Special Need: Cerebellar Hypolpasia
In July of 2005 we took in Heather, a very pretty pregnant female who was at risk of euthanasia at a crowded shelter. Heather gave birth to four beautiful kittens. Georgie (orange tabby), Ephea (calico), Halo (white) and Twig (white).
At birth, all of the kittens seemd healthy. But within a few weeks, we noticed that Halo and Twig were not developing as rapidly as the other two. They appeared to be having difficulty learning to walk. Of course, we started to worry, but were hopeful that they were just "slow learners". Within a few weeks, however, our vet diagnosed Halo and Twig with cerebellar hypoplasia (CH). The most common cause of CH is exposure of the pregnant mother to a virus. This causes the cerebella (the part of the brain responsible for motion control) of some kittens to be underdeveloped. CH kittens have difficulty coordinating the movements of their legs and often appear ?drunk? as they walk or run.
Fortunately, CH is not progressive and most cats learn to compensate quite well for their disability. They are able to get around, feed themselves and use the litter box. However, a CH cat might be a very messy eater or not able to climb stairs like other cats, so one has to be willing to adapt the environment to a CH cat to some extent.
Halo (photo left) is only mildly disabled. She gets around well, if awkwardly, and can feed herself and use a litter box. Halo can be quite messy, however, and she still has difficulty cleaning herself. She is very sweet and purrs whenever someone enters the room.
Twig (photo above) is more severely affected. At 10 weeks of age, he has difficulty sitting up without assistance and he often gets frustrated with his inability to control his movements. We are, however, seeing progress in his neuromuscular control, albeit very slowly. His frustration has also been diminishing as he can now feed himself and use a litter box. Twig has a very feisty personality and loves to play with his sister or with toys. There is no medical treatment for CH. All we can do is continue to work with the kittens to encourage them to develop their neuromuscular coordination. Twig & Halo get their physical therapy at least three times a day.
We believe that Halo has compensated well enough that she is adoptable. However, Twig and Halo are very close and for Twig's sake we would not separate them at this time.
Halo and Twig have their own room and, as you can imagine, it is costly in employee time to care properly for them. Please sponsor them and help us to provide the love, care and attention they deserve.