keeper.” Jo Jo is so incredibly affectionate, loves to play and loves our other cats. We are so glad we decided we had room for one more. Thanks again for your great blog.

    • libby medina permalink
      April 4, 2014 7:38 am

      My cat had kittens and one was born this way. She flops over and wobbles when she walks. I thought she had something that would require her to be euthanized. Now i have decided to keep her because of the information you shared. Thank you. She goes to the vet tomorrow for first check up and shots

  63. Jennifer permalink
    April 21, 2014 4:21 pm

    We adopted Twitch when he was a kitten from our local animal shelter, after doing a little research on his condition. His case was more severe, but we read that they adapt and require just a bit more care (at least when young). He is now going on 4 years old and is such a special guy…we have no regrets whatsoever. He is incredibly happy and affectionate. The only thing I do is pile up his wet food in the morning (on a soft flat surface)….other than that, he is completely independent. There are lots of great videos on YouTube if you’re considering adopting a CH cat…..and you will not regret it.

  64. April 25, 2014 4:56 pm

    Today, we buried Huey, our CH cat. We were lucky to have had him for nearly 13 years. Huey had a great life, and handled every challenging situation with intelligence and aplomb. We furnished our home with ramps and steps to make nearly every surface accessible to him, and he got around. Nothing stopped Huey.

    On days when his legs didn’t cooperate, Huey took it all in stride, and proceeded slowly and with care. He was an indoor-outdoor cat, and was a great mouser, He marshaled his energy to pounce like any other cat might, with telling success.

    Always friendly,he was loved by our neighbors who often found him sunning himself on their decks. One who saw us preparing his final resting place commented “Huey always showed great courage and dignity”, and he did.

    I am glad to know that you are giving a loving home to some wonderful little creatures with special challenges, and perhaps special gifts.

    • April 25, 2014 9:12 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear this, but it sounds like you gave Huey a wonderful life!

  65. Chantal permalink
    April 28, 2014 5:23 pm

    What a wonderful site!! We are making arrangements to adopt a CH kitten, so it is really lovely to get some input from other CH owners! My daughter is a sickly child who has home-schooled, so we feel that we can give the new baby the time she needs. We already have one disabled cat. so we are going to have a pretty odd menagerie quite soon :)

  66. Anna Palmieri permalink
    May 2, 2014 7:48 pm

    I had a CD cat which I just lost. He was the greatest cat i ever had. The thing is he also had other things wrong with him. but he took it in stride. His fround legs were deformed and short so he looked like a dragster going down the race track. I adopted him about a year and a half a go and he had really come a long way from when i got him. He was about 2 years old when i brought him home and he did not even know how to eat by himself. I had to hand feed him. He had so much wrong with him that we did not know about untill just recently when he developed stones or crystals. Even all his insides were all deformed. The vets did every thing they could to save him but he lost the battle on Good Friday. He passed on his own and i miss him so very much. He very lovable and it was like he know i was there to help him servive. I will never forget him and will always miss him very much.

  67. Bridget permalink
    May 13, 2014 11:45 am

    I adopted my cat, Cosette, from my barn. We take in cats from shelters that are on the euthanasia list. I love her very much and have had her for almost 2 years. She shows all the signs of CH but has never been diagnosed. She’s mildly wobbly, has no coordination to jump and has head tremors on occasion. What throws me off is her fecal incontinence, she just seems to have no control. Is this a symptom of CH or could she have something else?

  68. Aaron Robinson permalink
    May 16, 2014 6:21 pm

    I would love to find more out , would love to know how to find one to give it a home!!!

  69. Kari permalink
    May 17, 2014 8:35 am

    Hey! Its Tumbles mommy! So i just wanted to update everyone. We have hit the 6 month mark of her coming to live with us. I have been able to have her vetted. The vet reccommended botox injections. To me that idea is just obsurd. I am not going to put Tumbles through something so temporary.

