How old are you Twitch?
My birthday is estimated to be May 16th, 2012 so that would make me 8 months old now. Since I was found as a stray, there’s no way to know my birthday for sure but meowmy thinks I was 3-4 weeks old when I was rescued.
Where did your name come from?
I have the wobbly head a lot of the time, especially when it’s time to eat or play. Also when I focus on something or try to sneak up on my brofurs and sisfurs. My head will wobble or “twitch” and that’s where I got my name. Meowmy and Dad came up with a few names but Twitch fit me and it’s been my name ever since. I have a few nick names too…Twitchel, Twitcher, Twitchie, meow meow boy MOL Meowmy is always calling me something silly but I still loves her!
How did you come into your meowmy’s life?
One day in June 2012, meowmy received a frantic Facebook message from one of her friends. She had found a tiny kitten in the middle of the road and couldn’t get him to eat and didn’t know how to take care of him. Meowmy responded and said she would come get me. She met her friend and picked me up. She didn’t think I was going to make it; I was very dehydrated and starved. I laid in her lap all the way home, unable to move or lift my head. She rushed me inside and gave me pure maple syrup mixed with water in a syringe. She knew this would bring my sugar up and help hydrate me. Over many weeks, meowmy continued to nurse me back to health with good food and lots of love. Dad didn’t want her to keep any more kitties so she tried finding me a good home (didn’t try very hard) but she had fallen in love with me. (She can’t resist me mol) She decided she couldn’t let me go and I’ve been here ever since.
When did your meowmy notice you were different from other kitties?
Within 2-3 days of me being here with her she knew I was different. Once I had enough energy to stand on my own, she noticed my head tremors and shaky body. I had trouble walking, fell a lot, and my back feet would go out from under me. She knew I had a neurological problem but wasn’t sure which one.
Were you officially diagnosed with CH or did your meowmy know from previous experience?
Meowmy has experience as a vet tech, vet surgery tech, and zookeeper. She has worked with just about any animal you can think of and has seen a lot of disease and illness in animals. She was able to recognize I had a neurological disorder or had been injured causing the neurological symptoms. She took many videos of me and sent them to her vet tech friends at a local 24 hour emergency vet clinic. One of the technicians responded that I appear to have CH, or cerebellar hypoplasia. Meowmy did lots of research and it seemed to fit my symptoms. The diagnosis was then confirmed at the vet when I went in for my first exam. They were able to diagnose by my head tremors and talking to meowmy about how I act at home.
Did your meowmy make any changes to the house to help you? (like adding rugs on tile floors)
When I was a teeny tiny kitten, about 4 weeks old, she did have to keep me in the bathroom with lots of rugs and towels. I was slipping and sliding around on the linoleum so she added blankies and towels and it helped me get around. I am able to walk on the slick floors now, except when I try to go really fast. mol I still slide sometimes and lose my balance. But for the most part, I get around really well. She also puts our kitty toys on the bed every morning so we can flip flop around on the bed and not get hurt. We get so excited about our catnip toys so it’s safer for us to play on the soft bed than the floor. Meowmy gets up and makes the bed, then it’s play time!!!
Do you and your fursibling Swagger play?
All the time! Brofur Swagger also has cerebellar hypoplasia and we’re both mild so we play really well together. We play on meowmy’s bed, snuggle up for naps on the bed or in our kitty beds, and even zoom from one end of the house to the other. mol We have so much fun Meowmy leaves us alone for a bit and comes back and we’ve made a huge mess! Our beds are tossed about the room and there are kitty toys everywhere. We love catnip mice and jingle balls and go wild chasing and batting at them!
What advice do you or your meowmy have for anyone adopting a CH kitty or thinking their kitty may have CH?
Hmmm, they should make sure they know the severity of the kitty’s CH and understand any changes they may have to make to their house before adopting. For instance, some kitties with CH need specialized litterboxes or use pee pads and towels to potty. They may need some accomodations but CH kitties are well worth it. We would both recommend adopting special needs pets. They have so much love to give and are so grateful to their rescuer. If you think your kitty has CH, talk to your vet about the condition. It helps to print info about CH and take with you to your vet. There are still many vets, shelters and rescues who are not familiar with CH so it’s important to educate them.There is a group on Facebook for owners of cats with CH. They also work very hard to find homes for CH kitties in need. If you’re interested in adopting a CH kitty or have one of your own, you can visit and join the group at https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/CHcat/ There is even a page with lots of information and suggestions for CH owners or those looking to adopt. Great group and lots of helpful information.
What is CH and does it affect certain types of cats or is it preventable?
CH stands for cerebellar hypoplasia and it’s a disorder where the cerebellum in the brain is not fully formed. Generally kittens acquire the disorder while they are developing in their mother’s uterus. Their mom could be infected with a bacterial or viral infection, feline panleukopenia, caused by feline parvovirus, or it can also be caused by poisoning, injury or malnutrition. CH can also affect an unborn litter if the momma cat is vaccinated against panleukopenia while pregnant. CH doesn’t target any breed or type of cat; it can affect any kitten. Symptoms of CH include jerky movements, uncoordinated walking and sometimes head tremors. The good thing about CH is that it does not get worse as the cat ages and most cats even seem to get better as they learn to compensate for their lack of coordination and balance. CH cats have a normal lifespan and are not in any pain. They can do anything a “normal” cat can do…just in a different way and sometimes with some adjustments in the home. They are smart and can learn to use a litterbox, pee pads, towels or even bathroom rugs for their potty. Mild CH cats can usually eat and drink on their own while more moderate and severe CH kitties may need some assistance. Swagger and I are able to eat, drink, and use the litterbox on our own. Sometimes we make a little mess if we fall in our litterbox. It’s harder to potty when your head bobbles and you aren’t very coordinated so sometimes we fall or step in our poo and pee. Meowmy just cleans our little paws with soap and water and it’s no big deal.
Is there any other information you would like to add?
I live with my meowmy, Dad, 3 great danes, 2 toy poodles, a rescued chihuahua, and 2 other rescued kitties. My kitty brofurs are Timmy and Swagger. Timmy is a chunk mol and he’s an indoor/outdoor kitty. He is 4 1/2 years old and was found in an old lady’s ceiling with his other littermates. He was about 3 weeks old when he was found and meowmy’s auntie bottle fed the litter and then meowmy adopted Timmy. Swagger is my CH brofur and he was rescued in Jacksonville, FL and transported to us in October 2012. A very mean person threw Swagger out the window of their car and someone picked him up and brought him to a vet hospital. That’s where Miss Leslie agreed to take him in and nurse him back to health. He was very dehydrated and weak but with her loving care, he made it! We are very close in age and get along so well. I’m 8 months and Swagger is 9 months old. We’re inseparable and I’m so happy to have a wobbly brofur to play with. Swagger and I both have mild CH. I have head tremors and balance and coordination problems. Swagger has some balance and coordination problems but also spins in circles sometimes, especially when he’s excited. We love our fur siblings and are so happy to be rescued and living the good life!
Author’s Note: I would like to thank Twitch and his mom for letting me interview them and sharing his story as well as pictures. Pictures were used with permission.
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