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Your “Normal” & Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cats: How Do They Interact?

May 8, 2013

I love visiting the Facebook CH Cats & Kittens page, because there are always great conversations going on. A while back, Caryl prompted a great one by asking:

“Do other people find that their able-bodied cats are scared of their CH cat? My other cats are scared and hiss and spit at her… Thankfully she is feisty and sticks up for herself!”

The responses were all very interesting and varied – just like our cats themselves. In the end, it really seems that the cats’ personalities will dictate the relationship, which seems to fall into one of a few categories:

Doting & Helping

Photo courtesy The Pondering Moose.

In some households, it sounds like the non-CHers are open, accepting, and perhaps most interestingly, protective and/or considerate to the CH cat’s needs.

Perhaps Danita put it best:

“I have four cats total, but Penney is my only CH kitty. They actually seem to sense her needs. When one of the boys plays with her he is gentle, and my other boy will snuggle with her. My fourth is a female and surprisingly enough she is very tolerant of Penney. Normally she would not be with another female cat.”

And that sort of testimony doesn’t end there. Several other CH cat pet parents shared similar stories.

Megan said her non-CH cat likes to dote on her severely disabled kitty and is always by his side. Similarly, Paula said her male kitten looks after her female CH kitten and is always grooming and helping her. How cute!

Christina has two non-CH cats who are about the same age as their CH kitty, and she says they all adore each other. “We find the boys playing and cuddling on the bed bathing each other,” she said.

In all of this, it’s interesting to see how our cats take the initiative in the relationship.

Hannah shared this story:

“I had trouble finding a friend for my oldest cat, who is nearly blind and walks funny. Foster cats were scared of him. Then I fell for a kitten my parents were fostering. I brought her home, and they bonded well. It was that same, precious girl who, a year later, decided my newest foster, CH kitten Flip, had to stay with us forever. Now I have three cats.”

Limited, If Any, Interaction

Meanwhile, Helen says her four “normal” cats don’t interact with her CH kitten at all. It’s her guess that her kitten’s  jerky movements seem threatening in some way to them. She says only little foster kittens will plan with him.

And there maybe something to that. When my CG and Ellie first met, it was very interesting because they acted as if they couldn’t understand why the other one was wobbling! I posted on it here, but there could be something to the idea that some cats simply seem unsure around wobbly cats.

CHers Claim Dominance

Buster (left) and Shakey (right).

Buster (left) and Shakey (right).

And some homes, CHers are the alpha cats.

In the home of Deb Martin, CH cat adoption specialist extraordinaire, it’s clear that CH cat Shakey is the top cat when she shows non-CHer Buster who’s boss! You can find a video of their interaction here.

Shakey isn’t the only top cat around here. Lorene also chimed in saying, “My CH cat Buddy is definitely the boss cat!”

And then sometimes it isn’t so much about being the top cat in the household as standing up for oneself.

Caryl and Laurie said that their CH kitties will definitely stick up for themselves if the others try to hassle them – as they should!

Dori has a great story too: “My cranky older kitty is not very social, so she does get freaked out by the kitties. She does hiss and smack at times, but nothing to hurt them. The kitties have started chasing her back now! It’s hilarious to see such a wobbly thing rev up and ‘run’ to get the other kitty! They are tough lil’ buggers!”

And yet some relationships are definitely different in their own ways.

Relationships In Transition?

Melissa said two of her four non-CH cats don’t like to be around her CHer. She said the other two will tolerate being around her, and will nap on the same bed or couch cushion, but the feeling isn’t mutual among all of the cats. Hopefully the two friendly ones will soon convince the others that they have nothing to worry about!

Georgia shared a similar situation. She said their “original” non-CH cats originally shunned their CH kitten, but he seems to be growing on them now. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll become good buddies.

Interestingly, Tam said that they’ve their CH cats to be the hissers. “lt took two years for one to accept feline friendship, and about two months for another. The second is still a little hissy. Patience is a virtue.”

So what are the relationships like in your household? Is your CHer doted on? Or do the “normal” cats avoid her? Perhaps she’s top cat? Please share in the comments!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2013 8:44 am

    My CH kitty had us all to himself in Afghanistan but then we brought him back to the US and our other cat. I had noticed Poppie, the CH kitty, would be very territorial if another cat came in our garden in Kabul, which did not bode well. Sure enough, it took awhile for Poppie and Ficho, our non-CH cat, to get along. Ficho wanted a playmate and he was bigger but Poppie was not interested. Now they tolerate each other but do get into some play fights. Ficho will lick Poppie’s head and they will sleep near each other. Ficho does occasionally give Poppie a hip check and knock him over as he walks by. Ficho tolerates Poppie trying to get his food, which amazes me. No hugs and cuddling in this relationship, though.

  2. May 9, 2013 9:07 am

    I have three cats – 2 “normal” kitties (Delilah and Sampson) and 1 CH kitty (Sophie). Sampson took to Sophie right away and does help her out by bathing her. Sophie will just be lying around, and Sampson will pin her down and give her a bath, regardless of whether Sophie wants one or not. She will struggle against him at first, but eventually gives in and just lies there submissively. It’s pretty funny. It’s like Sampson is saying, “I don’t care if you want this bath or not, you’re not doing a good enough job yourself and I think you need one NOW!” Then they will cuddle and wrestle and play together all day.
    Delilah didn’t like Sophie at first – I think her wobbliness made Delilah nervous. Delilah would hiss at Sophie if she ever came near her. She wouldn’t ever hurt her or attack her or anything, she just didn’t want Sophie coming too close to her. Sophie doesn’t seem to mind though. She just ignores Delilah’s protests, and tries to play with her all the time. Because Sophie never gave up on trying to play with Delilah, over the past few months, Delilah has warmed up to her. She is still hesitant at times, but we have seen Delilah try to start play time with Sophie before. I think it’s only a matter of time before the two of them are best friends too. Patience is important for sure!

  3. natsera permalink
    May 9, 2013 2:18 pm

    I have 8 cats — didn’t intend to go past 7, but Dimity Jane needed a home. Her best friend is my 14-year-old Katami, who cuddles with her and licks her and mothers her. And her playmate is 6-year-old Kal, who will tussle with her and knock her over, but she just gets right back up again and asks for more. The other cats just kind of ignore her — they’re not at all bothered by her, but they’re really not interested. But as you know, cat dynamics can change over the years, so it will be interesting to see what happens! 🙂

  4. May 22, 2013 12:33 pm

    My CH kitty Mister Wobbles (9 lbs) is absolute best friends with our savannah cat Titan (19 lbs)! It’s the craziest relationship, we definitely weren’t expecting it. Titan definitely knows Mister Wobbles’ needs and that he is special and cannot walk normally. When Titan plays with him, he gets down low to the ground (he is so tall, Mister Wobbles could probably walk under him)! He plays with Mister Wobbles in a different way than he plays with the other non-CH cats. It’s the cutest thing. We noticed immediately when they met that Titan knew Mister Wobbles was “different” and he adapted with a playing style that worked for him. Amazing.

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