What You Need to Know About Walkers for CH Cats
For some cats, severe cerebellar hypoplasia may mean a life of immobility — but it doesn’t need to be that way. Some very considerate folks have found a way to get these kitties up and moving around.
The original idea came from seeing how other injured, paralyzed or differently abled (2-legged, etc.) pets move around: Pet wheelchairs.
Call them walkers, wheelchairs, carts or whatever you’d like, but they’re a great solution for a cat who has significant mobility issues. While the walker may not immediately solve the immobility issue, it may help in three areas over time: Work on muscle development, help your cat become more mobile and increase your CH cat’s quality of life.
Many pet wheelchairs are available online; however, they can be quite pricey. However, you can easily make your own walker for $20.
If you decide a walker may be helpful for your cat, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Introduce your cat to the new walker slowly. Make sure he’s comfortable around it before you place him into it.
If he’s uncomfortable, remove him, but don’t make the walker the enemy. Try to create positive associations with the walker (play near it, keep it out in the open so he sees it’s nothing to fear, etc.), and encourage him if he’s curious about it.
Once he begins to use it, monitor how much time he spends in it — you may want to begin with only a few minutes and build up from there. Using the walker may be a stressful and exhausting experience for your cat, so you may need to slowly build on how much time he spends in it.
Lastly, many folks use toys and treats to encourage their pet to move around. Otherwise he may freeze in place!
But how have CH cats truly reacted to walkers? The experiences vary:
From the moment Rena placed her Racer in his walker, he absolutely hated it. However, she says it was easy to make and not very expensive.
Robin had better luck. Her severe CH Whoopsy used a wheelchair for a few months when he was young to help strengthen his legs. While he’s still very wobbly, he can now stand on all four legs and walk several steps before falling. She said he’s just amazing!
Meanwhile, Rita says her Gil will only spend 15-20 seconds in the walker at a time, but he no longer fights her when she puts him in it. She believes part of the issue is because the walker doesn’t fit him properly — the sling was too low and the leg holes too close together. She’s currently working on fixing the sling issue.
Does your CH cat use a cart or walker to get around? Did you build it? How long has your kitty been using it and how does he like it? Do you think your cat may benefit from a walker? Please share in the comments!