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Meet Harvey

October 18, 2012

When Carmen first adopted Harvey, she didn’t know he had CH. After realizing there was something a bit different about her kitten, the vet confirmed it: Harvey has moderate CH. But that doesn’t stop him, and it doesn’t stop Carmen from loving him! Now Harvey’s more than 1-year-old, and quite the companion. Find out more:

How did you find out about your CH cat? Did you know anything about cerebellar hypoplasia prior to adopting? How severe is his CH?

My friend found a homeless, pregnant cat and took her in and cared for her. Harvey was one of the six in her litter. I drove to Oregon (two states away from my home in Nevada) TWICE before I was able to take Harvey home with me. It wasn’t until the second time I visited Oregon and got him home that I realized there was something going on with him. I thought he was just learning how to walk and was a clumsy kitten. I had never heard of CH before and was really worried once I realized there may be something wrong with him.

After hours and hours of research, I came across CH and brought him into the vet the very next morning. The vet was able to confirm his CH and give me some more information regarding it. I would say Harvey is moderate CH.

Does he have any limitations?

He cannot jump at all. Every once in a while he will get a wild hair and try to leap at me but always falls.

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

We are still working on managing the litter box. He likes to put his head and front paws in the litter box and leave everything else on the outside. We use puppy pads and a litter mat that help with the mess. Every once in a while he will pee on the carpet,  and we are working hard at breaking that habit.

Harvey does not have any problems eating or drinking. I found him the neater feeder dish about a year ago and it has been a saving grace. It’s a nice big, sturdy bowl and any spilled water strains through to the bottom and any spilled food sits on top and there is virtually no mess.

He has the common head bob/tremor that is really noticeable when he eats/drinks. Sometimes he bobs his head too much into the water bowl and scares himself, which causes him to jump and fall. Poor guy!

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.

Harvey LOVES water. I think he is so comfortable with it because as a baby, I constantly gave him baths (he had some severe tummy issues when I first brought him home). If he happens to be in the bathroom while the shower is on, he will crawl under the shower curtain and crawl into the shower with me.

Has he ever hurt herself because of his CH?

Luckily, he has never seriously hurt himself. He is still a young kitten and full of energy so sometimes when he gets going, he will run right into a wall or a piece of furniture, and I’m sure that must be painful.

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

Harvey is such a lover. He has to be the most loyal house cat in the world. He is constantly at my side. If I get up and go to another room, he will make his way there too (no matter how difficult it is for him to get there).

He loves to cuddle, too. He sleeps in a nice, fluffy bed on the floor (for his own safety of not falling off the bed), and every morning he will wake up (right before my alarm goes off) and make lots of noise (he is Siamese, so he’s very vocal) until I pick him up and cuddle him.

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

I made the decision to have Harvey declawed. I know it’s a very controversial subject and there are a lot of opposing views on it, especially in terms of CH cats. My vet told me that he needs his claws more than most typical house cats for balance. However, I found that they made him fall more when walking on the carpet. He would constant get stuck and fall, or lunge forward right into the wall. He also would army crawl on my couches or bed and end up walking right off the edge (he has very poor depth perception) and getting hurt. I was worried that one day he would get seriously injured. He is doing great since being declawed (about 6 months ago).

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

Patience, Patience, Patience. And never give up on them. Be patient, do your research and be willing to try different things, if needed.

What do you think people need to know about CH?

That they are not miserable or suffering. I can’t tell you how many people look at me like I am holding him against his will and causing him to live a painful life. CH cats are no different, in terms of happiness and health, than your typical house cat. They also deserve a safe, loving home and should not just be given up on.

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

I LOVE telling people about his CH and spreading the word. Most people have never heard of such a thing, nor do they expect to see a cat with a disability. So it’s great being able to spread the word.

And his CH just adds so much to him. I can’t even imagine what he would be like without the CH. Every day he makes me smile. Whether it’s his loyalty to me, something funny he does, or just watching him try so hard and never giving up.

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

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rich B permalink
    October 19, 2012 8:46 am

    Harvey sounds like a great cat! My CH cat is very loyal too, she follows me around or looks for me. So funny how Harvey likes sneaking into the shower!

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