Author’s Note: Many thanks to Charlie’s parents for letting me ask questions.
I have to ask, how are Charlie & Queso getting along?
She still isn’t a big fan, but she likes to torment him now. Hahahaha. She’ll chase him through the house.
Is she currently on any medications or doing therapy?
She doesn’t need any medication or therapy as of right now, she might in the future…but we can’t be sure.
Have you had to make any changes since she joined the family?
We haven’t really had to change a whole lot in the house for her. We bought bowls that she can eat from, some were too high for her to get into. The litter box was moved from the basement to the main floor for her (for obvious reasons, haha). We also block off the basement stairs just to make sure she won’t get to them.
What is her favorite thing to do?
This is a tough one. I would have to say her favorite thing to do is sleep on the couch. Since she can’t get up on the furniture on her own, we put her up with us for couch time…she loves it. A close second would be terrorizing her cat brother Duncan. Haha.
What would you like to say about CH cats?
CH kitties are amazing little creatures. They’re determined. They’re fierce. And they’re lovable. They deserve a chance at life too, so many get out to sleep just because of their condition. It’s sad. Depending on when the CH kitten is adopted, it might be rough at first. We got Charlie when she was a week old. We had to feed her every few hours and bathe her daily, multiple times some days. The litter training was rough. They need a lot of time and patience, but it all pays off.
I hope this helps get the attention on to CH babies, they have so much love to give, they just need to be given the chance.
Author’s Note: I wanted to end the Extra Love Needed Theme this month with a very special interview. This is the story of Sable Tilthead, though he is no longer with us, he is a shining example of how love & patience can greatly improve the life of any pet.
How did Sable come into your life?
Sable’s mother was a feral in the colony that I take care of…Someone had put her outside when they moved and I started taking care of her along with the others…I had no Idea Fluffy(Sables’) mother was pregnant…she isappeared for a few days and i was worried but after about a week she came back and brought this tiny little black thing in her mouth…it wasn’t moving so I thought it was a dead bird…she dropped it at my feet and then I realized it was a kitten…for the next 18 years he was mine…
Sable was born in October
Where did his name come from?He got his name because he was a black kitten that had a deep red in his fur…
Do they know why his head was tilted?
They think this is why his head was tilted…he simply came this way…
Vestibular disorders are common in cats. The vestibular apparatus (called the labyrinth) is a complex sense organ composed of three semicircular canals, plus the utricle and the saccule. The labyrinth is stimulated by gravity and rotational movements. It plays an important role in balance and orienting the body in space. Inflammation of the labyrinth is called labyrinthitis.
A cat with labyrinthitis has a problem with balance. The animal wobbles, circles, falls and rolls over, and has trouble righting herself. She may lean against the wall for support and crouch low to the floor when walking. The cat often shows rapid jerking eye movements (nystagmus), and her head will usually tilt down on one side. When picked up and turned in a circle, the cat will act even more dizzy. There may be vomiting and deafness.
A common cause of labyrinthitis is inner ear infection. Other causes include stroke, braintumor, head trauma, brain infection, drug intoxication (especially by the aminoglycosideantibiotics), and thiamin deficiency.
A congenital vestibular defect is seen in Oriental breeds. Kittens show a head tilt, circling, and rolling behaviors. Siamese kittens with this condition may also be deaf. There is no cure.
Idiopathic vestibular syndrome is the most common cause of labyrinthitis in cats. The onset is sudden and the cause is unknown. The signs include a head tilt and nystagmus, and cats may have difficulty walking. There is an increase in these cases in July and August in the northeastern United States, suggesting an environmental cause.
He was also diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia(CH)
Did you have another furry children in the house?
At one time we had up to 16 cats…if I couldn’t find homes for them I kept them…most of the ones I kept were Specially abled…I kept them all until they went to the Rainbow Bridge…I now have 6 left…Plus a feral colony made up of peoples cast offs…I had them all TNR’d and adopted if possible…I currently have 10 in the colony…
Was there anything he couldn’t do?
Sable didn’t let anything stop him…He would jump on the windowsill even if it took him a few tries…he would shake it off and try again…He was a wobbly boy but that didn’t stop him from doing much of anything…he had head tremors especially when he got excited (like I would put his special food plate down)You see I cooked for Sable…almost everything I ate he would eat…I would make his plate first and put it down then make my own…he loved all meats and fish and he loved broccoli and carrots…he had to have dessert after his meal also
he loved Cool Whip…there are pics on his page with it all over his face…he was a messy eater b/c of the tremors but we didn’t mind…He couldn’t run very well…he would fall over and get up and try it again…he used the litter box fine but sometime b/c of the CH he lost his balance and got dirty…his Daddy(Fabio) would give this gentle kitty a bath and he would just sit there like he knew you were helping him…There are pics of him and Fabio on his page also…
What were is favorite things to do?
