She was driving home one Thursday night last August when she noticed him on the side of the road. After watching him for a while, Mallory was convinced that he had been hit by a car. She called to him; he meowed back. Mallory knew she had to help.
Mallory, a vet tech major, tried to pick up the kitten by his scruff, but he freaked out. His unsteady movements concerned her, so she called her father who soon arrived with a carrier and leather gloves.
Although she intended to bring the kitten to the SPCA the next day, luck got in the way and she ended up keeping him over the weekend. During that time she learned that he was deaf, blind — and not crazy or wild — just scared and wobbly.
When they had a chance, Mallory and her father took the kitten to the vet. All of his tests came back fine — in addition to a cerebellar hypoplasia diagnosis. Soon Scooter’s vision returned, which they attributed to a nutrition deficiency.
However, Mallory was told she wasn’t allowed to keep him. They already had a full house with two cats of their own plus a pregnant stray that had recently given birth to five kittens. One more cat was just too much — or was it?
Since July 2010, Mallory’s personal cat, Krista, had been battling fibrosarcoma, and Mallory knew there wasn’t much time left. Scooter’s timing was so perfect that Mallory believed she had found him for a reason. Sadly, Krista passed away in November 2011. Fortunately, Scooter has helped her grieve and cope.
What is your cat’s name?
“Scooter.” “Scootie” sometimes, as a nickname.
Approx. 8 months
How severe is his CH?
Scooter was originally moderate, but is now very mild. He’s definitely improved with age and muscle mass.
Does he have certain limitations?
He is completely deaf. He’s only just now learning to jump up.
How does he manage the litter box? Eating and drinking? Do you do anything special to help?
He manages the litter, food and water all normally. It’s just funny to watch sometimes.
He mastered jumping down long ago, but is only just now starting to jump up. His movements are wobbliest when he’s slowly trying to do something. The vet referred to it as “intention tremors.” If he’s running & playing, not so obvious anymore. But stopping to drink, or turning his head, you can’t miss it.
What’s one funny story about him (related to CH)? Or share a story about how he figured out how to do something CH cats “can’t” do.
My uncle watched him drink. So funny. He called it “bobbing for water.” He’s also absolutely hysterical to watch with a laser pointer. I’ve GOT to tape that one of these days.
Has he ever hurt herself because of his CH?
The first time he jumped, I had him on the windowsill by my bed. He took a flying leap over the small twin bed and face-planted into the hardwood floor. He was fine, so I didn’t feel bad cracking up.
Each animal is special in his own way. How is he special?
He’s very smart. He’ll come up to you, meow and pat your leg and then go pat his food bag and stare at you. There’s no doubt what he wants when he wants something.
I don’t need to. Originally, I gave him things to step up onto my bed. Before he could jump down, he slid down some clothes I had over the foot board. I only need to compensate for his deafness. He’s a terror these days, but I can’t yell or say “no” to let him know he’s wrong. He’s learning being pointed at, but I sometimes have to use a squirt bottle — and then he has to frantically clean himself.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other CH parents?
Take it slow. They may improve, but don’t try to teach them things like jumping until they start to try it. Then, maybe guide them a bit until they get the idea. Maybe put a stool or step so they can climb up if jumping still eludes them. I still have a stool by the couch that Scooter uses on and off.
What do you think people need to know about CH?
Just because you see it in a shelter, don’t avoid that animal. Just because it’s less than perfect, means nothing. Could be one of the best cats you’ll have. As my grandfather says about Scooter, “That’s quite a little cat! I like him very much!”
Favorite is definitely watching him play. It doesn’t get old. Especially when he carries the toy as he wobbles around. I have no least favorite. I’m a vet tech major and I volunteered at a rescue for 5 years. My whole life is dedicated to helping animals.
He is something else. He has the weirdest personality. But I am so glad that he stumbled into my life. I can’t wait to move out so I can get him a puppy playmate. My dogs are too old and tired to play with him. He chases my mom’s evil tortoise-shell cat. It’s hilarious, because he’s deaf. He can’t hear her hissy fits, so he thinks she’s playing. When she takes off, he’s right on her tail. SO funny.