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CH Topics & Tips

Life’s a learning experience. No matter if you’ve never heard of CH, or if you’ve been around them for decades, there’s always something to learn.* Here are some of the most commonly discussed topics; you can find the full range in the tag cloud on the ride side of the blog.

The Basics

Cerebellar Hypoplasia 101: Click here to learn about this condition’s causes, characteristics and more.

Degrees of CH: Some cats may be only slightly affected, others are never able to walk. Consequently, CH kitties have different needs when it comes to getting where they need to go. This topic covers how CH kitties get around. Click here to learn more about the mild, moderate and severe characteristics of cerebellar hypoplasia.

Claws: You suddenly don’t mind them when you realize they’re vital to your cat’s mobility. Find out why a CH cat’s claws are important.

Head Tremors: They may be a part of life, but you don’t need to worry. Learn more about why CH kitties have a “bobble head.”

Around the House

There are ways to make a home safe for any pet, but some CH cats require special consideration.

Carpet: Who knew it’d become your CH cat’s best friend? Here are some tips about how it can change your cat’s life.

Stairs: You’ll never look at stairs the same way after adopting a cat with CH. For some they’re a source of pain, for others a source of pride. Here’s what you should know about stairs safety.

The Day-to-Day

For most normal cats, the day-to-day routine can become mundane. However, the most basic daily essentials can be complicated with CH. Here’s how you can help.

Eating and Drinking: Pecking (because of head tremors) for kibble, spilling over the water bowl and general messes are all a part of life. No big deal. Check out some lessons learned.

Litter Box: For some people, it’s a gross topic. For CH cat moms and dads, it’s just another challenge (and sometimes accomplishment!). Check out these litter box tips.

Exercise & Playing: Pretty much a no brainer, but these tips have a CH twist.

Everyday Health: Since CH kitties are a bit different, check out the special health-related issues you should keep in mind.

Videos: CH severity ranges; watch how it impacts each cat differently.

*Here you’ll find many of the topics that we’ll be covering on this site. Please remember that this is not professional advice, rather personal best practices we’ve come up with from living with our CH cats. Every person’s CH kitty’s needs and abilities are different, so please consider this information accordingly. However, since I’d like to be as helpful as possible, if you have any tips or tricks you’ve learned from living with your CH pet, please contact me!

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38 Comments leave one →
  1. Lauren Cooper permalink
    May 2, 2012 1:10 am

    Does anyone else notice their CH kitty twitching a lot while they sleep? I just got a 10 month old CH boy from a local shelter and when I’ve cuddled with him and he’s fallen asleep, I’ve noticed him twitching intensely. In a “normal” cat I would just shrug it off as dreaming, but I just wanted to make sure that that was all it was. He’s my first CH baby and I’ve only had him for a few weeks so I’m still in paranoid mommy mode. Can someone help calm my nerves and let me know if this is normal?

    • May 2, 2012 7:52 am

      Hi Lauren,
      Welcome and thanks for asking! My first thought is that it’s just dreaming, but I’ll see if I can learn anything more about it, and post on it soon. Hopefully other readers will be able to provide some feedback too!
      What’s his name? He sounds precious!

  2. Lauren Cooper permalink
    May 2, 2012 12:42 pm

    His name is Riley because I wanted a special name for a special cat and Riley means “courageous” so it seemed to fit. My step-mom volunteers at North Shore Animal League, a no kill shelter near me and she met him and felt he was perfect for me. My whole family has their share of challenges and so she said he was “the perfect misfit for a family of misfits”.

    He is a total mush and I love it. He loves to be cuddled and held like a baby which is exactly what I was looking for in a cat. And his little wobbles and tumbles just make him that much cuter. And I love his little “bobble head” when he’s watching a toy that you’re gonna throw or when he’s getting ready to pounce. I affectionately call him my little spazz cat because that’s what he is. And I’ll be the first one to admit that I am definitely somewhat of a spazz myself, frequently bumping into things and tripping over nothing.

