Meet Hippa & Nanako
Those familiar with Hippa and Nanako are also familiar with their pet parent, Elise, who has been a credit to the cerebellar hypoplasia community. Elise played a major role with helping Ellie’s sisters, and she has also authored these wonderful CH educational fliers. Now on to the kitties who inspire her:
How old are they?
Hippa is 11 years old; Nanako is 1 year 3 months old.
How severe are their CH?
Hippa has mild CH; Nanako has moderate CH.
Do they have certain limitations?
Hippa pretty much stays upright all the time, can eat and use the litterbox standing, and can jump a foot or two off the ground. She hunches her back/back legs when she walks, and loses her balance if she lifts any of her legs off the ground for more than a couple of seconds.
Nanako can sit up when she eats wet food with her legs splayed, but lays down to eat dry food. She’s a messy eater, but is getting much better with time. She lays down to use the litterbox and occasionally poops on rug next to the box. She’s pretty good about getting down from furniture and is an expert at climbing up on the furniture. Her favorite place to hang out is on the computer chair (she likes to make it spin around) and she recently climbed to the top of a tall cat tree all on her own! She can’t jump up; she jumps out or towards things to play though.
Do you have any funny stories about things that have happened to them because of CH? Or perhaps a story about how they figured out how to do something CH kitties may not be able to do?
Hippa – not really. Unfortunately she didn’t have the best background before she came to us and she’s pretty shy and doesn’t try anything bold. She does really like to play though, and it’s awesome to see her come out of her shell a little bit to play and jump around. Generally, she’ll only do so around me though. She’s much more timid around my husband and strangers.
Nanako – this cat NEVER gives up. She tries and tries to do something, and if she can’t figure out a way to do it, she SCREAMS at you to help her. She also screams for food, or just to hear her own voice. She is an expert climber (after months of experience) and always gets down without hurting herself, though sometimes when she plops down it makes me cringe. Really, the funniest thing though, is at mealtimes she gets so excited at the prospect of wet food (even though she always gets it twice a day) that she tries to follow right under my feet, flipping and flopping because she’s too excited to keep her balance, and screaming the whole way. She does really good when she slows down, and she knows that, but she just can’t contain herself at meal times!
Have they ever hurt themselves because of their CH?
Hippa – Not seriously. She will sometimes fall over and yelp when one of the other cats runs into her, but I think it’s more out of surprise than actual pain.
Nanako – surprisingly, no. She has taken many bad-sounding spills off the couch or into the walls, but she always seems to get right back up and keep going. We’ve tried to pad things and help her as much as we can, but a lot of times she will specifically avoid the padded areas. Probably to “show” us that she doesn’t need special treatment.
Have you found ways to help them with their condition? Like what?
For both Hippa and Nanako, I find play time is the best way to help them. They figure out a LOT of stuff on their own, but I’ve noticed during play time, they don’t concentrate as much on walking as they do on catching whatever toy it is we are playing with and they jump/run/balance better. Since Nanako has to lay down in the litterbox, we’ve also gotten different litterboxes (and a different type of litter) for her to use to make it easier for her.
What do you think people need to know about CH?
That it is not a painful or progressive condition. Kitties with CH either don’t know or don’t care that they are different and they are very smart in figuring out alternative ways of doing things. You should not pity a cat with CH, you should find inspiration in them. And they deserve to live and enjoy life just as much as anycat else!