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Meet Kiki

March 23, 2012

Earlier this year, Renee contacted me and said she had been so inspired by other readers’ adoption stories, that she wanted to submit her own! So, without futher ado, here’s how Renee met Kiki:

My husband and I were away on vacation about 2 hours from home. While we were walking around the shops in the downtown area, we came across a new pet store that was sponsoring an adopt-a-thon outside on the sidewalk.

I’ve always been a cat lover, and had recently lost my childhood cat who was 18-years-old when she passed. There was a little kitten in the top cage, and I was struck by her gold eyes. She was quite interested in us too. We talked to her and soon noticed she was shaking quite a bit, and would jump everytime a car passed by. I wondered outloud if she was scared, and the worker nearby said, “Oh no, this is Missy, a special needs cat. She has cerebellar hypoplasia.”

We watched and talked to the cat a little bit longer before going into the pet store. Missy watched us the entire way down the sidewalk and through the store front window. At that moment, I burst into tears. My husband looked at me and said, “What is wrong with you?!” I told him how much my heart broke for the little cat and how no one would adopt her because she wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t as immediately taken with Missy as I was.

When we got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the little wobbly kitten. One day, my husband caught me researching CH and said, “You really do want that cat, don’t you?” And that was that.

After a few more days of tracking down the store, then tracking down the adoption agency, then tracking down the owner — we finally made arrangements to go back the very next weekend to adopt Missy. We didn’t know how severe Missy’s condition was, or what to expect, but we were ready to take on this new challenge and precious cat.

Our first surprise was when we got home. The agency owner had said we would want to keep Missy away from any stairs. To our surprise, she relentlessly pursued our carpeted stairs. We finally gave in, and very carefully and protectively climbed behind her on the stairs. She was quite proud of herself and climbed up and down the stairs for 10 minutes straight.

Soon after, we put a baby gate up on bottom of the stairs after a few wobbly mishaps. She was about 8 months when we adopted her, the agency said her mother had distemper, and she had a brother that was perfectly normal.

Into our first several weeks, we realized Missy didn’t respond to her name. She would only respond to “Kitty, kitty, kitty.” It didn’t take long before she took on a new name, Kiki. She seems to have a mild CH.

Litter Box: We had purchased a deep litter box, with a low entry point. It came with a lid. When we first got Kiki home, she would NOT go in the litter box. As soon as I took the lid off, she climbed right in. She wobbled around quite a bit, and the high walls provided a great support. She also has hind legs that have a mind of their own sometimes. She would kick the litter so hard, it would fly out of the box!

I ended up going to a grocery store, and taking home an empty large cardboard box. I cut out the short end and part of the top, covered it with contact paper and placed the litter base inside. It provides a “catch” all on 3 of the four sides, and a half ceiling. We also have a rubber mat with grips/holes, so the litter catches in the mat on her way out.

Eating/Drinking: I placed a shallow cookie pan on the floor with a low food bowl (dry food) and a low water basin as well. She does well drinking, her head only really bobbles when she is concentrating on something. Every once in a while, she completely flips over, like a somersault, into her food. The cookie pan helps keep the food from scattering everywhere.

Surprises: One of the pictures I attached shows how Kiki lays. She will lay right on her tummy, with her legs out. Almost like frog legs! My husband and I both have never seen a cat lay like this! She does it often, so it must be comfortable.

Kiki likes to race through the house. We have three rooms connected, so she likes to race from one end to the other. She did this since the first time we brought her home. We were told that she once belonged to a family with kids, of which they lost their house. They gave Kiki to friends of theirs, who then also lost their house. They were living in a car, 2 adults, 3 kids, and Kiki. When they couldn’t afford to feed her they took her to the agency where she lived in the owner’s home.