    He did say that she does have a more moderate form of CH but let me tell you what 6 months has taught me. The capacity of one living being to love another, even in sickness. If you remember my story we were supposed to foster Tumbles until we found her a home or until she lived out her last “few” months. I didnt necessarily want a cat.

    Tumbles is no different than one of my children. Seriously. Losing her would devastate me on the same level. She has learned to climb the stairs, which scares the bejeezus out of me because she cannot come down them and she tends to be impatient. She sleeps in her little kitty bed right next to me and if she wakes up before me in the morning i MUST get out of bed and place her in the living room window to bird and squirrel watch. I had to switch hours at work. I couldnt work third shift any longer. The kids got so angry because my Tumbles refused to sleep. She would meow all night long. All through the house. While i was at work. I didnt actually believe that but when I would come in at 530am Tumbles would be right at the front door and with such an attitude! Also if i get out of bed in the middle of the night to use the restroom, i kid you not as soon as my feet hit the stairway the meowing begins. If i step outside away from her meow meow meow.

    I think its adorable. The kids think its annoying. Myself and one of my daughters are permitted to “cuddle” Tumbles. The other children can pet her but she doesnt allow them to actually cuddle her or hold her. She is such a sassy little diva but she fits right in with my daughters! I thank God everyday for bringing me Tumbles.

    I love it when people are like “I sure would like to have your cat.” “you should ley me have your cat.” or my favorite is when people who arent even cat people fall in love with her. My response is, ‘Not on your life!’

  70. jason permalink
    May 17, 2014 8:07 pm

    I live in Colorado and I’m interested in adopting a wobble kitten. can you help

  71. Marisa permalink
    May 19, 2014 10:36 am

    I am in the process of adopting a kitten with mild CH. He will be coming home in a few weeks after he gets fixed. I am in the process of getting some high sided litter boxes, but I am wondering if there is anything else I should do to prepare. His mobility is pretty good, He runs and jumps, but not very high. I know he is also a climber, so most of the places he would want to go are climbable. Any suggestions would be welcome!

  72. Velisha Myers permalink
    May 19, 2014 12:04 pm

    I have a kitten that is about 6 months old now that I am fostering. For the first few months he had been fine, but now he seems to be having the symptoms of ch. He’s very wobbly, doesn’t like to jump, and walks for a min then his back end just kind of sits and when he gets back up he walks sideways for a few. Could he possibly have ch? Also, I know his one eye is kind of cloudy and the 2nd eyelid doesn’t always go back to its normal position.

  73. Walt permalink
    May 20, 2014 10:09 am

    I don’t like cats at all, but while I was on a weeklong elk hunt about 10 years ago, my wife got two kittens from the same litter for our kids. One of them is deaf and has CH, and he is the funniest, sweetest cat I’ve every seen. He is oblivious to almost everything around him, is always underfoot, and meows loudly several times a day even though he’s totally deaf. He marches around the house like he’s on a mission, and falls over many times a day. He’s like a ragdoll most of the time, and is very un-catlike, which makes him my all-time favorite cat. If we ever get another cat, I want one like him, with CH. They make better pets than regular cats!

  74. May 27, 2014 1:37 pm

    I have a 3 week old kitten I’m bottlefeeding and after having her for 3 days, she lost the use of her front legs and her head wobbles. Do CH cats lose use of their total movement of front legs?

  75. Beth permalink
    May 31, 2014 5:29 pm

    Hi. My name is Beth. And I adopted a cat with CH. Her near is Tinkerbelle. We were looking for another cat to keep my boy cat company. About 5 years ago I went to the humane society. Went to the cat room. I saw so many cats there, but there was this calico kitty on the floor meowing at me. Like she was saying. Hi pet me! She was so cute. So I started to pet her. I fell in love with this cat. I walked away so I can look at other cats. Then all of a sudden she starts wobbling toward me. At first, I thought she might of been on some medication or something. Well my friend went to ask someone what was wrong with her. My friend came back and told me that she has the wobbles, CH. Never her of it. Well the place was about to close. I fell in love with her, but I was not sure how my other cat would react and I had no idea what CH was. My friend told me lets do some research. We did. Well I had to work the next day. My friend called me at work and told me to come out. I did. Looked in the car and saw case in the front seat. He said “open it”. Tinkerbells head popped out. I picked her up in my arms and started to kiss her. That was one of the best days of my life. She is 9 1/2 now and the best cat I’ve ever owned. CH cats are the best cats.