    And he’s quite the little ladies man. Even though he is fixed, he loves to flirt with female strays that I feed on my patio. He does this through the the glass of my sliding glass door because he is an indoor cat, but it’s still funny to watch. However, if a male stray shows up, his tune changes completely. He puffs up and starts hissing and making demonic growling sounds at them through the glass. I’m in the process of training him to understand that the boys are my friends too. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

    He definitely seems to be much less affected than some of the cats I’ve read about on here, but he definitely has his difficulties with certain things. But I love him nonetheless and maybe even a bit more because of his differences. He is definitely a special cat.

  3. Lauren Cooper permalink
    May 9, 2012 10:20 pm

    Does anyone else experience the phenomenon of the “silent meow” with their CH kitty? Riley is normally a very vocal cat but when I was holding him earlier, he was purring like crazy and ended up having an entire “silent meow conversation” with me. He must have done it like 10 times. He’s done it before on occasion, but this was definitely more frequent than usual. I was wondering if there was any possible CH connection to the frequency or if this was just a “normal cat thing”. I did a google search and just came up with a bunch of stories from “normal” cat owners, so I thought I’d breech the subject with the CH community and see if anyone had an opinion. I’m still new to the whole CH thing, having had my boy for less than a month, so I still press the panic button for little things. Just wanted some feedback.

    • May 10, 2012 8:46 am

      How funny! I’ve seen CG do it a number of times. From what I’ve read it’s just a meow at a pitch we can’t hear — what did you read? It may be another sign of how much he loves you, haha. Maybe he thinks you’re his mama cat and thinks you *should* be able to hear him 🙂

    • Natalia permalink
      June 23, 2015 3:06 am

      Our Tiny always does “silent maw” 🙂 He usually come to us when we watching TV, sit on my or my husband’s lap and “talks”. We call it “fish talk” 🙂

  4. Lauren Cooper permalink
    June 27, 2012 1:34 am

    A couple of quick questions that have been on my mind lately: Do any of the CH cats you’ve encountered experience any “tic” type behaviors? Riley is constantly scratching but the vet has never been able to find any reason for it. There’s no rash, no fleas, no lesions, nothing. And despite my less then frequent grooming (which I promise to try to do more frequently no matter how much he fights me) he has only had 2 hairballs in the 2 months that I’ve had him. Someone suggested the possibility that it may be neurological and dermatological, so I thought I’d run it by you. Also, his skin has been twitching recently. Like, you know when you see a horse’s skin twitch when flies are biting it? That’s what I mean. I’m trying to switch him to a more natural diet in case there’s a possible food allergy, but from what I’ve read, most food allergies cause some sort of visible skin reaction so I’m at a loss. Any thoughts on either or both of these questions would be appreciated.

    • June 27, 2012 8:06 am

      Hi Lauren,
      Unfortunately, I don’t think I can be of much help with these issues, but I do have some questions. Does he scratch the same place? Or all over? How long has this been going on? And I wouldn’t worry about hairballs necessarily, most cats can pass the hair without a problem.

      As for the skin twitch, I know what you mean. How long has that been going on for? Does it happen just once at a time? Or is it a series?

      I wonder if it would be of value to get a second opinion about these issues. Feel free to also post about this in the Yahoo CH Kitty Club group, if you haven’t already, and if you’d like, I could certainly bring it up on my blog, too. Just let me know.

  5. danie permalink
    August 27, 2012 9:27 pm

    Hi, I’m adopting a CH kitten and would like to know if it’s safe for me to bring her into my home with my 3yr old dog. My dog is very sweet but very jealous. I know she won’t try to hurt him but she will go after him out of curiosity and I’m worried this will scare the kitten since he can’t run and hide like a normal cat will. I also work during the day and would like some in info on how I should go about that……do I separate them? I’m worried about keeping my CH kitten cooped up in a room bc I fear he will get hurt but I don’t want my dog to bother him all day and be to rough with him. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    • August 28, 2012 8:02 am

      Hi Danie,
      There are entire books written on this topic, but I’ll try to give you a few quick tips. 🙂 First, you’ll want to make sure that your kitten has a safe place she can stay during her first few days and while you’re away during the day. This will be her “safe” room, where you can have her litter box, food and water, etc. You’ll want to keep her in that room for the first few days so she can get acclimated to your home and the smells. Similarly, it’ll allow your dog to get used to her.

