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Dealing with the Transition from Kitten to Adult

June 12, 2014
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Ellie turned 3-years-old on June 2.

I love celebrating our cats’ birthdays. In fact, I love finding any reason to celebrate them. They bring so much joy to our lives, that it’s only natural I’d want them to know how much I adore them.

Ellie with Natural Pet Company ToyBut for some reason, this birthday was harder to take than most. For some reason, in my mind, the 3-year-old mark is the transition between kitten and adult. Yes, she may be a young adult, but I now feel odd calling her a kitten — at least when it comes to her age.

Perhaps that’s because for me, Ellie is a permakitten. Not only in size (she’s not tiny, but certainly petite) and ability (compared to CG she’s less capable), but also in personality. Ellie loves with her whole body, from the tip of her tail — which curves over the back of her body when she feels particularly happy — to the tip of her nose, which always reaches up to tap my lips whenever I make kissy noises at her.

Ellie has the personality of a kitten who has never faced hardship in her life. I think perhaps her “darkest” day was when she got a “new” family back in 2011. (Backstory: When Matt and I went on our honeymoon in 2011, Ellie and CG stayed at my mom’s place. When we brought her back to our apartment, we were convinced Ellie’s goldfish-like memory couldn’t remember that she used to live with us, since she once got lost on her way to the food bowl! Consequently, we joke that we became her new family that day!)

She’s truly lived a life full of love, laughter, snuggles — and had a mom who’s always there to help her down the stairs, pick her up (with a kiss) after a tumble or carry her up to bed. She’s my little girl and I love her.

And I think that’s why I’m having a bit of a hard time accepting that she’s getting older. Ellie’s such a kitten, in so many ways, that I can’t imagine her as an older cat.  Read more…

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Meet Willow

June 8, 2014

Do you want to know something I’m thankful for today? I never cease to be amazed and thankful for all of you.

A few months ago, Lori wrote in and shared that ever since she adopted her CH cat Willow a few years ago, she’s been reading the blog and has picked up a number of great tips. Consequently, she felt it was time to share Willow’s story. Here we go!

Willow1“I have two other cats, one of which is special needs with a missing foot. I was looking for another special needs kitten when I ran across an entry in Petfinder.com for three sibling kittens that were being fostered in Chehalis, Wash., about an hour and a half drive south of Seattle.

I emailed the foster mom and got more information about the kittens. She mentioned that they had cerebellar hypoplasia and had motor skills challenges. Not knowing anything about CH, I got online and read everything I could find about it. I decided that it was a handicap that I could manage, so I make an appointment to meet the foster mom and the three kittens.

It was very hard to choose only one, but there was a definite connection between us, so I chose Willow, a female dilute Siamese, and took her home. It didn’t take me very long to wonder what I had gotten myself into. She was 12-weeks-old at the time, but she was very small for her age at 2.5 lbs. I was mostly concerned about her lack of strength, and that she might get hurt while I was at work or away from home.

That same day I went to Babies-R-Us and purchased a “play pen” so she could be contained, but have enough room to move around. It also gave my other two cats the opportunity to get to know her better, but have some separation so they didn’t feel imposed upon. Read more…

Meet Leia

May 18, 2014

It was love at first sight for Kayleigh and Leia — or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say love at first peck. 

Leia1Kayleigh visited Petco one afternoon in between her shifts at work. It just so happened to be an adoption day, and Kayleigh hoped to find a cat who could accompany her to her new apartment — even though that was a month off.

She approached one cage that contained three cats and stuck a finger in the cage to try to pet them.

“That’s when a petite torti started to lick my finger, well, tried to anyways. I was confused at first because she was almost pecking at my finger. I knew I wanted her,” Kayleigh said. 

She spoke to a woman from the shelter, who told her the kitten was a special needs cat with balance issues. That didn’t bother Kayleigh at all, and in a few weeks once Kayleigh had moved into her new home, the kitten, Leia, came too. 

“She was purring non-stop, and I knew I found my purrfect cat!”

Leia, who was about a year and a half old in March, has moderate CH. Kayleigh says being surrounded by another cat without her condition motivates her to work on her walking and climbing.

When it comes to the litter box, Leia is perfectly capable. She can use one with a hood and has a second without one — but if she uses it, she may make a big mess if she loses her balance and falls, which can lead to litter being flung everywhere.

When she eats, she uses her paw as a scoop to fling food onto the floor where she can peck at it. Drinking is no different than other cat, she’s just a little loud! To help her, Kayleigh bought elevated bowls. Kayleigh also owns a platform bed so Leia doesn’t fall far when she accidentally rolls off. 

Recently, Leia conquered her fear of falling down stairs by surprising Kayleigh in the basement one day! It went so smoothly, Kayleigh didn’t even hear her wobble her way down! Read more…

Video of Special Needs Cat, Best Friend Dog Goes Viral

May 6, 2014
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A sweet video has been making its rounds lately, perhaps you’ve seen it. Titled “Dog Befriends Disabled Kitten,” the video shows the special bond between Ralphee the kitten and Max the cattle dog. From the video’s description:

“Ralphee the kitten and Max the cattle dog are an odd couple who seem besotted with each other’s company after they were introduced following Ralphee’s rescue from a barn at a horse stable.

…Ever since Ralphee was brought home, Max is never far away. He appears to be forever curious and watches over Ralphee wherever she goes. Ralphee is growing more mischievous by the day and loves to see what Max is doing as well. She will often get excited when he is nearby and leap in the air before playfully charging in his direction.

Despite her condition, Ralphee is a happy cat who, like most kittens loves affection and causing all sorts of trouble wherever she goes.”

I originally saw it pop up on a Polish site, but now it’s being passed around a number of English sites, including Gawker:

The video originally caught my eye because folks have been attributing Ralphee’s behavior to cerebellar hypoplasia.

