Author’s Note: Many thanks to Bounce & her caretaker. If you are interested in reading more abut CH Cats, I have included two articles at the bottom of the interview.
Thank you so much for letting me interview you.
-Well, my daddy and mommy came to Best Friends Adoption Center looking for a calico, but as soon as daddy saw me, he fell in love and took me up to the counter to adopt me. I thought that was funny, because he wasn’t supposed to do that. He was supposed to have the really awesome helpers there get me out of the little house and bring me up.
Did your dad make any adjustments to your home to make sure you don’t hurt yourself?
-Not really. A few little things, like making sure I don’t get by the stairs by shutting that door, and moving some of the harder things that I could bonk my head against if I’m trying to run, but otherwise I mostly just flop my sides against the walls and stuff. They keep a good eye on me though and learned very quickly that even though I can’t jump, I can climb great! Daddy was so funny, the first few times he saw me figure out how to get OFF of the bed or couch. I learned to grab on with my hands and sort of flop my butt to the floor then let go. I know they love me a lot and will always make sure I’m okay, even if I get huffy and grumpy when they try to help me. I’m a very independant kitty.
What would you or your dad like to tell people about ch?
-Cuddle! I love to cuddle! I also like eating… a LOT! I use a lot of energy just getting around. With the way I move, I essentially travel twice as far, sometimes more, to get somewhere. It’s also made me super strong though. I even like to go on car rides! Traveling is super duper fun!
Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself?
-About myself, no. I just want to reinforce what daddy said about adopting CH kitties. Don’t walk away from us just because we move a little funny. We are an adventure unto ourselves, as we don’t know where we are going all the time, and when we play we don’t really have any idea where our toys are going to end up. We’re just a little different physically, but we are still wonderful, smart, loving cats who want to share your life and your heart. So please, when looking to adopt a kitty, don’t shun one just because it has a difference. Just because a kitty might be missing an eye or a leg or is clumsy or deaf, doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have a heart and a lot of love to give you.
What is Cerebellar Hypoplasia?
Cerebellar Hypoplasia (cer·e·bel·lar hy·po·pla·sia) is a disorder found in cats and dogs which causes jerky movements, tremors, and generally uncoordinated motion, just like ataxic cerebral palsy in humans. A cat with CH often falls down and has trouble walking or cannot seem to walk at all. CH in cats is non-progressive, meaning it does not get worse with age.
Cerebellar Hypoplasia occurs when the cerebellum, the part of the brain which controls fine motor skills and coordination, is not completely mature at birth. Symptoms of CH can usually be seen immediately at birth.
Cerebellar Hypoplasia is most commonly caused by the kitten’s mother contracting the Panleukopenia virus while pregnant. If the mother passes on the virus during the end of pregnancy, the kittens can be born with CH. Kittens with CH are not infected with or carriers of the Panleukopenia virus, it has only stunted their cerebellum’s growth while in the womb. Cerebellar Hypoplasia can also occur if a trauma, including malnutrition, occurs to the kittens while in the womb.
Cats with Cerebellar Hypoplasia are often euthanized, as people misunderstand the condition as being painful and/or contagious. However, they have a normal life expectancy and are very affectionate, sweet, and loving. They return the extra care they need with an intense love for and bond with their adoptive families.
The Truth About CH Cats
At this time, many veterinary and rescue professionals are still unaware of CH. Many CH cats are needlessly euthanized before given a chance at a proper diagnosis and life, making it harder for awareness about the condition to grow.
- Are not in any pain
- Are not contagious
- Have a normal life expectancy
- Live happy, healthy lives
- Learn to adapt their abilities and compensate over time
- Can be spayed/neutered safely
- Need to be indoor-only & should never be declawed
- May require no extra care, or a great deal of extra care, depending on their severity
- Can be more prone to accident-related injuries, like chipped teeth or broken nails
Severity Levels of CH Cats
Cats with mild CH are very capable and require little to no extra care.
- Unusual gait (high step or waddle)
- Occasional balance loss
- May have subtle head tremors when excited or stressed
- Cannot live outdoors
- May prefer a modified litter box with high sides
- Prefer carpet or rugs, but not a necessity
Cats with moderate CH can get around on their own, but one end of their body may appear to be doing something else than the other end.