      Introduce your cat and dog very slowly, as you would with any new pets. Allow them to sniff at one another through the door, and eventually allow them to meet face-to-face. This may take several days depending on how they react to one another. You’ll be able to find a great deal on this topic online. Eventually you can see how they act together while you’re home, but until you’re 100% comfortable with them being around together alone, I would suggest putting your cat in her safe room every time you leave or can’t supervise.

      As for your kitten’s safety, only you know your dog’s temperament, as well as the ability of your CH cat. I’d suggest taking both into consideration and making allowances for each.

      Thanks for the question, I’ll try to post more about this on the blog soon. Good luck!

    • August 28, 2012 8:04 am

      Here are some links that may help:
      – Preparing your home for a CH cat: http://bit.ly/SN15ri
      – Introducing a new cat to a resident dog: http://bit.ly/NTPt6y, http://bit.ly/2Kz4Zu

    • danie permalink
      August 28, 2012 1:19 pm

      Thanks so much for that info 🙂 I appreciate it greatly

    • danie permalink
      August 28, 2012 2:09 pm

      I just read through the links you suggested….super helpful! Thank you! I’m extremely excited to bring this little guy into my home. Also I was so happy to learn more about CH….I never knew it even existed. I think it’s wonderful that so many people take the time to give these little angels a chance at happy, normal lives and not just have them put down because they might be different. When I saw the litter of kittens that my little guy came from I noticed right away that he was special and he had me by the heartstrings right then and there 🙂 I immediately started researching about CH to learn more about his condition and I’m so glad I came acrid your site. Jack (what his name will be) is still too young to leave the litter but it gives me time to prepare my home and educate myself further more on what I will have to do for him. Thank you again 🙂

    • August 28, 2012 2:20 pm

      You’re so welcome! Your question is fantastic — and I hope to write a bit on these topics soon. I’m glad to hear that you’ve opened your heart and home to little Jack. When can you bring him home? I hope you’ll share with us some of your stories once he’s living with you!

    • danie permalink
      August 28, 2012 2:33 pm

      🙂 he’s only four Weeks old right now….I’m pretty sure they have to be at least eight to nine Weeks to be separated from their mother. But that gives me the perfect amount of time to get everything I need for him. I will absolutely share his progress and mine on here!! Thank you so much for this site and educating people on CH cats 🙂

  6. AuntThelma permalink
    February 1, 2013 11:32 am

    My CH kitten (9 months old) doesn’t seem interested in playing. Her twin sister loves to play and already, after two weeks, has favorite games she asks to play. I can’t get Bunny (my CH baby) interested in mousies, balls or string on a pole. Is she just scared? (She is very timid.) Or is she afraid of falling down? Or is she just not athletic?

    Has anyone else seen this, or is it simply Bunny’s personality?

    • February 1, 2013 11:36 am

      Hi! I’m sorry to hear this. You mentioned the other day that she didn’t want to come out from under the bed, so maybe she’s still just scared. I’d say give her more time (maybe a few treats!) and be patient. She may also be a low-key cat, but I’m sure you’ll find something sooner or later that will pique her interest. Good luck and keep us posted!
      PS, maybe these links will give you a few toy ideas!
      https://lifewithchcats.com/tag/toys/

  7. AuntThelma permalink
    February 1, 2013 11:50 am

    Thanks. I was just reading your poll about whether CH cats are more timid. I had a very healthy Siamese who hated strangers and ran when she heard a noise. So why should I expect more from my new white kitty?
    I think Bunny is just Bunny and we’ll keep up the therapy until we can get her comfortable. It’s cute to watch her sister check up on her when my husband reaches under the bed to pet her.
    She has come out from under the bed three times in the past two days. All three times, it has been dark in the room. We just pet her and let her purr and let her tell us what she wants.
    She wants to be part of the family, but she’s so scared.

    • February 1, 2013 11:55 am

      I think that’s a good start. She may certainly be more timid and insecure, especially with her wobbles! But it sounds like she’s making progress already.

      If it makes you feel any better, as a child my family adopted a black cat that some friends found. (We already had two cats.) For the longest time the three cats wouldn’t get along (and she was terrified of EVERYTHING), so she lived in my bedroom for nearly a year. After that, she slowly explored the house and got to know the other cats, but it took YEARS before they could all be in the same room together 🙂 That said, when you were alone with her, she was the happiest cat in the world. She just had a tough time adjusting.

