Spotlight on CH Kittens

by Hilary Bentley • Posted in: Awareness/ PR, Pets Needing Homes, Special Needs Pets

With kitten season in full force, every Austin Pets Alive! adoption center has kitties of all ages to choose from. But for those adopters who might be looking for something extra special, we do have disabled and special needs kitties in our program looking for homes. You might not see them as often because they tend to stay in foster care until their medical conditions are stabilized and become manageable for adopters. We really do have some amazing kitties and when you read about how these somewhat minor issues could have ended their lives, you’ll understand why APA! steps up to rescue them. This is the first in a series of blog posts about APA!’s special kitties that are up for adoption.

In August of 2010, we first introduced APA blog readers to  Cerebellar Hypoplasia (or CH) and a bottle baby named Willie. Well, this year, we have three CH kittens to tell you about, but first thing’s first:

What is CH?

Basically, it’s an underdeveloped cerebellar, which is a complex part of the central nervous system tucked in near the brain. In both people and kitties, the cerebellar is responsible for sending messages from your feet as well as from the middle ear to the rest of your body. This information helps you deternine up from down, and where your body is in relation to the things around you. A CT Scan or MRI will be the only way to definitively diagnose CH, but the signs are well-known by veterinarians, and to observers CH kitties just look unbalanced and clumsy. CH is typically caused when the mother of the litter is exposed to the Feline Distemper virus during pregnancy.

CH kitties are entertaining, funny, and just as adoptable as other cats. They just have a little something “extra special.”

Meet the Kittens:

Jasper! He is an awesome little kitty, mostly white, but from Siamese litter and looks like he’s thinking about being a flame point – orange on his tail now, and a hint on his ears. For Jasper, Cerebellar Hypoplasia means that he shakes all the time except when he sleeps.   But he’s a super sweet bottle baby alum, he uses the litterbox by himself, and he tries to groom himself.  He’s also super cute playing with toys and other kitties.  He doesn’t require any medicine, or feel any pain.  He is a tiny bit messier than other kitties right now, but he’s still a baby.  His foster mom has taken some video to see Jasper in action:

Tinker! He has an interesting background. Tinker and his 3 brothers were discovered by someone with a weedwacker when they were about 2 weeks old. Tinker sustained some cuts on his legs, all of which have healed nicely! He and his siblings were raised as bottle babies, so he has grown up around people, teaching him to be a darling little social guy. Tinker will endear himself to you immediately with his purr, his playful manner, the socks on his feet, and his funny way of lapping up water! He loves to play with his brothers, balls, toy mice, wand toys, even his scratching post. Then, in a typical kitten-like manner, he needs a nap to rest up for more rowdy & rambunctious playing. Come meet this little stinker today! Tinker’s CH is very similar to Jasper’s in that he shakes.

Tinker’s foster mom has taken these videos so you can see how he moves and plays:

Cricket! Cricket is so very happy to see people and loves being with them so much that she will meow at you when you come into the room! She likes cuddling, but she’s also playful – she bats at strings and climbs around on her kitty towers. She also loves to play with the dogs in her foster home! This is a plus for many adopters with dogs.

Cricket’s mom shot this video:

What do CH kittens need in their new homes to live long, happy lives?

At first, these kittens will need to be introduced to their new homes gradually so that they can learn their surroundings and not injure themselves. Starting them off in a bedroom or bathroom is a great plan, and then monitoring their play in areas that might lead to initial injury, such as stairs. CH kittens might also need low-profile litterboxes, available at pet stores. Plastic bins from Target can also be used as litterboxes and cut down on one side for easy entry. CH kittens might need a few more blankets and pillows in their play areas until they learn their surroundings in case they topple over.

For more information on adopting a CH kitten, you can email email hidden; JavaScript is required to get in touch with Jasper’s, Tinker’s and Cricket’s foster moms to learn more about these kittens and their needs.