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Meet Moby

February 20, 2012

I absolutely love learning about other folks’ CH cats, because no matter how many stories I hear, they’re all different and so special in their own ways. So, to say Moby is no different makes his story sound common — but I assure you, it’s just as very special as any other CH cat’s.

Moby sounds like quite the special little one — and he’s holding true to his namesake. His pet parent, Sharon, was kind enough to share his story with us, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

What is your cat’s name?

Moby. My husband felt the kitten needed to be named after someone he could look to for inspiration. My husband chose Moby Dick, as never gave up and was indefatigable in overcoming adversity.

Age? 

Born early September 2011. This is a guess, as Moby is a rescue from a feral colony. I volunteer for  Cat Rescue Maritimes in New Brunswick, Canada, a TNR (trap-neuter-return) group. Moby was found by the caregiver on a site where our organization performed TNR for 44 adult cats and rescued (for fostering and adoption) over 25 kittens. The caregiver had noticed the other kittens in this one litter were out running around but this little fellow was still with his mom. The caregiver brought the situation to our organization’s attention. I was the first responder to the call and took the kitten to a vet who diagnosed him with severe CH. Understanding he had special needs, my husband and I agreed to foster him. Of course, we fell in love very quickly!

How severe is his CH?

Based on your video, I would rate him as moderately severe. He had virtually no balance as a younger kitten and had to be held up to eat and drink. He was a true ‘tumble kitten’! But he is a very brave little fellow and has gained a lot of strength. He can now manage several steps before falling over and can climb onto fabric chairs and chesterfields. He runs like the wind (using the same principle that kids use in learning to ride bicycles – as long as there is momentum, you won’t fall over)! He loves to leap into or onto things.

Does he have certain limitations?

He still struggles with balance, especially when he is just waking up or conversely is very tired. He does not do well on slippery floors, like hardwood or tile, so where we do not have carpet, we have put non-slip connecting floor pads down for him. We have to keep him away from stairs going down, as he has cannot manage them. He has not tried to go up stairs.

How does he manage the litter box?

High-sided litter boxes work best for him and we keep one in each room where he spends time. He climbs in or leaps in, often landing clumsily, and leans against the side or back. He does “scratch” to cover his leavings, but is completely ineffective at it, generally missing the spot completely (it’s funny!). Then he leaps back out, often landing clumsily, but gets himself up and stumbles off!.

Eating and drinking?

He used to do backflips into his plate when he dipped his head to eat or drink. That is why we held him. He has learned to crouch down, widening and bunching up his back legs before he puts his lead down to eat. He does not drink a lot, so we ensure he gets high quality canned food for moisture.

Do you do anything special to help?

Litter – we tried several different types of litter and litter boxes at first, including many hand-made aids to help, but nothing seemed to hit the mark. We ended up using a lot of disposable puppy pads to keep the place clean. After a few months, having gained strength, he managed to figure it out himself.

Eating – we initially placed him in front of his dishes and held his back down to keep him from flipping over head-first. Over time, the required holding support became less and less, and now he eats on his own. It still takes him a moment to get himself properly lined up and, if he gets distracted, he still falls. But he is much better.

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.

When he was very young we kept him penned when we were not able to be with him. But one day, I took him to the bedroom where I was going to nap and placed him on the floor to entertain himself, which he does brilliantly. I woke up to find him curled up beside me on the bed! I was worried he would fall off, but over time he developed his own method for getting down from the bed – he digs his nails into the edge of the bedspread, throws his legs over the side, dangles and drops! Fortunately he has gotten longer as he gets older and the drop is not very far now.

Has he ever hurt herself because of his CH?

He got ahead of me one day when the door to the downstairs area was open – tumbled down several steps on hardwood stairs. He recovered quickly but I am more careful now.

Each animal is special in his own way. How is he special?

He loves our border collies. He runs after them, chases their feathery flagged tails endlessly, and curls up with them to sleep. They are very gentle with him and have accepted him as part of the family.

Have you found ways to help him with CH? How?

1) If you have slippery floors, do not make your CH cat struggle to get a foothold. The connecting non-slip pads designed for kids’ rooms work perfectly along pathways or in general areas. 2) Moby absolutely loves the nylon/wire cubes that roll when leaped upon. They are cheap ($4 at Walmart) and don’t last all that long but have really helped him develop strength and balance. And it is hilarious to watch him in them – he plays in them endlessly!

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

Our CH kitten does not seem to know he is disabled. It is a label we humans have given him, which he completely dismisses. He is prepared to try anything and loves life! My advice is to hang in there and forget the labels.

What do you think people need to know about CH?

That they can have a normal lifespan and are generally healthy and loving. I have fostered many kittens and he is remarkably normal in so many ways – cute, loving, playful, full of energy, learning every day – just like any other kitten.

What is your favorite and least favorite thing about his having CH?

Our favourite thing is Moby’s spirit and adaptability. I suppose our least favourite thing would be finding the right person to care for him if we are ever away, something we haven’t faced yet. We have babysitting challenges as well, so this is just one more consideration and we are confident we can overcome it.

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

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Catherine Paciotti permalink
    February 20, 2012 1:41 pm

    Moby is so sweet! And you and your husband sound like such good parents for him. It sounds like he has the perfect home.

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