- Walk with legs splayed in a wide stance
- Frequent balance loss, falls
- Noticeable head tremors, especially when excited or stressed
- Walk short distances
- Expert climbers
- Cannot live outdoors
- Prefer a modified litter box with high sides to support themselves against; can be messier than non-CH cats
- Have an easier time balancing on carpet or rugs
- Raised food & water dishes
- Modified furniture to protect them from getting hurt when they fall (e.g. adding bumpers)
Cats with severe CH cannot walk on their own and require a great deal of special care.
- Cannot walk or stand
- Flip and Flop to get around
- Constant head tremors
- Expert climbers
- Cannot live outdoors
- May need help using the litter box; prefer a modified litter box with high sides or pee-pee pads
- Prefer carpet to help grip and propel themselves forward
- May need help getting set up at their food dish
- Modified furniture to protect them from getting hurt when they fall (e.g. adding bumpers)
- Are ideal candidates for wheelchairs, which can help improve mobility and coordination
7 Things You Should Know About Cerebellar Hypoplasia
1. CH arises because of exposure to a virus or prenatal trauma
If a pregnant cat is exposed to the virus — or the vaccine — for panleukopenia late in her pregnancy, the developing kittens’ brains can be affected. But not every kitten in a panleukopenia-exposed litter will develop CH. The condition can also be caused by prenatal trauma, including malnutrition.
2. Kittens are born with the condition
You may be able to see right away that a kitten has CH because she doesn’t seem to be able to get herself into the right position for anything. If you don’t notice it at birth, you’ll certainly notice something is amiss once the kittens start crawling and walking around.
3. There are different levels of severity
Cats with mild CH have few symptoms. They may have a slightly waddling gait, but they’re quite capable of getting around like other cats. Moderate CH is a bit more challenging for cats because they can’t seem to get their whole body to work together sometimes, and they tend to have a splayed walk. When stressed, they can develop head tremors or have more difficulty getting around. Cats with severe CH need a lot of special care: They typically can’t walk on their own, have almost constant head tremors, and flip and flop to get around.
4. CH is not a progressive condition
A cat’s cerebellar hypoplasia isn’t going to get worse over time. It’s not going to get better, either, but as a cat learns to adapt to the condition it can appear that she’s improving. Physical therapy and hydrotherapy can help a CH cat to adapt to her disability.
5. CH is not contagious
There’s no reason to fear bringing a CH cat into your home, because your other cats won’t catch the disease. CH is congenital — kittens are born with it — and don’t acquire it later in life.
6. CH cats can live with non-CH cats
It may take a little while for a non-CH cat to get used to a CH cat’s body language, since CH cats don’t move like ordinary cats, but CH kitties can be integrated into a household just like any other cats.
7. CH cats have a normal life expectancy
Cerebellar hypoplasia is not a life-shortening condition. Although their lack of coordination can increase their risk of injuries, it does not predispose them to any other illnesses.
There’s no reason to be scared of cats with cerebellar hypoplasia. They don’t suffer, they’re not in pain, and they love and purr just as much as ordinary cats.
Long time no see everyone, my apologies for not posting for a while. I got a promotion at work and changed schedules and honestly I was at a loss as to what to do with the blog.
I was gently reminded that my contract with bluehost (my current server) is coming due and after some serious thought.. I’m going to move the blog back to wordpress (where it started) and going back to interviews on a weekly basis if not more. Apparently WordPress.com is no longer taking new websites, so here is where I stay.
I would like to interview pets of all shapes and sizes, but I do want to share the stories and experiences from those who have been altered (declawed, devocalized, tail docked, etc) and really help the cause to end these cruel practices.
So pardon the dust for now as I’m working
on moving things back to wordpress.com and I’m hoping to unveil the new and improved (with lemon fresh scent!) website on July 1st.
If you have any experiences you would like to share, please comment here and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.
I look forward to getting back into the swing of things and going back to my wordpress home.
Thanks for all your patience.
