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Reader: Do CH Cats Require More Medical Care Than Non CH Cats?

September 3, 2013

OK – it’s time for another reader question – and this one’s quite good.

The other day Ashley left this comment:

“The organization I volunteer for had someone drop off two kittens about three weeks ago. They were about three to four weeks old, infested with fleas, severely dehydrated and anemic. I nursed them back to health, and they are doing great now. One of them acts completely normal, but the other one has all of the symptoms of CH.

Photo courtesy Kara Reuter.

He is a great little guy, but my organization has deemed him un-adoptable because of this. I either have to find him a home or keep him myself. I wouldn’t mind keeping him myself, but my husband is the only one working right now and things are tight money-wise. My organization has offered to pay for the first years care (shots, neuter, microchip, etc.), but before I make a decision I need to know just how much medical expenses I’m looking at.

Do cats with CH require more medical care than cats without it? Do you know of any secondary problems associated with CH? Any other info you could give me would be great. Like I said, I would love to keep him, but money is tight, and I just have to convince my husband that keeping him wouldn’t break us.”

First of all, Ashley, thank you so much for wanting to give this little one a chance! I really respect your questions and situation, and I wish all adopters could be as thoughtful as you. Hopefully we can all provide some guidance.

Your first question, “Do cats with CH require more medical care than cats without it?”, is a tricky one to answer. My initial response is yes and no. Here’s why:

Medical care totally depends on the individual cat — no matter if it has CH or not. Some CH cats may require additional care (reasons to follow), but in general, they’re just like regular cats. They need to go in for regular checkups, etc. Unless they’re born with other health issues, they’ll live as long as normal cats.

That said, some CH cats may get into accidents that are caused by their CH, which likely wouldn’t happen if they didn’t have CH. I have two CH cats; one is more moderate and has experienced a number of CH-related accidents. The other has mild CH, and he’s never had a CH-related issue.

Photo courtesy Chuckumentary.

However, here’s the interesting thing — the little one who’s moderate and has gotten into several CH-related accidents: She’s never had to go to the vet for them. We had a chipped tooth looked at while at the vet once, but it was during a check-up. She’s also pulled out a nail (twice!), but thankfully, we watched it closely, and both times it healed just fine.

Yet the other who hasn’t had a single CH-related issue has quite a vet bill to his name. We’ve spent a great deal taking him to the vet and ER for issues completely unrelated to CH (swallowed a ribbon, urinary crystals). So again, I think it completely depends on the cat.

You also asked if there are any secondary problems related to CH — other than CH-related accidents, that’s about it.

I have heard of some CH cats who experience seizures. I think generally this is rare, but I did want to mention it just to give you a heads-up. Similarly, some CH cats may be born with other health problems. Again, this totally depends on the cat, and those problems may likely be diagnosed along with the CH.

Some CH cat parents have looked into pet insurance for their cat. The last time I checked, many companies wouldn’t cover CH cats because cerebellar hypoplasia is listed as a congenital condition. Some pet insurance companies may cover your cat, but they may not cover any issue that may be attributed to the cerebellar hypoplasia — the main reason why CH cat parents have looked into insurance.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a crystal ball that can tell us about a cat’s future, so I think no matter what, there’s no guarantee.

While I’d love to think that you and your husband would adopt this little one, I completely understand your situation, and I think it’s very wise to discuss this carefully.

If you’d like to find a home for the little one, this post may help. Best of luck!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cari van Deijzen permalink
    September 3, 2013 12:36 pm

    Bumper, my CH cat, is now 6 years old. You never can tell how healthy a cat will be during his life, wether it has CH or not, but a CH cat does have a greater risk of getting hurt, I think. Bumper sometimes does things that scare the hell out of me (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrlZXv3xEtA or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BabY3Z5L06w) but he never got himself really injured (only one of his canines has broken off)
    Apart from his CH he is a very strong and healthy cat.

  2. Ashley permalink
    September 3, 2013 4:19 pm

    thank you so much. i have already posted my little guy on that facebook page just in case we decide that we cant keep him.

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