About CH Cats

CH Kitty Informational Tri-fold

What is Cerebellar Hypoplasia?

Cerebellar Hypoplasia (cer·e·bel·lar hy·po·pla·sia) is a disorder found in cats and dogs which causes jerky movements, tremors, and generally uncoordinated motion, just like ataxic cerebral palsy in humans.  A cat with CH often falls down and has trouble walking or cannot seem to walk at all.  CH in cats is non-progressive, meaning it does not get worse with age.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia occurs when the cerebellum, the part of the brain which controls fine motor skills and coordination, is not completely mature at birth.  Symptoms of CH can usually be seen immediately at birth.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia is most commonly caused by the kitten’s mother contracting the Panleukopenia virus while pregnant. If the mother passes on the virus during the end of pregnancy, the kittens can be born with CH. Kittens with CH are not infected with or carriers of the Panleukopenia virus, it has only stunted their cerebellum’s growth while in the womb. Cerebellar Hypoplasia can also occur if a trauma, including malnutrition, occurs to the kittens while in the womb.

Cats with Cerebellar Hypoplasia are often euthanized, as people misunderstand the condition as being painful and/or contagious.  However, they have a normal life expectancy and are very affectionate, sweet, and loving.  They return the extra care they need with an intense love for and bond with their adoptive families.

The Truth About CH Cats

At this time, many veterinary and rescue professionals are still unaware of CH.  Many CH cats are needlessly euthanized before given a chance at a proper diagnosis and life, making it harder for awareness about the condition to grow.

Cats with CH:

  • Are not in any pain
  • Are not contagious
  • Have a normal life expectancy
  • Live happy, healthy lives
  • Learn to adapt their abilities and compensate over  time
  • Can be spayed/neutered safely
  • Need to be indoor-only & should never be declawed
  • May require no extra care, or a great deal of extra care, depending on their severity
  • Can be more prone to accident-related injuries, like chipped teeth or broken nails

 

Severity Levels of CH Cats

Mild

Cats with mild CH are very capable and require little to no extra care.

Symptoms:

  • Unusual gait (high step or waddle)
  • Occasional balance loss
  • May have subtle head tremors when excited or stressed

Abilities:

  • Walk
  • Run
  • Jump
  • Stairs

Special Care:

  • Cannot live outdoors
  • May prefer a modified litter box with high sides
  • Prefer carpet or rugs, but not a necessity

 

Moderate

Cats with moderate CH can get around on their own, but one end of their body may appear to be doing something else than the other end.

Symptoms:

  • Walk with legs splayed in a wide stance
  • Frequent balance loss, falls
  • Noticeable head tremors, especially when excited or stressed

Abilities:

  • Walk short distances
  • Expert climbers

Special Care:

  • Cannot live outdoors
  • Prefer a modified litter box with high sides to support themselves against; can be messier than non-CH cats
  • Have an easier time balancing on carpet or rugs
  • Raised food & water dishes
  • Modified furniture to protect them from getting hurt when they fall (e.g. adding bumpers)

Severe

Cats with severe CH cannot walk on their own and require a great deal of special care.

Symptoms:

  • Cannot walk or stand
  • Flip and Flop to get around
  • Constant head tremors

Abilities:

  • Expert climbers

Special Care:

  • Cannot live outdoors
  • May need help using the litter box;  prefer a modified litter box with high sides or pee-pee pads
  • Prefer carpet to help grip and propel themselves forward
  • May need help getting set up at their food dish
  • Modified furniture to protect them from getting hurt when they fall (e.g. adding bumpers)
  • Are ideal candidates for wheelchairs, which can help improve mobility and coordination

Resources

To learn more, or get assistance with a CH cat, please visit the following resources:

Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cats and Kittens Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/181495576436

Life with CH Cats Blog http://lifewithchcats.com

Wesley the Wobbly Kitten https://www.facebook.com/#!/fuzzy.butt.foster.pets

View/Print: Cerebellar Hypoplasia Handout
View/Print: Tri-fold Cerebellar Hypoplasia Brochure

