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10 States that Report the Most Adoptable Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cats

October 13, 2011

Ever since I started updating a spreadsheet of adoptable CH kitties around the country, I’ve been intrigued with where these cerebellar hypoplasia kitties are located. It’s fascinating, because you’ll see that there are dozens more CH cats reported in some states than others.

I made a map like this a few months back, but I wanted to create an updated version for all of you. I went through my lists of CH cats, which were posted on Petfinder, and tallied the number that have been adoptable since January, all current adoptable CH cats and those that have been adopted since January. Here are the results:

To make it even clearer, here are the top 10 states with the highest number of reported CH cats on Petfinder — again, those that have been listed on Petfinder since January, some of which have been adopted:

  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Illinois
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan

(Note: This does not include the number of CH kitties who actually live in each state or those adopted before January 2011. The numbers may also include cats with CH symptoms that haven’t been officially declared to have CH.)

While there simply could be a larger CH cat population in those states (perhaps a greater human population can lead to more incidents resulting in CH), I tend to believe that these states — and their shelters — have two things going for them.

Photo courtesy Priority Pet Hospital

1) Knowledge. As we all know, cerebellar hypoplasia isn’t a very well known condition, although more and more people learn about it every day.

Since those top ten states have reported the most CH cats, their shelters obviously know about CH. They understand how it impacts each cat, and consequently, they profile them on Petfinder because they’re adoptable. Other states’ shelters may not be as familiar with the condition (perhaps because their chances of encountering a CH cat are lower), and as a result, they may think the cat has brain damage and put her to sleep.

I think this is key, based on something Ellie’s vet confessed. When she first met Ellie, she mentioned that while she had learned about cerebellar hypoplasia in vet school, she had never had a patient with CH. I was a bit taken aback at her honesty, but appreciated it nonetheless.

To be fair, the odds of her seeing a cat with CH would be rather slim in general, but it made me think.

Certainly shelters are spreading awareness, but it’s also up to you and me to spread CH awareness, too. We need to let our vets, our shelters, our communities know about this condition so it’s not viewed as a death sentence. We need to show them that these cats aren’t anomalies or cats with a random, mysterious disorder. We need to show them that cats with cerebellar hypoplasia can make wonderful pets.

But that’s not all. Shelters can’t live on knowledge alone.

Photo courtesy Taekwonweirdo

2) Resources. I haven’t been able to find the data to back this up, but I wonder if resources (the number of shelters, the amount of animals they can hold, the amount of donations (read: money) they receive, etc.) play a major part, too.

We often hear about CH kitties that are in dire need of adoption because a shelter is too congested and its resources stretched, so it is forced to euthanize the less adoptable and more time-consuming pets. However, those with greater resources and funds are more likely to extend their services to all kitties. So I can’t help but wonder if those ten states have greater numbers of shelters with greater resources.

I also can’t help but wonder if larger cities, or states with higher population densities, are home to more shelters — including those that specialize in certain pets (a specific breed or stray rescue, etc.). There may be something to that, as eight of the ten states above rank in the top 20 states with the highest population densities.

So what do you think? Why do you think some states may post dozens of CH kitties on Petfinder, while others appear to never have posted one? Please share!

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