Author’s Note: Many Thanks to Jen for letting me ask question about Penny and Nickel. Pictures were used with permission. Penny’s full story can be read at Dog Heirs.
Were Penny’s previous owners been found an persecuted for the abuse?
They were not found, I believe the person that saw them throw her from the truck was more worried about getting her care so they didn’t get a detailed description. I sure wish they were!
May I ask how long Penny was with you before she gave birth to Nickel?
Penny was with us for 2 weeks before she had Nickel. We couldn’t even tell she was pregnant! Chris came home from work one day and called me and said that she had a puppy. I couldn’t believe it!
I noticed Nickel has one blue and one brown eye, is he able to see okay?
Her eye color does not seem to have any effect on her eye sight. She does seem to have a case of selective hearing though haha
What is Nickel’s favorite thing to do?
Nickel loves to run, when I take her to the park the first thing she wants to do is find a dog to play chase with.
Are Rio & Vinny also rescue dogs?
Rio is not but Vinny was rescued from life on a chain as a puppy.
What would you like to tell people who are hesitant on taking in a previously abused dog?
Penny had obviously lived a life of hell. She had bite marks, had signs of over breeding, malnutrition, she was emaciated and she was thrown out of a moving vehicle. And after all of that she still had so much love to give and was so eager to please us. She loved to snuggle and learned quick about indoor living. Rescued dogs know they have been rescued and will show you how much they appreciate it for all of their time with you!
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of adopting a dog from a shelter?
I think the biggest thing I hear is that “shelters don’t have xxx breed” or shelter dogs are broken. This is not true. They have all breeds, including mixed breeds and full breeds. Large and small. And the greatest thing about adopting from a shelter or a rescue group is that you will have a great support system for finding vets, trainers or any other needs you may have. And normally your new pet will come vaccinated, spayed or neutered and microchipped. Just remember to give them time to adjust and decompress once they get into their new home.
This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Penny. Know that you will always be loved.
Declawing is considered one of the most painful, routinely-performed surgeries in all of veterinary medicine and yet 30% or more of veterinarians don’t provide any pain medication whatsoever to their declaw patients. Another study showed that declawed cats were still in pain from the surgery at the end of the study, which was 12 days after the operation! Declawed cats can have joint pain, arthritis, lameness, abscesses, and paw pad atrophy which can occur after surgery. In some cases where the veterinarian left part of the bone in the toe, the claw can begin to grow again. However, the claw grows abnormally under the skin and might eventually bust through the skin on top of the paw. In one report that studied cats for only five months after surgery, about 25% of cats developed complications from both declaw and tenectomy surgeries.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Zandar’s mom for letting me ask questions about him. Pictures were used with permission. You can visit Zandar’s memory page to see what the rest of the family is up to.
How old was Zander when you adopted him?
We got Zander as a puppy. He was about 8 weeks old.
Where did he come from?
My husband and I were just dating at the time and a friend of his gave him Zander.
Did he have any fursiblings he lived with?If so, what are their names?
At first Zander was an only dog. Grant and I lived separately. When Zander was almost one Grant and I moved in together. Shortly after we adopted Zoe.
About four years later, we adopted Zoar and then two years after that, we adopted Tilly an hour before being euthanized at a local shelter. We never planned on keeping Tilly.
We were just going to foster her for a local pit bull rescue. We fell in love and decided to keep her. It’s so strange looking back because we got her about 9 months before Zander was diagnosed and it was almost as if he led us to her. She’s the silliest dog I’ve ever met and I think he knew we would need the laughter she brings after he left us.
Can you explain a bit about T cell lymphoma?
