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Two Pet Parents Share Stories About Their Cerebellar Abiotrophy Cats

December 16, 2013

As some of you have learned first hand, sometimes it’s cerebellar hypoplasia, sometimes it’s not. While I obviously focus on CH on this blog, I think it’s equally important to share what I find about similar conditions, in case it can be helpful to any of you.

Photo courtesy zaimoku_woodpile.

Today I wanted to share two stories I found on Facebook about cats with cerebellar abiotrophy. CA cats are sometimes confused as CH cats since they have similar mobility issues. Unlike CH, which is a condition that is present at birth, CA is a condition that develops after a cat is born; it is usually noticeable by 6 months of age.

Here are their stories:

As a kitten, Jonathan’s cat was just like any other goofy kitten who would run, jump and climb. When the kitten was a few months old, some of Jonathan’s relatives mentioned that they thought the cat was walking oddly. About a year after that observation, Jonathan said that his cat is now more like a moderate CH cat.

For the past couple of months, Jonathan said their cat’s condition has stabilized. Since CA in cats is rare, vets may not be familiar with it. Consequently, Jonathan has found others with CA cats to learn more about the condition through their experiences.

Karin also told the group about her CA cat, Tipsy. Here’s Tipsy’s story:

“I had a very mild CH cat in the past, so I didn’t notice the walk was much different. I have two CH foster kittens now, and I definitely see a difference in the walk! Tipsy is slow and kind of glides. Sometimes he gets a little burst and “runs,” but only stays upright about 6-8 feet. He was born normal, started showing symptoms about 6 weeks, then stabilized about 4 months of age. The first year or so, he would get frustrated when he fell or couldn’t play like other cats.

He’s five now and just happy to be around us. He would slide off our very tall bed, so we built him a ramp. He uses it all the time. We have a small ramp for the sofa. Every few months, he would surprise us with something new he figured out how to do, like get on the second level of the cat tree which is about 18″ off the floor. … I think Tipsy has adapted as much as possible. He has a loose knee now, but not enough to cause him pain and not bad enough to surgically repair (yet?).”

Have you met a CA cat? Do you have anything to share? Please tell us in the comments!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2013 9:28 am

    My 5 year-old rescue cat, Elvis, was diagnosed with CA on CT scan a couple of years ago. I had adopted him at the age of 10 months, and apart from having one eye and being a cat flu carrier, he was absolutely fine. His CA symptoms were first triggered when he was coming round from a dental procedure. He was slow to recover and became increasingly ‘wobbly’. As there was no cure, no treatment and very little information available, I assumed he would deteriorate until his quality of life became too low. However, he appears to have levelled out and has not shown any signs of worsening for some time now. Although unable to walk because his hind legs can’t support him, he can occasionally bring himself to standing for a few seconds. He can also get himself to the litter tray, using his front legs and torso to drag himself to it. He rarely gets frustrated and, like Tipsy above, has adapted to his circumstances. Elvis constantly amazes me with his stoicism, his zest for life, his healthy appetite for food and his many requests for cuddles!

    • December 26, 2013 2:14 pm

      Hi Faith,
      Thanks so much for sharing about Elvis! As little known as CH is, I’ve learned that CA is even less known. I’m so glad that you’ve given him a safe and happy home, and I’m so happy that he’s doing a little better!

    • December 27, 2013 3:59 am

      Hi Amanda,
      Thank you so much for your lovely reply to my post – it means a lot. I love Elvis so much but he can be challenging at times. I found it really therapeutic to be able to write a post that maybe others would read – although I didn’t expect anyone to reply! So thank you again, and season’s greetings to you.

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