The owner took in all special needs animals. She had a deaf cat, blind cat, severely disabled dogs, and Kiki. I think she loves the extra space, and races around often. She’s raced so quickly, she couldn’t stop, and has on several occasions run right into the leg of the wooden dining table. She’ll take a minute to recoup, but will be back at it again in a few minutes. She is really cute when she runs, her hind end will swing back and forth — almost independent of her front half!

She gets up on chairs and the couch using her front claws to pull up. She rarely jumps up, because when she does, her aim and strength rarely work together. Sometimes she’ll jump STRAIGHT up, other times, she’ll sail right over the chair or fall backward. Every once in a great while, it works just right — and she’ll look just any other cat!

One of the hardest parts of having a CH cat, is when someone new comes over or sees her. They’ll ask “What is WRONG with your cat?” Almost like she has a disease. It hurts me more than Kiki, I’m sure. Another thing we’ve learned is to not laugh at her when she fails, or a jump doesn’t get her to the spot she desired. She gets embarrassed and nervous, just like anyone else!

My favorite part of having a CH cat is how tender and compassionate they are! Kiki has such a sweet and caring disposition. She is a protector, if my son is crying, she will immediately run to me and meow or run to him and lean on him, which usually ends in a grand flop on his lap! She loves attention and affection. She leans right into your hand, and usually ends up flopping on the floor, then scrambles to get up to do it all over again!

We feel so blessed to have Kiki in our lives. Sometimes I think about what a special story she has, and what a slim chance it was for us to find her!

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

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2012 10:50 am

    PlumaBlanca, the working cat here, I yam sooooo happy that Kiki has a furever home! I yam a deaf cat, says Mommy, but I don’t know what that means. i have a happy life, I go to work everyday, play in the garden at home and have lots of friends. All cats need is loves, foods and safe places!

  2. Catherine Paciotti permalink
    March 24, 2012 8:39 am

    Kiki sounds so much like Dotty–they have the same mild level of CH. I found Dotty almost by chance, too, and I’d never heard of cerebellar hypoplasia, but I fell instantly in love with her. Her latest thing is getting in the bathtub every morning and playing with the clear plastic liner curtains. She can jump/climb out by herself because there’s a rubber bath mat hanging over the edge. That means she could probably get in by herself too, but she doesn’t realize that yet. We’ve also been putting birdseed out on the back patio and watching the birds out the open window since the weather has suddenly turned very nice. She also jumps exactly the way you described Kiki jumping–she can sometimes almost FLY, but she often misses her mark, and often she ends up just jumping straight up or falling backwards. She’s a great climber. You sound like great pet-parents for Kiki, and she sounds like a wonderful kitty!

  3. Rich Bergins permalink
    March 25, 2012 9:14 am

    Great story of Kiki! Our CH cat Kitty lays with “frog legs” splayed out on the cool floor too, while my CH cat Half-and-Half will jump with limited accuracy onto the couch or laps! She will usually overshoot her mark or come flying into my chest, I love it.

    You probably did save her life when adopting her. I feel badly for the families that lost their homes and were forced to give up their cat because they couldn’t afford to feed her. You helped them by giving their cat a great home.

    Our CH cats are very affectionate too.
    Thanks for sharing such a cool story.

  4. Lisa permalink
    March 31, 2012 10:08 pm

    How funny – our CH kitty, Sprite, (aka Little Man), has the same fascination with the shower/bathtub. He’ll get in there right after I get out & just sit & stare at the faucet – it’s hysterical. Or, now that it’s Spring, he’ll stare at the ladybugs on the window. He is such a dear, sweet love – and is a consumate flyer, too! I love it – it truly catches air & the expression on his face is hysterical!! I had never heard of CH either, but when my then 13 year old went to adopt a kitten – well, he climbed right in her lap & that was it!

  5. March 13, 2016 6:21 pm

    Thank you so much for the photo of Kiki with her back legs out. I adopted a CH kitty last year who was found in a storm drain and I have been worried that she had some other kind of injury that the vet missed simply because she lays like this.

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