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Meet Teddy

April 17, 2012

To be honest, some days I wonder if this blog helps anyone — and if it’s anything more than a platform for me to talk about special needs cats. But every so often, I hear how the blog has made a difference in one of your lives — and I can’t tell you how amazing that feels.

A few weeks ago Brittney contacted me and said that she had found her kitty, Teddy, who’s now close to 1-year-old, through this blog. I’m honored to share her story:

“I had first heard about CH from a YouTube video about a cat named Charlie. At the time, I still had my childhood cat, Bobo. She wasn’t friendly to other cats, so adopting another cat was not an option. I made up my mind, though. When I was able to adopt another cat, I would get a CH cat.

Bobo passed away last summer from cancer, and it was so heartbreaking for me. At first, I couldn’t even think about getting another cat, but when I came across Life with CH Cats I was reminded of the wobbly kitty I saw in the video.

I went to a shelter, and told them I wanted a CH cat. They were a little surprised. They told me that they currently didn’t have any, but they told me about a cat named Dance who had been adopted, but then returned to the shelter because he had vestibular disease. Apparently, the people who adopted him were disturbed by his vertigo and newly tilted head. When I met him, I knew he had to come home with me. We also took home a silly talkative cat named Boxer, who was a life-long friend of Dance. I was not expecting to come home with two cats! I was still on the hunt for a CH kitty though!

A couple of days before Christmas, I was looking at the list of adoptable cats on Life with CH Cats. I called about a little orange kitten with mild CH. I was disappointed when they told me he was just adopted the previous day, but they told me they had another CH kitten who was also available.

A quick look at his picture and I fell in love with his sweet face. I made the drive from New York to New Jersey to get the little guy. I was told he was from a hoarding situation, and that he was about 6 months old. I later found out that he only looked like a 6-month-old, and was actually almost full grown. He was definitely the runt, and just had a rough start to life. I decided to name him Teddy, because he was cuddly like a teddy bear. He just loves to be held.

At first, Dance was upset by Teddy’s arrival. He’d hiss and growl at him, but Teddy doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body and would only purr and cuddle with Dance. Eventually, Dance warmed up to his new baby brother. I think Teddy sensed a kindred spirit with Dance. Now, every one tells me it’s amazing how well my 3 cats get along!

Since I’ve adopted him, I’ve been trying to help him through other health problems he’s had from his life in a hoard, and a shelter. His fur has gotten softer, and he’s gotten much more lively and talkative!

How severe is his CH?

I would say he’s mild. He usually takes a few spills when walking, but he gets right back up! He also has head tremors from time to time.

Does he have certain limitations?

He makes no attempt to jump whatsoever. I imagine he tried to jump in the past, and ended up with a bad experience and never tried again. He has trouble with even small obstacles. He is also very tiny (5 lbs) and doesn’t have much muscle on him, despite being almost full grown. I think this definitely doesn’t help his mobility, but he keeps growing stronger!

How does he manage the litter box? Eating and drinking? Do you do anything special to help?

Teddy sometimes loses his balance in the litter box, so we will have to wipe him down once in a while. As far as eating and drinking goes, he can handle that just fine!

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.

Teddy likes to imitate his older brothers, or at least try to. Boxer loves to stand on his hind legs and meow for food. Teddy has picked up this habit, despite being wobbly. He will slowly move his front paws up your leg until he is standing, then his back paws will fail him and he will slip! Sometimes he will grab your pants when he falls, leaving him hanging there. He doesn’t know there is anything wrong with him.

Has he ever hurt herself because of his CH?

Teddy is a little trooper, and despite being knocked over from the other cats bumping him while running past, someone petting him a little too hard, or a slight breeze going by, he has never seriously hurt himself. He’s fallen from the bed a couple of times, but he’s getting better at landing on his feet now!

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

Teddy is a perfect angel. He’s incredibly gentle and friendly. Out of the 3 cats we have, he’s the only one that uses the scratching post exclusively. The other 2 love to scratch the couch instead. He loves to sleep under the covers, and will always purr when you pick him up. He nuzzles my nose when I’m in bed to let me know that he wants to get under the covers and snuggle. He is the sweetest cat I have ever met. He is always such a happy guy. He will always cheer you up, no matter what.

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

I don’t clip his claws so he can use them to help get around. We bought him a little staircase so he could climb into our bed easier.

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

I always try to warn house guests to be careful around him. He likes to be picked up, but you can’t put him down like other kitties!

What do you think people need to know about CH?

People need to understand that just because a cat is “special needs” doesn’t mean it’s going to need ridiculous amounts of medical care, or that he or she will die sooner. When I told people the type of cat I wanted, they said things like “won’t that be expensive?” or “don’t you want a cat that will live longer?”. I was so upset by this misconception. Like I said before, my other cat Dance was returned to the shelter for his head tilt from vestibular disease. I think about poor Dance and Teddy, two wonderful cats, who were unwanted for such silly reasons, and it makes me so sad.

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

My least favorite thing is that I worry about him when I’m away from him. I know he’s safe in my home, but he’s my baby and I worry! My favorite part is watching him get stronger and overcoming obstacles.

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

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2012 6:12 am

    Lovely story! Brittney sounds a darling! Pretty please, will you ask Brittney for a blog about Vestibular disease, either for you or me [or we could both post to get that out and about]?

    • April 18, 2012 8:06 am

      Sure! I’ll email you both soon 🙂

  2. Rich Bergins permalink
    April 18, 2012 6:32 am

    I like your blog very much. I have enjoyed many articles you’ve wrote and find many of them very helpful. The story about Teddy was another good one!

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