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Reader: My Cat Has CH-Like Characteristics That Come & Go

August 29, 2012

The other day Jo reached out to me about her 1 1/2-year-old cat, Sargent. When he was 4-months-old he started having episodes where he’d display characteristics like cerebellar hypoplasia: wobbly walking, general ataxia.

What’s bizarre about this is that his episodes have come and gone. While we know that there are other conditions and reasons that may cause a cat to be unsteady, this one is a bit of a mystery to me. So we thought we’d share Sargent’s story, in case one of you may have come across something similar.

According to Jo:

“As the months went by the ‘episodes’ became more frequent and more pronounced. Our vet performed every test in the book, noting unusual levels of glucose and protein in the urine, but not unusual enough to indicate anything specific.

“We took him to the Queen Mother Veterinary Hospital, where we were passed back and forth between Internal Medicine, who originally thought it was a problem with his kidneys (Fancconi Syndrome) although blood tests and ultrasounds ruled this out, and Neurology.

“Neurology said that apart from these episodes he showed no signs of a problem with his brain, however they could not make a diagnosis without an MRI scan. This was going to cost thousands of pounds, and they told me that it was unlikely they could fix whatever was wrong with him, so we took him home.”

After that, Jo says the episodes stopped, although he remained clumsy. A few months later, the symptoms returned permanently. Currently Sargent is coping, so they’ve decided let him be.

The concern returned recently when he started having incontinence issues, and his wobbles have worsened a bit. Jo’s in the middle of finding another vet to take him to, but she’s afraid that he’ll go through another round of distressing and expensive tests without learning anything new.

We’re hoping that the incontinence issue is something easy to take care of and unrelated to the other symptoms. As some of us have learned, stress can make our CH cats even less coordinated, so hopefully the stress of this health issue is what’s aggravating the symptoms.

But as for the condition, it’s a mystery.

Have you had a cat who had CH-like symptoms? Has your cat ever experienced anything like this? Please share in the comments. 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2012 6:05 am

    I had a cat who had odd episodes, not as pronounced, but with the sudden loss of continence and falling. The vet couldn’t find anything to explain it but she died suddenly of a brain aneurism at the age of 14 and the vet said that whatever caused that could have caused the other episodes through her life, and there would have been nothing they could have done to relieve it, at least not back then. I’m afraid I was taking less notice than I could have done; she was brain dead when we got her to the vet and it was my birthday. MRI is viciously expensive and no guarantee that even if they find anything that it can be fixed. I’d advise loving him to bits, use bicarbonate of soda where he has accidents and not stress him out with too much poking about.

  2. February 24, 2023 1:07 pm

    My cat has the same – he has CH-like balance issues and pronounced head shakes, that seem to come and go. He’s just turned 1 years old. He’s had two bad episodes… first episode lasted about 6 weeks and we’re currently in the midst of a second episode. After the first episode he was perfectly normal for about two months. All tests run by the Vet came back clear (although we never did an MRI).

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