Moki The Wobbly Cat
Who is Moki?
Moki is a cat.
What makes Moki so special?
He suffers from an undiagnosed medical condition that causes him to not be able to move like normal cats, hence the name “Moki the Wobbly Cat”.
Below is my interview with Moki & his mom.
I have read a little bit about the condition that you have Moki, but I would like to know what happened on that fateful day that changed your life and how did your mom get involved? (This may have been covered already but I couldn’t find the post about it)
It’s actually kind of a long story so I will sum it up as best as I can. It was the height of kitten season when Moki was found left in a box along with another feral kitten, on the door step of the feline only, free roaming, no-kill, rescue/shelter, I was volunteering at. I lived out in the country at that time and I already owned six other cats so I really wasn’t looking to foster any. I was taking some vet assisting classes at that time so my volunteering was based primarily on helping to clean up after and generally take care of the cats. The shelter had been really hard hit by a large number of kittens that year and we were beginning to have trouble finding foster homes for them all, particularly the feral ones. Because foster homes were getting harder and harder to come by, Moki was being housed at the shelter until we could find a placement for him. It only took a matter of days for me to fall madly in love with Moki and his feral ways as I went about completing my volunteer duties. With that said, despite already having six other cats, I decided to bring Moki home on a foster basis.
When I brought Moki home he was a normal feral kitten. He did all the things which a normal, feral, cat does. He hissed and scratched, hid and ran, played and jumped. After about six days of being in my care, Moki started to develop what appeared to be an upper respiratory infection. It didn’t seem like anything to be too worried about at first so I just took him to my vet and got him some antibiotics. Over the next couple of days while on the antibiotics Moki’s symptoms got increasingly worst. It was at this point that Moki was seen by the shelter’s vet. While under the care of the shelter’s vet, Moki continued to decline and a decision was made to move Moki to an emergency veterinary hospital. The shelter vet didn’t think that Moki was going to survive and by the time he was admitted to the emergency veterinary hospital I was told that he wouldn’t make it through the night and that I should therefore say my goodbyes.
Despite the warnings I was quite ready to give up and neither was Moki. As I handed him off to the emergency room vet, Moki mustered up all his energy to lift up his paw and reach across the exam table for me. I discussed several different treatment options with the ER vet some of which they didn’t want to perform because they didn’t think that they would help. By about midnight of that night I got a call from the vet at the ER hospital letting me know that Moki was showing no signs of improvement, so she was going to go ahead and try some of the things which I had requested earlier that afternoon. I should mention at this point Moki’s WBC (white blood cell count) was 0.7 upon being admitted to the ER. He wasn’t at deaths door, he was by all practical purposes dead.
While I awaited the dreadful call from the vet that late that night, early the next morning, which would tell me of Moki’s passing, the call never came. What I did receive was a call from the new ER vet who had come on shift early that morning. The new ER vet was reading Moki’s medical file and was greatly confused. The symptoms listed in the file didn’t match anything like she what she was seeing in the animal whose cage the file had been attached to. She wondered if maybe someone somewhere in there haste had attached the wrong file to the wrong cage so she asked me to come down to the hospital to verify that Moki was indeed the same cat whose medical file she was looking at.
Overnight Moki had made a drastic recovery. That recovery was not without severe side effects however. While Moki had survived to tell his tale, he did so at a high cost. He was now neurologically impaired.
What exactly is the condition called? Is there anything a cat guardian (cat parent) can do to prevent it? Are there any support groups or places to go to get monetary help for the therapy and vet visits if a pet parent finds out their cat has the same condition?
Moki’s medical condition doesn’t have a name. When he was released from the ER hospital the vets there thought that Moki had a condition known as cerebellar hypoplasia. As a result of this belief and the severity of Moki’s neurological condition, the ER vets told me that Moki would never sit up on his own again or be able to walk. Further they told me that Moki most likely would not be able to eat without a plate of food being held up to his face. Within a matter of a few days Moki was proving them wrong. Not only was he eating from a plate placed on the ground, he was sitting up and starting to take his first couple of steps.
At this point I should probably mention that the evening that Moki was admitted to the ER I made a promise to him that should he survive, he would have a forever home with me. Ok, so where were we? Oh ya, as the days went forward Moki and I began working with my regular vet who suggested that we take Moki down to UC Davis. It took us about a month to get into UC Davis and once there his medical file was immediately referred to one of their veterinary neurologists. The neurologist suggest that we have both an MRI and a CSF Tap preformed on Moki to see if we could figure this thing out. A few months went by before Moki was brought back to UC Davis for his MRI and CSF Tap. In the end these tests along with every other test that we had conducted on Moki came back clean. UC Davis at first purposed that Moki had CH (cerebellar hypoplasia) but by this stage I had already researched CH well enough to know that that was an impossibility since Moki was born completely normal and his symptoms didn’t develop until well after his cerebellum was already fully formed. When I pointed this out to UC Davis they realized that they had made and mistake and had forgotten to make note of that fact in his medical file. After realizing that Moki was born normal and lived the first several months of his life as a normal healthy cat, they too agreed that Moki’s medical condition could not have been caused by CH. In the end as it turned out, no one knew what they were dealing with and to this day they still don’t.