  8. cori permalink
    April 19, 2013 3:07 am

    hi my kitten was able to get around just fine for his first few months but just in the last week he is complelty imobile cannot walk at all and has a loss of apetite what do i do

    • April 19, 2013 6:25 am

      Hi Cori,
      Please take your cat to the vet immediately! Describe how things have changed over the past few weeks; he’ll be able to do a full exam and find out exactly what is going on. Good luck!

  9. Erin permalink
    June 10, 2013 9:34 am

    Hi, I just got a 10 week old CH kitten from someone that found him outside. He’s the perfect cat except for the fact that I can not get him to use litter box. I tried a low litter box, I tried a high walled stall with a door cut out, I tried different litter, I tried dirt and I tried putting a plastic bag in the box. Nothing I try is working. I catch him peeing on my floor, on my bed, on bags and he’s just not getting the concept. I put him in the box and he jumps right out. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

    • June 10, 2013 9:42 am

      Hi Erin,
      I’d suggest speaking to your vet. There may be a reason why he’s not going in the pan. Many kittens figure it out. That said, there may also be other factors that are causing him to go elsewhere. Check out this post: Litter box basics – it may help. Do you think he can get in an actual litter box? You may need to try other low options for him, too. In the meantime, I recommend checking out pee pads (here’s some more info: https://lifewithchcats.com/tag/pee-pad/). I think they’ll be a good solutions until you can find out a more permanent solution. Good luck!

  10. ratgirl78 permalink
    September 10, 2013 3:00 am

    The Food bowl I have found that is perfect for ABLE is called the Incredibowl by Jorvet. It is a rubber like rectangular bowl that has high sides. It’s intended use is for dogs with floppy ears. It is safe for Able to bite if he misses and will not harm his teeth. Because of the high sides, no food goes to waste an it rarely flips over. It is the only bowl out of about 20 that worked for him.
    http://marketplace.dvm360.com/Community/DisplayAd.asp?id=2607

    • September 10, 2013 7:05 pm

      This is a great find! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Teresa Murphy permalink
    April 21, 2014 2:08 pm

    I need HELP. My cat who has a mild case of CH is all of a sudden getting violent towards me & held me captive for awhile. If there is a disturbance such as dropping something and it causes a loud noise and me cussing because of it she wants to attack me. She will start to yowl & hiss with her hair up. If I try and move to leave the area she tries to keep me at bay. This cat has been so loving to me. Been my therapy cat a nice I lost my son. She has given me so much comfort. I have never had such a loving cat who licks me and cuddles. I live alone and in general she doesn’t like anyone else. I cannot trust anyone else to make of her because she may swat or bite them. Well now it’s turned on me, but it is only happening when some type of disturbance has happened. Any ideas? Teresa

    • Lauren Cooper permalink
      April 22, 2014 12:39 pm

      It’s so funny that you would post this now because, to a lesser degree that is EXACTLY what has recently started happening with my almost 3 year old, very mild CH boy Riley. He is so loving and friendly normally that I sometimes wonder if he’s actually a cat. Just this morning he woke me with kneading, purring, and climbing on me like you can’t imagine. Today marks exactly 2 years since I brought him home.

      Short background: I was with my fiancé for 3+ years and she recently moved out. Things had gotten increasingly tense before she left but he never showed aggression then. She left a little over a month ago and this has been going on for 2 1/2-3 weeks.

      Back to him. He will suddenly scream for no reason. Not a blood curdling shriek, just an angry meow. It started with just that and has escalated slightly to include hissing. He will do it at me, friends, and even inanimate objects. Unlike your situation Teresa, there never seems to be a distinct trigger. Sometimes a touch that never bothered him before will invoke the screaming. Other times it happens just for approaching him. The worst victim was none other than a clump of paper Easter grass that he has always loved to play with and received a new bag of recently. He decided it pissed him off and began screaming and hissing at it and kicking and attacking it. This was Sunday.

      The only possible factor that I can think of may be the feral cats in the complex are going through their mating season and there are at least two in tact females if not more. He is fixed, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have hormones.

