How old are you?
I am about a year and a half old. No one knows my actual age so it has been an estimate. Mommy told the vet that my birthday is Nov 11, 2012 and she picked that date because it was her grandpa’s birthday
Where did your name come from?
I already had my name when Mommy adopted me and she liked the name Mika so she told me I could keep it. I do have a couple of nickname though. I jump around on the bed and Mommy said I looked like a little kangaroo so she started calling me Mika-Moo and then my Uncle Eric started calling me his Moo Bear.
How did you find your forever home?
My mommy was a little sad because she had to send her cat to the rainbow bridge. She said that Kiss was almost 17 years old and she missed having a cat in the house. She started looking on Pet Finder. She had been looking for a few days when she came across my listing and watched my video. She continued looking and kept going back to my video. Then she shared my video and asked my Grandma and Uncle Eric if they thought she could handle a special needs cat. They suggested she ask a bunch of questions so she sent an email and started talking to my foster mom who answered all of her questions and she asked about meeting me. They agreed that I would go to Petco for the Pet Rescue NY cat adoption day and Mommy would come to meet me. She brought Uncle Eric with her and she saw me and she talked to the other cats and kittens that were there. She even held some of the little baby cats and then came back over to me and talked to me and petted me some more. She knew that I could be iffy about being picked up and held but I let her hold me for a couple of minutes and then she said she wanted to adopt me. She asked if there was any way that they could keep me for an extra week so she could make sure that the apartment was set up for my safety and they said yes. The following week she came and got me and while there were a few bumps in the road I am confident that I have my furrever home.
When were you diagnosed with CH?
In March of 2013 when I was rescued by Pet Rescue NY and they had a veterinarian check me out.
Can you tell us a little bit about what CH is and how it effects you?
Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH) is a disorder where a part of the brain called the cerebellum doesn’t grow right. It can be caused by an infection during pregnancy or by injury, malnutrition or poisoning during development. It does not progress and while my walking might improve there is no cure. It causes coordination problems and in some cases it can cause seizures.
My case isn’t too severe so I can walk and I’m walking better as my back legs get stronger but they do slide out to the sides on me. So far I won’t use a cat box so I use wee wee pads to go to the bathroom. I usually lay down on my side to go to the bathroom but sometimes I stand up when I go and my Mommy gets all excited and tells me how proud she is of me. I peck like a chicken when I eat and can be kind of messy. I don’t like soft cat food so most of my diet is dry food and chicken. I can’t jump so I need help getting on and off of the furniture. Sometimes I pull myself up onto the bed but I usually just ask and Mommy will give me a lift. I stand near the edge of the bed when I want to get down and Mommy helps me. When I know that she is supporting my side I drop my front paws down and kind of slide down and she supports my back end. She said it would be easier if she just put me down but I get mad when she does that because I want to do it. She asked my Uncle Eric about making a ramp for me with sides so I have support and can get on and off of the bed safely and without help and he said he thinks he can do that. I sit with both of my back legs spread out to the sides and my front left paw folds under sometimes at the wrist. It also makes my head wobble which seems to be worse when I get excited.
Did you need to have any medications or therapy to help you?
I haven’t needed any medicine for my condition and the only therapy I have is just walking on my own and Mommy helping me. She moves my back legs when I am on the bed with her and told me that it might help the muscles get stronger and she massages my legs and back for me.
I am on a special diet. I had a problem with loose stools for a while and they had me try a prescription food called Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal Fiber Response which is now mixed with Iams Proactive Health Digestive Care and everything has been great.
Do you lean against walls to walk?
Sometimes I do but a lot of times I just take my time and take breaks while walking from one room to another. It helps that we have carpets for me to grab on to.
Are there any surfaces that are a struggle for you to walk on?
We have carpet everywhere except the kitchen and bathroom. I don’t do too well on the tiles in the kitchen but I do okay on the bathroom tiles, mommy thinks it might be because they are smaller so I can grip onto them better. I stay on the carpet most of the time. If I am on the bed I do better on the comforter than on the sheets. The sheets are too slippery for me.
