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Meet Peanut

January 7, 2012

While Peanut, a 2-year-old cat who has mild cerebellar hypoplasia, has no problem with most day-to-day activities, he is a bit clumsier than other kitties, says his pet parent Melissa. However, this quality has earned him the endearing nickname “Poh Peanut” when he tumbles over.

What is he able to do? What are his limitations?

He is able to climb onto beds and couches, but not above that height, by using his front legs, digging his nails in and pulling. We have a multi-tier cat tree – he can climb onto the ‘first floor’ but doesn’t go any higher than that. He also climbs into his window hammock. He can run, chase a laser pointer (LOVES that one), but is floppy.

As far as limitations, I’d say he mostly has trouble going the right direction. He has the motion down pat, but he will try to jump onto the couch and jump straight up instead (and then fall backward). Not a problem though, he just tries again!

He is messy with wet food, but he does eat it. He seems to have no problem drinking water, though when he was a kitten his intention tremors would sometimes cause him to dip his whole face in the water, which resulted in lots of sputtering and mad cat.

Do you have any funny stories that have happened to him because of his CH? Or perhaps a story about how he figured out how to do something CH kitties may not be able to do?

Lots of times we will hear a door slam in the house and know that it’s not a human (there’s only two of us!) This is a cue that Peanut has locked himself in a room again. I think he is trying to get out the partially-opened doors, but accidentally goes on the wrong side and shuts it instead! He usually is very chill about it though – just settles down until someone realizes he’s not around and finds him.

Peanut has lots of funny stories – one of my favorite things though is when we go to the vet and his doctor invites her students in to see him. I love that he can spread information about CH by just being himself, and showing that it makes him unique, but not broken! The interns all love him, and his doctor asks about him often (she is a facebook friend of mine).

Has he ever hurt himself because of his CH?

He has bonked his head a few times by accident – we try to keep furniture off to the side of all the rooms except for the couch, but he’ll still sometimes stray too close. No serious accidents though, thankfully!

Every animal is special in her or his own way. How is he special?

He is the most loving cat I have ever had.  He gives kisses too, when he’s in the right mood. Once he actually caused some serious pain by waking me up with a lick to the eyelid – I think he doesn’t understand his tongue is rough. He loves cardboard boxes, so any time we get something shipped to the house I save the box for him to sit in. My roommate and I call them cat forts!

Probably the most special thing would be that I ever even met Peanut to begin with (visiting a city two hours away, where he just happened to be in a carrier at a comedy club) – it was a fluke, but I’m so glad I did and that he came home with me. Peanut was my solid rock during the tumultuous time of my divorce, as silly as that may sound.

Have you found any ways to help him with his condition?

I wish I could! But I think Peanut is very adaptive – he has gotten more coordinated as he ages. I really believe he sees no difference between himself and our other two ‘normal’ cats. And if he gets frustrated or needs help, he yells at me.  It’s a very specific whiny meow, that to me sounds like “MOM, HELP.” Usually it’s for a lift up to me, even though he knows how to climb. I spoil him a bit, that’s probably my own limitation haha.

What do you think people need to know about CH?

That it’s not a disease, it’s not some affliction that means the cat wont have a good quality life. A cat should not be put down just for showing CH symptoms – give them a chance, and find them a special person who would love to give that cat a loving home like it deserves. And don’t laugh at them when they fall, they get embarrassed!

What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about Peanut having CH?

This is tough to answer… My least favorite may be that he gets frustrated sometimes, that he has to try something more than once to get it. He even has a huffy *sigh* that he uses when something is getting on his nerves. My most favorite is that it’s just another part of Peanut that makes him so unique, adorable, and lovable. Even now, just watching him walk (waddle, sometimes) across the living room, we will be going “awwww, he is so cute!”

Do you have any words of wisdom for other CH parents?

Don’t underestimate your CH cat – when Peanut was 7 weeks old he got ‘lost’ in my apartment. My husband and I spent 45 minutes looking for him on our hands and knees, under tables, under the couch – turns out he’d climbed up on the couch (at least three times his height!) and was napping in a blanket! We didn’t think he had that ability yet! He learns just as quickly as any other cat, and is even sweeter.

Click here to read about other readers’ CH cats or tell us about your CH cat!

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 11, 2012 5:36 pm

    Peanut sounds like a total love!

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