There are two types of canine lymphoma. B cell and T cell. B cell is more common and responds more favorably to palliative treatment and to chemotherapy. T-cell is a type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in the immune system by helping protect the body from disease. Most studies found that dogs with B-cell lymphoma were more likely to achieve a complete remission (81-84%) than dogs with T-cell lymphoma (50-67%).In addition, dogs with B-cell lymphoma have a much longer remission duration and survival than dogs with T-cell lymphoma. Zander’s lymphoma initially presented much different than the typical lymphoma. In fact, we were not suspecting lymphoma at all when we took him to the vet. None of his lymph nodes were enlarged. Zander was 8 ½ at the time and he always stayed in the house while we were at work with no accidents. Strangely he started urinating daily in the house. We also noticed he was drinking an excessive amount of water. Then, when he would lay down and relax he would have muscle twitches. I made an appointment thinking maybe he had diabetes or a urinary tract infection. They ran a bunch of blood work and his calcium levels were off the chart. It’s called hypercalcemia Hypercalcemia is a trademark sign of T cell lymphoma. Signs of hypercalcemia are excessive thirst and urinating and muscle twitching. Basically his vet said it could be one of two things: a benign tumor on his parathyroid gland or lymphoma. They had to send some blood off to a lab out of state to test and we would have to wait two weeks to find out.
What was your opinion of pit bulls prior to adopting Zander?
It’s no secret from those that follow Zander’s page that before Zander I was not a fan of pit bulls. In fact, when my now husband told me he was getting him…I tried to convince him not to. I believed everything I heard in the media. I had never had an interaction with a pit bull and judge them unfairly.
How has it changed since?
I do everything in my power to educate others of how great pit bulls really are. I now have three (had four when Zander was alive). I volunteered with a pit bull rescue shortly before Zander got sick. They truly have won my heart. They are such amazing dogs. I’ve seen dogs who have been used as bait and have every reason to hate humans, turn around and want nothing more than to be loved by humans. It’s truly amazing.
What would you like to say to people who who are still leery of the breed?
Give them a chance. They will steal your heart and prove you wrong. Zander sure proved me wrong and I’m so glad that he did. I would have missed out on 9 wonderful years with the best dog ever. All they need is a chance.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience with Zander?
He is an amazing dog and I was so lucky to have been his mom for 9 wonderful years. I miss his wiggly butt every single day.
This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Zandar.
Fly free sweetie.
Author’s Note: yay! Another small pet interview Many thanks to E.B. & her mom for letting me ask questions. Pictures were used with permission. Please follow her adventures on her Facebook page –E.B. a little black house bunny.
How old is e.b?
EB is about a year old.
Is she the only bunny and where did the name come from?
She was an Easter gift last year. She’s the only bun, and her name is a variation of “ebony ” and “Easter bunny ” she is also my first bunny,
What does E.B. eat normally?
She loves crackers and bread for some reason! She also loves parsley. She won’t eat bananas but likes the peels. Her main diet is pellets.
What else can you tell me about her?
She a smart baby, she loves her head petted, but trying to pick her up will gain an enemy of her. She doesn’t forget when someone tries to pick her up, and will avoid them! She likes to hang out under my bed and she steals and collects things under there. She doesn’t bite
What advice do you have for first time bunny owners/parents?
My advice to new owners is to make a prepared, informed decision before getting a bunny, because they will bring you lots of love and joy but they need proper care,time, and attention!
Author’s Note: I had the wonderful chance to meet the amazing Miss Linda (Tooga & BlueBelle’s mom) in person nearly 2 years ago and she asked me if I wanted to do a follow up interview and I lept at the chance to check on these two. Little did I realize that it was exactly two years ago that I interviewed them (3/19/2013) my how time flies! So here’s an update on how they have been doing and what has been going on.
Pictures were used with permission.
How old are Tooga/Bluebelle now?
Tooga is 4 and BlueBelle is 13. Tooga is improving and will lick food sometimes. He most likely will never be able to eat enough on his own to sustain himself.
Have there been any other health issues that have popped up with Tooga or Bluebelle since the last time they were interviewed?
BlueBelle has developed chronic pancreatitis and is in the early stages of kidney disease. It’s a 50/50 chance of being age relayed or Hartz related….
Is Tooga still needing to be syringe fed every four hours?
Tooga still gets syringe fed approximately every 5 hours. BlueBelle does have tummy issues and Tooga still has constipation problems. Poop is a big deal here!!
Have you heard from Hartz about your case?