What is your favorite toy to play with?
I love the balls with bells in them but right now my favorite is the ball with feathers on it that hangs from a string on a plastic stick.
How are you doing now?
I am doing pretty good. When I first came home Mommy was led to believe that I might need to be kept confined when she isn’t home so she bought these play pen things and put me in one when she had to go out or at night when she was asleep but now the door to the pen has been removed so I still have that area for my wee wee pads but I have free run of the whole apartment all the time. I’m training mommy and she is coming along pretty good. She is a good employee and she loves me. She told me that she understands that just because my body gives me challenges over how I do things it doesn’t change that I am a cat with a stubborn independent streak. I have my own bed and lots of blankets and toys and I get to have treats.Mommy always offers me food when she makes things that are okay for me to have. I love chicken and sometimes I like steak. I love cheese and I like broccoli and the stuff inside of egg rolls. I wish she would get more cheesecake, that was really good stuff. I make mommy laugh almost every day and I get lots of hugs (although I’m not crazy about the kisses). I am very happy and only frustrate mommy sometimes when she can’t figure out what I want. I love that I am treated with love and while I get help when I need it I get to just be a cat. I did feel bad that I am not quick enough to catch the mouse that got into the apartment but mommy got rid of it and took measures to make sure that others don’t come in to my apartment. I can’t share what mommy called the mouse because it wasn’t a nice word. Originally they told mommy that I wouldn’t be able to get onto the furniture but I have proved them wrong. If I really want to I can jump at the bed with my claws out and climb up holding onto the comforter. I can climb onto the couch too but I haven’t done that too much.
Do you live with any fursiblings? If so who?
Right now I don’t have any fursiblings because of our lease but mommy said that if we move she would be open to adopting another kitty so I could have a friend. She is also going to send in a written request to see if the manager people here might consider letting her get me a fursibling.
Is there anything else you or your mom would like to share about CH?
I don’t seem to know that there is anything different about me. I’ll let Mommy answer this one…. I have had cats my whole life and had never heard of CH until I saw Mika’s video. At first I felt bad for her and thought it would break my heart to see her struggle just to walk but there was something about her that just drew me in. Sure, she struggles a little but she is the most determined being I have ever known and that encourages me to push ahead with things. I’ve had to make a few little adjustments but nothing major and in return I have this beautiful loving little ball of fur. In the end she just does things differently but she gets them done. Instead of using a litter pan she uses wee wee pads so I never have a mess sitting around for too long. She was cautious about sleeping with me and whenever I got ready for bed she would go to her cat bed like she knew it was bed time. Now she is sleeping with me. She is the only cat I have ever had that doesn’t get under foot when I am cleaning or doing something else. She seems to know that I am doing something and she either goes to her little cat bed or asks to go up on my bed. She startles easier than other cats I’ve had so I make sure to always talk to her before I reach out to pet her if she isn’t looking at me. I don’t know that I can attribute it to CH but she is so gentle and loving. She does hold on when I hold her which has resulted in a few unintentional scratches on my arm but she has never tried to attack me, never raises her paw. She doesn’t ;like to be alone so if I go out she gets really excited when I come home. I don’t work due to my own disability so she is used to having me home. Where I would leave my other cats home if I wanted to spend a night away, I wont do that with Mika, I have my mom or my brother come over and stay with her. The rewards outweigh the minor adjustments. I would tell anyone not to let CH stop them from considering adopting a cat who happens to have it.
Is there a support group that your mom knows of to help people who have cats with CH?
Mom is a member of the CH Kitty Club on both Yahoo and Facebook
I have gotten a lot of information at these sites
This is the pet rescue that found mommy for me http://www.ny-petrescue.org/
This is the video of me that made my mommy fall in love with me http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Mika & her mom for letting me ask lots of questions. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit her on her facebook page – Mike the CH Kitty.
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