While I can’t speak to whether or not that’s true — diagnoses can be complicated as some cats are impacted to different degrees and may have other congenital conditions and not all wobbly cats are CH cats — I’m thrilled that the video of this precious little kitten is getting the word out about this condition.

So thanks, Internet! If you found this post via that video, welcome! If you have questions, I recommend starting with this post. I’ve tried to make information easy to find on the site, but if you have any questions, please leave a comment. Thanks!

May 3 was Specially-Abled Pets Day & CH Cats Made the List

May 5, 2014
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I’ll admit – I’m not completely on top of things nowadays (when it comes to blogging!), but I did want to take a moment to give a shout-out to Catster.

On May 2, they published a post titled “Specially-Abled Pets Day is May 3 — Let’s Celebrate Our Handicats” — and in the post they mention a variety of special needs cats including amputees, blind and deaf cats AND cerebellar hypoplasia cats!

I was terribly thrilled about this, as it’s another sign that CH cats are becoming more and more well-known and acceptable. It’s a far cry from the tenor of conversation happening just a few years ago. That said, if you think your cat may have CH, visit your vet, as not every wobbly cat is a CH cat.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the post. Enjoy!

Show Off Your Love For CH Cats & Help Other CHers

April 25, 2014
Here's one way to show off your love for CH cats!

Here’s one way to show off your love for CH cats!

Hi all – I know it seems like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth in terms of posts lately, but even though the site has gone quiet, I’ve tried to keep an ear turned to all that’s going on in the CH community.

And now that I have a moment, I wanted to make sure that you knew about something special. Have you heard about the “Keep Calm and Love a CH Kitty” t-shirts? They’re super cute, a great way to show off your love for CH cats and a great conversation starter, and what makes this even more wonderful is that each shirt that’s sold helps CH cats.

In fact, the original goal of selling 50 shirts, which raised more than $550 for the two kitties below, was recently reached (hurray!) — and you can still take advantage of this great offer and donate through the end of April.

Here’s some more information:

Ballerina

Ballerina

The campaign ends on April 30th. The shirts are $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping. Click here for the order form; if you live internationally, please click here. Of course, there’s no pressure to buy (I would never do that) — I just wanted you to know about the opportunity. Here’s who we’re helping:

Meet Ballerina, a two-year-old rescue who has not been spayed yet. She experiences episodes during which she attacks other cats and humans, which has led to some problems in her home. Those problems, along with not being able to afford Ballerina’s vet bills, prompted her mom to reach out to Deb Martin to find Ballerina a new home.

This campaign will help fund Ballerina’s vet visit, spay, and hopefully help them figure out her episodes.

In addition to Ballerina, this campaign will also help a one-year-old severe CH kitty named Stevie.

Stevie

Stevie

For the first year of his life, Stevie’s previous owners kept him outside — may I remind you, he was a young, severe CH kitty. On April 12, those owners dumped him at a kill shelter. The shelter contacted Deb, and two days later Stevie was rescued.

These funds will go toward Stevie’s much needed vet visit so he can be examined, have blood work done, receive shots, be microchipped, and he’ll soon be neutered. There may also be dental work done, as all of Stevie’s teeth are chipped from falling on concrete.

Again, there’s no pressure to buy a shirt or donate, I just wanted to spread the word. If you do decide to get a shirt, it will be a great conversation starter. If not, you can at least see how the community is coming together to help cats in need! Along those lines, a big shout-out to Deb Martin for all of the work she does to help CH cats and other pets. It does not go unnoticed!

Readers Respond to Love Your Pet Day

March 26, 2014

About a month ago, I learned it was an obscure, but sweet holiday: Love Your Pet Day. Now the reasons why we love our pets are many, so I thought it may be nice to ask all of you to write in to share why you love your pets! I heard from a few folks, and I wanted to share their stories and pictures here.

William’s note to me was short, but to the point:

photo“Wanted to show you our two CH buddies. They are very loving and try their darndest,” he emailed.

I couldn’t agree more, William! There’s just something inspiring about these special cats. Here’s a look at his Coco (the black kitty) and Pluto (orange).

Nori wrote in about her CH cat, Chanel:

“I never heard of CH before and I did not know Chanel had it when I got her. After I adopted her, we noticed how different her walk was from other cats and that she fell over a lot. After a ton of research on what it could be (some very scary stuff!) and a vet visit, I learned she had CH.

Ok, so this is new to me. I had just lost my 18-year-old cat a week before and now I was afraid I’d lose Chanel. Thankfully, being diagnosed with CH was not a death sentence! We just fell more in love with her and were thrilled she was ours to care for.

She is so sweet! She greets us at the door when we come home, sits at my feet when I blow dry my hair, sleeps on me all toasty and warm and purrs so loud that I call her motorboat! My family and I love her and have embraced her special needs with care and understanding.

DSC00089When we found out she had CH, I called the woman I adopted her from to ask why this was not disclosed. She apologized and said we could return her. Return her? What? We love her. We love her wobbly butt! I said, “Thank you but no. We will keep her and enjoy her for many years. Goodbye.” And with that, I hung up.”

And for Roz, sharing why she loves her kitties (right) is a cinch:

“Why do I love my pets? That’s easy!

Stitch may be wobbly but she is brave and sweet and clever and funny and so many other things wrapped up in a gorgeous little black and white package. She forgives easily, is 100% trustworthy and never comments if you have a bad hair day or poor choice of outfit.

Sonic is able-bodied but now lives with FIV and the various challenges it brings. Only rarely when she really isn’t feeling good will she complain, otherwise she goes about her days as though nothing has changed. I am sure that I’m not that resilient!”

Why do you love your CH cat? Please share in the comments!

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