  12. Teresa permalink
    April 24, 2014 5:56 pm

    Thanks for your response. I’m not sure what’s going on. Is she trying to tell me something like; “hey I’m sick dummy and you don’t know” . I did kind slam the washing machine cover and she did it again. Maybe somethings up with her ears and sound is being amplified. Her ears are nice and clean looking though. She is an indoor cat. I guess it’s a day to day thing to see if it keeps happening. Some things up.

  13. August 22, 2014 12:40 am

    Does anyone know if CH cats are generally smaller? My little one is tiny but she is nourished. Also do they tend to get other health problems?

  14. Lauren Cooper permalink
    January 24, 2015 11:57 am

    Hey CH community,

    I haven’t posted in a while and I know this question is probably better suited for the health section but I did see a comment section there so I’ll post it here.

    Has anyone else had a food allergy situation with their CH baby? I’m curious if it’s possibly a CH thing or if my boy is just a special pain in the ass.

    From the day I brought him home he was always an itchy cat and had some digestive issues. I work at Petco where we preach the benefits of grain free and natural foods as if our own lives depend on it. So I tried that and it seemed to help immensely, at least with the digestive issues but he was still more itchy than I liked so my vet recommend removing chicken from his diet which also seemed to help. Until we gave him turkey wet food. He’s always had these intense twitches in his sleep that I alw debated if they were dreams or mild seizures. Well when he has four relatively undeniable mild seizures in 4 hours there’s a problem. So we realized that this was a general poultry allergy and not just chicken so we switched him to a purely fish based food (after battling it out with misleading labels that say they’re food is fish and then list some sort of chicken filler as the first or second ingredient).

    So I guess the point of this rant is to ask if anyone else has experienced or even suspected a food allergy in their CH baby.

  15. Marti Myers permalink
    January 2, 2016 3:28 pm

    how do groom a cat with CH?

  16. Rebecca Moses permalink
    March 24, 2016 10:52 am

    Hello, I have a week old CH kitten , I was wondering since I am hand raising, will they gain weight slower than her litter mate that is “normal”?

  17. Vic G permalink
    May 21, 2016 11:31 am

    Hi all
    This is Vic. My family recently rescued two female 2 yr olds from an older neighbor lady who was going into a nursing home. Both kits had been fixed and have LA County licenses and were indoor and friendly.
    One, it turns out I suspect has a mild case of CH… we’ll call her Cocoa.
    She sort if calico/tort, small and petite. Can walk but rarely does
    Can run and jump
    Haven’t ever seen her purr even when I saw her next door, but I think she will eventually ..
    Pretty much ignores the other cats or minor distractions
    Super clean
    Doesn’t over eat
    Uses box well

    Vic

  18. Andy B permalink
    January 21, 2017 10:54 am

    Hello all!

    My wife and i recently adopted a CH kitten named Jack, and from everything i have read, and been told, he has a moderate case of CH. we love him to pieces, and are following all the exercises we have found online about helping Jack strengthen his muscles, and slowly get on his feet and walking, but for everything we have read, we haven’t found anything talking about people’s experiences with how LONG it usually takes for a cat to find his legs.

    I would love to know what other people’s experiences are, and what are expectations should be…if any.

    Thanks in advance!

  19. Stacy permalink
    July 24, 2017 4:51 pm

    Hi I’m new to this I found an adopted little male see each kitten that’s probably give me 9 weeks 10 weeks old he was in Dire Straits when I found him and he’s doing so much better in fact it might be too much better if there is such a thing I don’t have carpeted floors and now my little guy has learned how to crawl up things he could never do this before my problem is before I know it he’s crawled them somewhere I didn’t even know for I hear him hit the floor what do I do about this do I have to keep him literally kenneled every time I leave the room or possibly even in the room and a baby gate he’s very capable I want him to be able to enjoy his life as much as possible but he has no jumping abilities when going down and he never hits on all fours so now I feel like I’m making things more dangerous for him I die if anything happened to him because of negligence

  20. Ellen permalink
    September 7, 2017 4:54 pm

    Hi I’ve adopted a beautiful CH kitten. I’ve had Kirby since she was 5 weeks old and shes now 4 months. Kirbys condition varies from mild to moderate. I wondered if this was typical? Her symptoms can change in their severity from week to week

Trackbacks

  1. New to Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia? Start Here. « Life with Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cats
  2. New Kittens!! Cerebellar Hypoplasia? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums

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