  76. Denise permalink
    June 3, 2014 3:42 pm

    What a lovely blog. My kitten who is one of four has been diagnosed with ch. So many of my frienfs think it will be kinfer yo put him to sleep. No way, he has just as fun ad his 3 btothers and sisters. At 4 weeks he is already developing a lovely petsonality. He was gping to be adopted but theysaid no. Their loss totally.
    Denise

  77. June 4, 2014 10:33 pm

    Thank you for all the information. Your site encouraged me to bring home this little pumpkin… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRzpHKx5Z0da0N0wHXnqH4w

  78. Rebecca Cary permalink
    June 11, 2014 1:07 pm

    Hi all, I adopted my little Leo almost two years ago from Washington Humane Society in DC. This blog was–and continues to be– super helpful in helping both of us adjust to various challenges. I wanted to share Leo’s youtube debut, created by a friend of mine. It’s a story of resilience, which I think is the constant theme of CH cats. I love him to bits! Enjoy, and feel free to share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w73q1JGLOs&feature=youtu.be

  79. Desiree permalink
    June 11, 2014 9:22 pm

    my question is …does this progress with age? we have a kitty that we adopted and was “normal” until about 4 weeks ago (now 6 mos) he started having similar symptoms of that of Charley. seems to faint or fall when using the litter box, walks uncoordinated, difficutly jumping at times, shaking in his front paws at times and overall uncoordinated gait. we took him to the vet and they gave him steroids and an antibiotic and only after two doses he was back to the normal “kitty” we knew. Could this be the same as what Charlie was diagnosed with?

  80. 'Rachael permalink
    June 15, 2014 1:08 pm

    My mom found a 6 to 8 week old stray kitten at her work, the mother has shunned it and my mom fell in love with her. She looks like a bobble head so we have named her Bobber. We are trying to give her a good home and I’m looking up ways to help her possibly gain a little bit of control in her neck b/c i’m scared if out 5 month old puppies try to play with her they will break her neck. Is there anything I can do to help her. I know she can’t eat/drink out of something that’s too high because she can’t get her head in and out of the bowl. I would like to give her the best forever home here I can give her.

  81. Juanita Orozco permalink
    June 19, 2014 2:16 pm

    My kitten loses her balance and she just started doing this also she sleeps a lot too,what do I do to make her comfortable?

  82. Laura permalink
    June 19, 2014 4:52 pm

    I am the human mommy of a 4 week old calico kitty we call Hope. I am 99% sure she has ch because her hind legs looks like she has cerebral palsy. She has an amazing spirit, she is so lovable and she tries so hard to keep up with her 3 other siblings. I think her condition is from being born last… 18 hours after her last brother. I have been told that after 8 hours of labor the risk of problems increase. She is such a joy and I say adopt a special needs pet

  83. July 2, 2014 3:07 am

    Our cat Doughnut was a mangled mess when he was born, but over a 3 month period his back legs straightened and he learnt to walk and now 2 years down the line he can even jump onto the bed. We have never treated him any differently from our 9 other cats, so if he can’t do something he doesn’t do it unless he finds his own way.

  84. Jessica permalink
    July 14, 2014 9:45 am

    Jan, I don’t need your opinion two years LATER. And for your information we’re having trouble conceiving so thank you oh so much for being rediculous enough to ask “Would you do this to your Human baby I doubt it.” Go give your not so helpful opinions to someone else.

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