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Proof that Your Cat’s CH May Improve Over Time

November 20, 2011

Photo courtesy Jezlyn26

For a while now, some of us CH parents have been claiming that we believe the severity of our cats’ cerebellar hypoplasia has decreased with time. For example, when CG was a kitten, his CH was much more moderate. But today, it really is rather mild.

I always chalked it up to the fact that as our cats grew, they were able to compensate due to additional exercise, muscle development and improved coordination during playtime. However, now there’s proof that there may be something more at play.

In the most recent issue of the CH Kitty Club Newsletter (November), Tanja and her kitty Martha had a fascinating interview with physical rehabilitation specialist Krista from Scout’s House.

They asked Krista about the benefits of physical therapy rehabilitation for cats with cerebellar hypoplasia, and the response was very encouraging!

Krista said that in the CH cats they’ve seen at Scout’s House, they’ve learned how the nervous system can be very “plastic.” This means that other parts of the nervous system can learn how to function in place of damaged parts.

Throughout the last century neuroscientists believed that the brain’s structure wouldn’t change after early childhood (or in this case, kittenhood!) — but now science is proving that many parts of the brain may remain plastic into adulthood.

Krista compared this to humans who go through rehab after suffering a stroke. Similarly, Scout’s House uses specific rehab techniques that help re-train other parts of the brain to perform similar functions. In addition, they also improve muscle strength, balance and overall mobility.

Obviously the level of success or progress can really vary from cat to cat, but she said all make some sort of progress. Of course, just like with human physical therapy, this is something that you’d always have to continue over time.

In addition to physical therapy, Krista also said that they help inform the cats’ families how to make their home environment safer and easier to navigate as well as teach them exercises they can work on at home.

If you’d like to read the entire Q & A on Facebook, you can find it by clicking here.

Do you have a cat whose CH has decreased in severity over time? Please share in the comments!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. JacquieB permalink
    November 20, 2011 11:59 pm

    Hi Amanda, I enjoyed this article and the info on physical rehab for CH kitties. From our perspective, Percy, our severely affected CH youngster kitty has such a difficult time getting around, It is always our knee-jerk reaction to want to pick him up and carry him to where he wants to go; be it to the litter box or food and water bowls, since it is sometimes very frustrating and time consuming for him to get to where he wants to go. But I constantly must remind myself, and my other family members that he needs to develop his muscles, coordination abilities and his coping skills so carrying him is not doing him any favors in that regard. It is best to continue to encourage him as he struggles by speaking to him and giving him verbal approval as he makes it to his goals. It is hard to not want to help him, but we call it ‘tough love’ around here. Recently he surprised me by finally ‘jumping’ up on my very high bed (something he has tried to do for months). He only did it once, hasn’t been able to do a repeat performance, but it was quite amazing! Percy is an amazing little creature and he has flopped his way into the hearts of all of us in a way no other cat has ever done. And I LOVE felines and animals of all kinds. His name is derived from ‘perseverance’ and he is truly the epitome of ‘perseverance’.

  2. Triste permalink
    December 8, 2011 2:04 pm

    What a Great article!! Very informative. I have a CH cat, Clarence who is almost two years old. I can’t believe how well he compensates and never gives up. Yes, I agree with Jacquie that it is hard not to help all the time, but he is so proud when he does make it to his destination. Sometimes my heart just goes out and I do help. I have two other cats and a small dog, who realize that Clarence is a ‘little different’, but it does not seem to bother them. Clarence is the love of my life and I can not imagine life without him now !!!!

  3. Cheryl permalink
    May 17, 2013 9:32 pm

    I have a CH kitty ..Ozzie Catbourne is his name I love my mr bobbles with all my heart he is very independant ..he cant use a liter box so we place puppy pads down for him..i do help him sometimes to the back door so he can sunbathe …the day he jumped up on the bed to sleep with me was so exciting for me as it was for him…i praised him as he flopped over and began to purr.. i love him to pieces ❤ =^..^=

  4. Amber permalink
    September 3, 2013 8:54 pm

    We just recently rescued a CH kitty and found out what is wrong. He is such a lover! Your website has been so helpful. I had originally tried to find Rascal another home and when the lady I placed him with told me he is suffering and wanted to put him down I of course went straight back for him. He is a mild case and just walks like his paws are wet. After that horrible experience for us both I just can’t bring myself to risk placing him again so my family has a new addition! I couldn’t be happier! I don’t think a disabled animal should be put down when it is clearly not suffering. It’s sad when our world can’t see the worth of a loving cat just because he isn’t “normal”.

  5. Emma permalink
    September 7, 2013 2:24 pm

    I have a cat, Oscar and he has CH and used to scoot around a little bit and would run in to walls when he would run because he couldn’t stop, but he always got right back up. He is now 2 1/2 and you can’t really even notice his CH anymore accept, when he runs, he’ll sometimes end up back wards and kind of runs sideways with his tail curved over (it’s really funny to watch!) But, not only has he stopped scooting but he’s became quite a little hunter (amazingly) which is funny because, my other cat, Possum, doesn’t hunt. My friend has actually seen him jump up about 4 feet in the air and catch a live bird, that he then proceeded to release in my house. I think,what also helped is after we got him, we got a dog, and even though, for the first month Oscar was afraid of my dog, they’ve now become great friends a play a lot.

  6. September 8, 2013 5:18 am

    Hi. I have a cat that recently had a blood clot and now has lost the use of his back legs. I was hoping that u might have some info that I could use to aid his recovery.

    • September 8, 2013 11:55 am

      Hi Dianne-
      I’m so sorry to hear about your cat. For something like this, I’d recommend speaking to your vet. Good luck!

  7. jenny160 permalink
    June 27, 2014 11:32 pm

    My kitty has improved significantly over time! He started out as a feral kitten with no ability to stand on his back legs, and 7 years later isd now a cat that “runs” and climbs and hours up and down two flights of stairs multiple times per day. He still can’t jump, and he leans against legs and walls to assist him with stationary balance, but this is a cat with a LOT of mobility now.

    • jenny160 permalink
      June 27, 2014 11:34 pm


  8. Allison permalink
    December 15, 2016 8:34 am

    My kitty Angel is almost 4 months old and has definitely improved. When I took her away from mom at 3 weeks old she couldnt control her head so I had to hold it for her to bottle feed and then used a spoon to feed her. Now she can feed herself with me helping to hold her upright. She can use the litterbox by herself by leaning against the side of the box and my hands helping occasionally to prevent her bumping her head or loosing her balance. She has learned to splay her back legs for balance and is learning to walk; she can take several wobbly steps so far before falling over and sometimes she even catches herself and doesnt fall.


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