Sable loved to sit on “his” rocking chair or on the desk while we were on the computer…he would stay there for hours(pics also on his page)…He loved to follow us around…we would always have to look down to check if he was there…especially if we were cooking…he loved the smells of the kitchen…he loved to hang out in the kitty house that one of his FB friends sent the cats for Christmas…also in the tunnel(also a gift)…he loved cuddling on the bed…he spent many hours there with his daddy when I was hospitalized for several months…Sable had rough experience on October 29 ,2012…Superstorm Sandy…we live near the bay and were flooded out…it was quite sudden…we had no where to go so a neighbor told us to come upstairs to higher ground but we couldn’t take the cats…the next day when it stopped storming Fabio checked on the cats…all were on high ground except Sable he came out of the bedroom soaking wet…we can only imagine the other cats went high and he got swept up in the water that came rushing in(we had 3′ of water in the house)…bthim being Sable just took it in stride…walking around thru the trashed huse w/o a care in the world…we dried him off cuddled him and he was fine…Sable was the most laid back cat i’ve ever met…my husband(Fabio) and I had to find a place for our cats and ourselves…unfortunately we had to be separated…they went to a sanctuary in So.Jersey and we went to a hotel…for 5 months!! we were separated from our babies…it was pure hell…especially since most are seniors…but as soon as we got back in our home we had our kitties back…
Is there anything else you would like to share about him?
There will never be another Sable Tilthead…Fabio and I still cry about him…would I ever adopt another CH kitty?…absolutely!! We learned a lot from Sable…he was loving…funny…and he never gave up…he was a determined cat who led a full and long life…he always got along well with the other cats…the house seems so empty w/o him and our hearts hurt…
Sable won his first photo contest for Feb 2014…they prize was a mosaic picture of him…as soon as I can afford it I’ll have itframed and hang it over the bed that he spent so many hours on…
I received close to 4000 condolances when Sable passed and he had only had a FB page since the end of January…everyone loved Sable Tilthead he was quite a little character ♥
You can use any pics from his page…I also have more if you need them…Thank you for honoring a very special and deserving boy…Sale Tilthead…Mama and Daddy love you dearly ♥ ♥
This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Sable Tilthead
Fly free little one.
Author’s Note: Many many thanks to Sable’s mom & dad for sharing his story. Pictures were used with permission. You can find his facebook page – Sable Tilthead, where his mom spreads the word about other cats in need.
This article is a part of the Extra Love Needed theme & Black Cat Appreciation theme, please click on the badge below for more articles on pets that need extra love & care.
We named Tank his name because he was SO MUCH bigger than the other kittens. With my disability, dad said I needed just as “manly” of a name. and dad is a Mopar fan! lol
How did you find your forever home?
Mom and Dad actually rescued Mama Cat from an abusive situation when they lived in Florida, and after they took her from her “owners” they told mom and dad she might be pregnant. they couldn’t bear to fix her and abort the litter so they let Mama have her kittens, 5 of us, and re-homed everyone after we spent 12 weeks being socialized.
When did you start doing physical therapy? And what do they do with you?
Physical therapy started in August. we do stretches, balance activities, work in the water treadmill, laser therapy, and acupuncture!
Do you take any medications?
Just joint supplements
When/How were you officially diagnosed with CH?
Pretty much right when I was a baby, mom researched it before she even took us for our first round of shots, and the vets confirmed it.
Can you tell me a little bit about CH?
It is a neurological disorder that affects the cerebellum, which controls motor function and coordination. It is most common when the mother cat is exposed to or contracts Distemper while pregnant. There is no “cure” but the condition does tend to even out over time, and as we are learning, it can be improved and dealt with
What limitations do you have right now?
I cannot walk on my own. I could as a baby but I fell over so much I got sick of it, and chose to scoot and crawl. I have issues using the litter box with any accuracy. When I was younger I had very irritable bowels and (sorry for TMI) varied between constipated and the opposite a lot. God thing is I got used to baths, so the water treadmill was no big deal for me!! I also have thin skin which can tear easily if I get knots in my fur, but that has all improved with exercise, and Blue Buffalo Grain Free diet.
I saw that you took your first steps with all four feet, that had to exhausting, congrats!
Do you live with any fursiblings? ‘If so do any of them next extra love & care like you?
I have Mama Cat, my real mom, but she has kind “shunned” me since 2 months old. she has recently started to come around and is taking a bit of interest in me again.
I also have Osa, Scout, and Buttons.
Tank is my actual litter mate and closest to me. He cleans me, cuddles me, and plays gently with me. He’s HUGE (20 lb tabby) I am only 10 lbs, but he has always seemed to understand I am a little different.
How can people donate to help your family pay for your physical therapy?
I have a Youcaring donation site which goes to mom’s paypal and gets transferred for each PT session. I also have an Amazon wishlist for help with other basic needs
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your family?
Mom and Dad love all animals and we have fish and 3 dogs too!!! Mom and Dad hope one day to open an animal sanctuary / rescue for elderly and disabled and special needs cats and dogs.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Hemi and his mom for answering the interview questions. You can find him on his Facebook page – Hemi the CH Kitty . Pictures were used with permission. This article is a part of the Extra Love Needed theme, please click on the badge below for more articles on pets that need extra love & care.
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