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How You Can Encourage Your CH Cat

March 11, 2012

CG, when he was a few months old.

Some CH kitties will never live a “normal” life — but don’t tell them that, because odds are they have no idea they’re different.

Personally, I find that to be one of their most inspiring characteristics. Our CH cats may not have the same skills and grace as a cat with a normal cerebellum, but they still live life to the fullest with just as much (if not more!) enthusiasm and love.

So as we embrace this quality, I think it’s also important to discuss ways to encourage your CH cat — especially when they’re confronted with a difficulty.

The best piece of advice I received after adopting CG was to ultimately let him do things on his own. Of course it was my responsibility make sure he was safe, but I needed to give him his space to figure things out.

This was most trying at times, and thankfully I had my husband (then boyfriend) to hold me accountable. It would hurt my heart to see CG struggle to climb onto the sofa or splat to the floor when he jumped off. But I think he (OK, more likely *I*) had to learn that it was OK to have him figure out how he’d accomplish things — even if that resulted in a few bumps and bruises. And the more I held back, the more he did this beautifully.

For example, instead of helping him onto the couch by simply picking him up, which didn’t really help him, we encouraged him to climb up. We would watch how he would try to do things, and if necessary, found ways to help him like placing a step stool near the couch, laying rugs in strategic places and CH-proofing our home.

By allowing him to do things on his own and providing ways to assist him, CG became more skilled, a bit more coordinated and confident. He didn’t need to wait for me to get home for him to sit on the couch. He was able to get up there any time he pleased.

CG, a few days after his adoption.

Once he’d accomplish something on his own, we’d praise him. If he didn’t succeed in his challenge, we would encourage him to try again, instead of coddling him, which could hurt his dignity.

While I’m not saying that you should praise your cat for every little action, I do think it’s important that you recognize the times your cat accomplishes something. I believe it builds up his confidence — not to mention strengthens the bond you have. You’ll also become more in-tune with his needs and abilities, and you can respond accordingly.

Similarly, also schedule in playtime with your cat. When cats play, they (usually!) forget their fear or insecurity, which is a good opportunity for you to bond with them by praising their bravery.

Unfortunately, some challenges may be bigger than others, and your cat (and you) may just have to learn to adapt to that limitation. Sometimes that challenge may only be temporary (everything may be difficult if your cat is still a tiny, wobbly kitten), and sometimes that challenge will be a lifestyle (not being able to jump on countertops or run down stairs).

But either way, the important thing is to spend quality time with your CH cat, praise him for all he does figure out, and work together to see if you can help him accomplish other challenges. And when presented with limitations, appreciate him that much more.

How do you encourage your CH cat? Do you have any tips or success stories? Please share in the comments!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Rosanne Anderson permalink
    March 11, 2012 6:01 pm

    I foster for the county and recently adopted one of my babies – Opal Anne – who has CH. I love her dearly. When I first got the mom and litter, all tiny Opal would do is run, hide, and hiss at me. I even held her in my hands, my face right in front of her and told her how impolite it was of her to continue hissing while I was talking! (Part of my job is to socialize potential kitties.)

    One day in my kitty room on the porch, I noticed Opal wobbling. And she stopped hissing. After vet visits confirmed my suspicions, we brought her into the house (mom and brothers, who grew much bigger that Opal, were gone for adoption) so she could be socialized more and grow.

    Well, it’s been since December and Opal only weighs 4 pounds, and now she’s like a Velcro kitty! She yowls to be held, fed, played with, etc., and constantly “exercises” are 2 older ladies.

    Yes, she does flop and fall quite a bit, has head shakes if she’s intrigued/frightened, and runs with the sound of drums – but she seems very happy, content, and healthy.

    I hope she doesn’t get any bigger – I think it’s probably easier to control a tiny body when all the nerves aren’t quite connected.

    She’s a real love/snuggler, and I’m so happy I adopted her.


    • March 12, 2012 8:52 am


      Thank you so much for sharing your story! Opal Anne sounds like an absolute darling, and I’m so glad you’ve noticed so much progress already. Thank you for opening your heart and home to this special girl — I’m eager to hear more of her stories (or perhaps you’d even like us to profile her?? link: soon!

  2. Lisa O'Connor permalink
    March 12, 2012 3:01 pm

    My 18 month old ch kitty named Sprite aka Little Man is a true joy of our family, and he has definitely improved as he’s gotten older, being able to navigate the stairs, both up and down, as well as jump onto the sofa, (which is hysterical), and claw himself up on the bed. However, it seems like in the past week, he has regressed & I am concerned – has anyone else ever had this experience? He seems to be struggling with the stairs & just more wobbly over all – I have a vet appointment scheduled but they can’t see me for two weeks, so am trying to do some research on my own – anyone’s insight would be great – thank you!!

    • March 12, 2012 3:02 pm

      Perhaps he’s hurt himself recently? Maybe a sprain or something like that is contributing to his extra-wobbliness? I’d say keep an eye on it, but I’m glad you’re going to the vet just to be sure!

  3. Jordan permalink
    May 3, 2014 1:24 pm

    Do CH kitties tend to be more vocal than others?

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