Meet Chairman Mao
Chairman’s story truly reads like a fairy tale. Once surrounded by screaming kids, he was rescued and adopted by a family who now pampers him — along with the help of several “kitty mommas.” This moderate CH cat’s story is not one to be missed. Here’s how pet parent Dannielle tells it:
We sorta picked up Chairman by accident. We were in the process of finding a home for another cat we had, who really needed a bigger place to roam with other kitties. We went through Craigslist, and I was looking at the ads for cats that needed homes. I’ve always fostered cats; it seems natural to me even if it’s transitional for them.
Chairman stood out like a gangly little sore thumb. “Disabled kitty needs home”. Hmm, OK, I’ll bite. I clicked and read. The first thing I saw was a tiny picture of an even tinier black cat, huddled in a corner, legs splayed like a broken chair. I had to see what he was about.
The ad mentioned he was disabled, and the lady was desperate to get rid of him. I convinced my husband after much research that we had to take him. I had talked to the lady and she said no one else had even replied; she’d been posting for weeks. Everyone was scared off by his disability.
So, we drove over there with a carrier, not truly knowing what to expect.
It was a tiny, filthy apartment, full of kids. The cat’s box was a mess on the floor and he was hiding under some blankets from the children. When I pulled him out, I knew I would never be able to let go of the little guy.
He was so skinny, and trembled constantly. I wanted to leave and take him somewhere warm and safe. The poor guy was terrified of the kids running around screaming and chasing him all the time.
I put him in the carrier and we left. I had him on my lap the way home and it was dark. Turns out he was a little afraid of the dark; we figured out his night vision wasn’t so good. The first night, he slept on the bed with us.
So, fast forward to now: He’s nearly 5 and put on 4 lbs. and his strength is gaining with each week. He no longer fears people or the dark, and he has several ‘kitty mommas’ that spoil him rotten, honestly.
How severe is his CH?
Moderate severity. He has adapted very well to it though, and it’s improved over the years with good food and exercise.
Limitations? Not if you ask him. He can only jump about a foot and a half.
How does he manage the litter box? Eating and drinking? Do you do anything special to help?
Sometimes he sways a bit in the litter box, but he’s figured out he can put his paws on the ledge to steady himself, but he feels better when we’re close just in case we need to hold him while he goes!
We have an old baking tray/cookie sheet under his food bowl to catch the mess, and stop the food bowl from travelling around the apartment. He has a big bucket-like water fountain that’s damn near impossible for a cat to knock over — it’s much easier for him, and he can lean on it.
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.
He does funny stuff constantly. Like when my husband comes home, he’ll yell his face off (because he wants to be picked up), but he doesn’t like the floor around the entrance and going too far from his mat, so he’ll get frustrated and huffy, and stomp around in circles til he comes to him.
Has he ever hurt herself because of his CH?
He’s hurt himself once; he bruised his breastbone on the side of the bed.
Each animal is special in his own way. How is he special?
He’s special because he’s the Chairman! I am a photographer, and thus, get models and other assorted people coming over a lot. I think he’s more popular than me now. He LOVES people, and will holler his face off to be centre of attention. Which usually happens anyway.
Have you found ways to help him with CH? How?
We actually sorta force him to deal with things himself on a reasonable level — he’s gained a lot more strength in his back legs that way. Our floors are wood, so we put around “safe mats” for him. We give him safe routes to run around in, but it’s not super easy so he gets some exercise. Otherwise we pretty much treat him like a normal cat.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other CH parents?
Patience, so much of it. I figure if I don’t get grossed out by holding him when he poops, kids will be easier! And you cannot expect them to act like normal cats. They will show you what they need, you just need to be patient with them.
You can also find the Chairman on Facebook!