With that said there is no real way to tell other cat guardians how they could go about avoiding what happened to Moki since no one really knows exactly what Moki has. Additionally there are no support groups, because Moki’s condition is so unique that to date, nothing like it has been recorded or reported anywhere in the world.
As for financial support, there are several options available to pet owners to help them cover the cost of their veterinary bills. The first option would be to speak with their own vets to see if the vet will allow them to set up a payment plan. If this is not an option, then Care Credit might be, so they should try to apply for a line of credit through them. If both of those methods fail then I would advise pet owners to try contacting one or more local agencies which may be able to help them cover the cost of their pets care. Pet owners can find a list of agencies which help with veterinary expenses on the Humane Societies website or by referencing this link:http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_pet.html
Scout’s Fund is another great resource should for pet owners residing in the CA bay area whose pets need physical rehabilitation. Right now Scout’s Fund is a small local non-profit but in time we plan on growing it state-wide and then eventually nation-wide, so definitely bookmark and keep checking back. There website can be found at:http://www.scoutsfund.org/.
Finally, if all of those options fail I would advise pet owners to try setting up a fundraiser for their pet. There are a lot of great fundraising websites out there and several people have been successful when it comes to fundraising money for their pets medical needs, myself included. Some of the fundraising websites that you might want to look into are as follows:
There are several other free and low cost fundraising websites out there for individuals, all you have to do is a internet search to find them.
What types of therapy do you do and how long have you been doing it? Which is your favorite/lease favorite?
I do both physical rehabilitation and veterinary acupuncture on a weekly basis. Please note the very distinct words “physical rehabilitation,” and “veterinary acupuncture.” In many states there are very specific laws pertaining to the use of the term “physical therapy.” In many places, physical therapy is actually a protected term reserved for human forms of therapy. Physical therapist undergo advance levels of training. They hold masters degrees and PhD’s in their field of training, so the term is protect in most states and rightly so. Physical rehabilitation specialists on the other hand are most commonly licensed vet techs and vets who have undergo an additional level of training in the art of physical rehabilitation, or in other words, in applying physical therapy techniques to animals. Some physical therapists have entered into the world of physical rehabilitation as well and these are the individuals who you most commonly see heading up a team of other physical rehabilitation specialist under the guidance of a veterinarian.
As for veterinary acupuncture, the regulations pertaining to it also vary by state. While some states require that only a licensed vet can administer acupuncture to animals other states have no requirements pertaining to who can and cannot administer veterinary acupuncture. Most schools which teach veterinary acupuncture however require that their students be licensed vets. With that said if you are considering having your animal seen by a acupuncturist it is important to inquire whether or not the acupuncturist is also a licensed vet, or truly a veterinary acupuncturist.
As for Moki’s own personal experience with these two treatment commodities, Moki has been seeing a small animal physical rehabilitation specialist on and off again since 2008. I should note at this point that due to Moki’s medical condition there have been several times over the years in which he has had to stop his physical rehabilitation treatments. These breaks in his physical rehabilitation have ranged from anywhere to a few months to well over a year. With that said I should also point out that most animals do not require the kind of extensive physical rehabilitative care which Moki does, and therefore the length of treatment varies greatly depending upon the animal’s condition.
As for seeing the acupuncturist, Moki has been seeing a veterinary acupuncturist since Dec 23, 2010. Again the length and number of acupuncture treatments vary by a particular animal’s medical condition. With that said, Moki enjoys all of his treatments. Like anyone else he has his good days and his bad but in the end he seems to know that these treatments are helping him and he always feels so much better afterward. We have also seen vast improvement in his medical condition as a result of these two combined treatments.
Do you have sisters/brothers that help cheer you on?
Moki sure does. He started out with six other adoptive sibling as I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately three of these have since past away, one, Orange Boy, stayed behind with my ex-boyfriend when I moved out. (He moved with us at first but was really unhappy living here, and my ex-boyfriend missed him so much that we thought that it was best that Orange Boy continued to live with him. My ex and I continue to remain friends and Moki still sees Orange Boy from time to time.) So that leaves us with Mini Munch and Little Kitty, the two sister who live here at the house with Moki. Little Kitty is getting up there in age, she is 15, so we sometimes refer to her as grandma kitty, but you would never know it judging by the way she acts. She behaves like a cat half her age. As forMini Munch, she is six, just one year older than Moki, and she is very close to him. You can constantly find her cheering Moki on in just about everything that he does.
Author’s Note: A huge thank you goes to Moki and his mom along with all the vets, vet techs and everyone involved with his care. The video and photos were used with permission. =^.^=