I did hear from Hartz and a settlement was declined. I will not sign a nondisclosure agreement. It’s more important that people are aware that OTC flea products are classified as insecticide and therefore controlled by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Products from your Vet are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and controlled by the FDA.
Have you met any other pet parents that have experienced the same issues with their pets after using Hartz products ?
We’ve met many friends who were exposed not only by drops but collars too. One friend puts “post-it” notes on the shelf at her local store, warning of the dangers. Our goal has always been and continues to be, save one more pet.
Is she on any meds that help???
On Blue…no. She can take Pepcid ½ tablet for nausea but she eats around it. When she starts throwing up…it’s massive. Last time it took 3 bath towels and a mop… The only thing is getting a shot. Cerenia. With a high protein diet hopefully slow down the kidney issue but…. It’s progressive.She’s doing very well with flare ups..
Author’s Note: I haven’t included any pocket pets in a while and wanted to share Miss Butterscotch with everyone. Pictures were used with permission, many thanks to Miss Lyndsey Butterscotch’s mom for little me pester her with questions. You can visit follow the adventures of Butterscotch on her facebook page.
Where did her name come from?
Is this your first guinea pig?
Yes this is my first ever guinea pig
what do you feed her?
Hay and some dry food called purine little wonders and leafy greens
what veggies & fruit do you feed her?
I feed her kale and romaine lettuce and some baby carrots and she hate absolutely HATES strawberries
how often do you bathe her?
About once a week
Does she have any toys or things she likes to do?
She loves to hide in my blankets and sweatshirt pockets and pillow cases And she loves to play with book covers
Do you have any advice for other guinea pig owners?
Yes I do don’t ever procrastinate to clean their cages that is one thing they are really picky about and always give them fresh washed veggies no moldy or old foods.
A question for both of you, what type of bunny are you exactly?
Thor is a Holland Lop
Jane is a Harlequin
How did you both find your mom?
Thor: Mom found me on Craigslist from a breeder when I was 8 weeks old. I was the runt of the litter and they said my ears were too long for show quality so they sold me to mama at a “discounted price.” When mom got me she had been dealing with depression. After she got me, people noticed she was happier all around. This is why she named me after a superhero!
Jane: I was also found on Craigslist. My first owner just let me loose into the wild for whatever reason (my guess is cost or they’re just idiots). I was wild for a few weeks until the people who owned the field I sought refuge in managed to catch me. They kept me for awhile, in an aquarium in a barn with cows and chickens, but ultimately decided they were not rabbit people. They said I hated being touched and held and would bite. When I met my new mom she pet me, scooped me up and I licked her neck – I knew why I was there and ever since I’ve been a mommy’s little girl!
Who came to live with her first?
What did you two really think of each other upon first meeting?
Thor: I was so excited to have a friend! I did kinda hump her for awhile but that got boring pretty quick so I stopped.
Jane: OMB I was so nervous! He would follow me everywhere and mom would just take pictures!
How long did it take for you to become friends?
About a day
What is your favorite things to do?
Thor: loafing…or eating! I do enjoy eating a nice dandelion leaf.
Thor, do you like fruit or veggies better?
Well my favorite food is whatever mom is eating at the moment. I like to climb all over her until I get something! But overall I’m a veggie boy. Carrot tops are sooooo yummy! Jane loves kale but it’s not my favorite dish.
Miss Jane, how are you recovering from your spay surgery?
I’m recovering very quickly thank you! The day after my surgery I was ready to hop around but mom said no so I started bouncing around my cage until she let me out in the small kitchen by myself to stretch my thumpers.
Are you on any meds?
I am on Metacam and Bupropion. I LOVE the Metacam!
When will you be able to see Thor again?
The vet said we had to wait two weeks…I’m not happy about this.
What will be the first thing you would like to do when you can hop around again?
Playing hide and seek with Thor outside (it should be nice and sunny weather here when I’m healed!)
Is there anything either or you or your mom would like to add about bunnies, their care or advice for first time bunny owners?
Mom suggests thinking of us like another human being.You get bored, we get bored. You get cranky, so do we and we need space just like you do. Not all humans like heights and the same goes for bunnies- Thor hates being held when mommy is standing.