How did you adopt Arthur?
Arthur was brought into a clinic I was working at when he was 6 weeks old. Someone had found him outside. He could not walk. We weren’t sure at the time if it was CH, rabies, head trauma or a spinal injury. We kept him at the hospital for 10 days to rule out rabies.
Slowly he got stronger. His front legs started to work pretty quickly once he was fed and hydrated. He would pull himself into the litter box and lay on his side to do his business. He is a real fighter. He wanted to live and I knew I had to keep him. As he got healthier everything was eliminated except for CH. He came home with me and slept in a ferret cage (while I slept) until he was able to start using his back legs. For the first 6 months of his life he traveled with me everywhere I went. By then he was getting around well enough to be left at home.
How severe do you consider his CH to be?
It was pretty severe. I had 3 other cats at the time (all non CH cats). Like I said Arthur is a fighter and as a kitten — fearless. I think he wanted to emulate the other cats. He loves to play and pretty quickly learned to climb and jump. So it improved greatly over the first year. I know lots of people with CH cats that can’t jump at all. At age two he began to have what we thought were seizures. We were treating those for a couple of years.
What is he able to do?
He can climb and jump. Over Christmas he got very sick. It turned out to be pancreatitis but in the process we discovered that he had gone blind. He went to a neurologist. I had been putting it off for years because I couldn’t afford the MRI that I was sure the doctor was going to recommend. I thought MRI would be needed to find the cause of the seizures. But once he went blind, I need to find out what was going on.
The neurologist confirmed he was blind and recommended we see an eye specialist to find out if the loss of sight was degenerative or something being caused by the CH. The then had me describe Arthur’s seizures to him, he arches his back and his front legs are stiff out in front of him. The doctor then informed me that they are not seizures at all but Cerebellar episodes. He also informed that no MRI would be necessary unless the blindness was not degenerative (which it was). So yippee, no MRI needed.
I only went into such detail because I know these symptoms happen a lot with CH cats and it is usually chalked up to seizures. He is on completely different meds now and the episodes have improved greatly. We had to wean him off the seizure medications. Lesson learned – don’t be afraid to see a specialist it has saved me a fortune and my cat is doing better.
Do you have any stories related to his CH?
Yes, he jumps like a wild man even now that he is blind. Fearless I tell you.
Has he ever hurt himself because of his CH?
Yes, he jumps like a wild man. He falls a lot. But there is no stopping him. When he was younger he would climb to the top of a 5-foot cat tree and sometimes fall off. I am just grateful he never seriously hurt himself.
Every kitty is special in his or her own way. How is Arthur special?
Fearless, he never lets any off his issues stop him from doing what he wants to do. Not a single person that has met him hasn’t fallen madly in love with him. He greets everyone that comes to my home with his little bobble head. He wants to be where the action is.
Just try and catch him when he falls, the occasional bath, lots of love and let him be him.
What do you think people need to know about CH?
They are the most amazing cats and you will never regret owning one. He makes me laugh every day.
What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about CH?
Least favorite – the occasional poop clean up/bath (it is a small price to pay to be Arthur’s mom). Favorite –Everything else.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other CH parents?
You are amazing for taking in a special needs cat and love them every minute you have them.