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Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cats Should Not Be Euthanized

May 25, 2012

The other morning I woke up to this announcement:

Cuddles

“Brighton Michigan!!!! Another Cerebellar Hypoplasia Kitten where the vet thinks it should be put down!!!”

The plea was for a precious CH kitten named Cuddles. After her guardian, who was looking for a home for Cuddles, took her to the vet, the vet said that “usually they just put them down.”

That’s the type of thinking that we need to change among shelters, vets and the public. Unfortunately, I don’t think that reaction is entirely uncommon.  It certainly wasn’t several years ago, when very few people knew about the condition and most CH cats were euthanized.

Back then, and even today, when most people see a CH cat for the first time, they immediately think that it’s sick or injured. They don’t know enough to realize that the cat is neither, and the condition shouldn’t be a death sentence.

Consequently, dozens, if not hundreds, of people have worked to spread the word about cerebellar hypoplasia cats. Yes, they have special needs. No, they should not face death because of those differences. They make wonderful pets. They should not be euthanized.

Now, I’m not trying to be heartless.

I understand that some vets have limited (if any) knowledge about cerebellar hypoplasia. If they see a CH cat, they may worry about its quality of life or if it has other health issues.

Photo courtesy sj_sanders

(Granted, if cerebellar hypoplasia is one of many complications the kitten has, that’s another story. At that point, I would say the cat’s quality of life would have to be measured along with the efforts (and cost of those efforts) to save the cat.)

Plus, many shelters simply don’t have the capacity to take on special needs kittens, whether at the shelter itself or in a foster home. Even then it’s a risk to take them in — special needs cats are considered less adoptable.

But that’s no reason to end a cerebellar hypoplasia cat’s life. There are options. There always are.

Reach out to other shelters — do they know anything about this condition? Do they have the resources to help these kittens? Do research — today there are several blogs and online communities you can connect with. Are there organizations out there trying to inform people and help?

I realized these can be big steps to take for a little cat. Some may wonder, is it worth it?

Yes.

Here are just 10 of many reasons why someone should consider adopting a CH cat. Need more proof? Just read the stories of these 25+ readers (more coming!) who have adopted CH cats.

Ellie and CG

Need even MORE proof? This blog — it’s a testament to these special cats. My life’s an example of how these cats can change us in amazing ways, and I’m not the only one. Just take a look at Lizzie, founder of the CH Kitty Club Yahoo Group and CH Kitty Club website; Deb, who has devoted her life to helping CH cats find homes; Elise who has helped with all of these endeavors and created these wonderful education materials — and so many more.

There has to be some reason why we’re so devoted to these special cats. And I think it’s clear: They’re worth it.

So the next time you hear that a healthy cerebellar hypoplasia kitten may be put to sleep, please be a voice for the voiceless and explain why these cats make some of the best pets.

Want to learn more about these special cats and their condition? Start here.

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