128 thoughts on “About CH Cats

  1. My 2 year old cat, Tequila has a moderate case of cerrabellum. She usually is extremely active and wanting to play at any given time.
    I have a two floor apartment and she taught herself to walk up and down the stairs,jump on and off the couch and my bed after seconds of planning the distance of her landing spot so she won’t bump into anything. She runs very fast with a push from her back legs which looks like she’s half rabbit. My daughter named her Tequila, it certainly is a befitting name. I fell in love with her the minute we met.
    It saddens me to know that she could have been euthanized had she fallen into the wrong hands.
    I have spent over $2,000.00 in veterinarian bills two years ago when she ate a small ball of yarn. This wiped out my savings but she is worth more than any dollar amount to me.
    Two years since the last episode I think that I might be in the same situation yet again. The past two days She hasn’t been usual happy self. I fear that this is happening again but this time I don’t have the resources to get her help and I’m afraid that if I can’t afford a veterinarian visit with whatever else included that they are going to tell me that the only other option is to euthanize her. I can’t bear the thought of this!
    If anyone has any information on how I can get her some help with this, Please email me. It would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance,
    Jennifer and Tequila

    • Hi Jennifer, are you worried that your kitty ate yarn again or there is something else wrong? Many vets offer payment plans or payments via CareCredit or Chase’s medical payment card. These allow you to have no-interest payments over the course of 6+ months for the vet bill.

    • Update on Tequila? Is she ok? You can also send up a GoFundMe for her vet aid and try to solicit donations to help her on the Facebook sites devoted to Cats and Cat care.

    • (Sorry if this is the wrong place to pose a question).

      I found a possibly CH kitten running out into traffic near my house, about 6-8 weeks old (male, gorgeous calico).

      He has not been formally diagnosed, but shows many of the symptoms described here. A video taken of him running shows the swaying, unbalanced gait, and at times small tremors along his neck area and hindquarters. Do shelters accept CH cats (not euthanize them)? We are limited by our lease to our current 2 kitties, but are working on finding a loving home for him.

      He compensates very well if it is CH, is highly intelligent and playful, runs and climbs (falling doesn’t seem to bother him). I agree with Elise that trying to avoid him climbing is probably useless. I even think it may help him develop better coordination over time. But, since his little bones are still developing, is there a risk of fractures or injuries? A lot of flopping along with typical kitten behavior. He seems very aware of his physical surroundings and limitations, compensates well, and plays with my other two. Uses a small plastic litter box with clay litter, seemed already “trained”. Any advice is welcome.

      • Hi Kathleen, many shelters will accept CH kitties, others (due to space constraints) may euthanize them. I will reach out to you for more info and to see if we can help find a place for the kitten to go!

        • Hi Elise,
          I recently found a CH cat living outside and am unable to keep her myself due to having my limit of cats of my own. I saw your email to Kathleen and am hoping that you may be able to help me find a place for her to her to go also. My email address is: rhduffeck@yahoo.com
          Thanks, Becca

      • CH kitties live a very happy life. There is no reason to euthanize. but some shelters will due to space constraints. I would not take him to a shelter! Please, please try to find a special needs or CH kitty rescue in your area or better yet keep her if you can and give this sweet baby a wonderful loving home. God bless you.

        • I believe i have a 3wk old kitten with CH..Not sure if you are still looking for one. My daughter wants him but may change her mind after he get a definate diagnosis. He wont be ready for adoption until 8 wks old. We live in Port Orange, Fl. Near Daytona. My facebook has ton of pics. He is solid gray.

        • Hi Andrew,
          I have a CH kitty with mild CH. The owners are planing to take her to Animal Control, however I am trying to discourage that since I’m sure they will euthanize her. She recently had 5 kittens and at present only has one left. They were all killed by cars. They are not in a safe place. She is the cutest most endearing little kitty, and I can’t bear the thought of her being killed because she is a little different. She loves to run and play with her little kitten and they both have the sweetest temperament. I would take her myself but am fostering cats and can’t take on any more. I just stumbled upon this request while trying to find out a little more about CH cats. She is around 1 year old, doesn’t require any special care and her little slightly wobbly run will melt your heart. I hope you are still interested or know someone else who may want her and her baby which is a little 5 week old boy.

        • Hello, Andrew,
          I have access to a Ch kitty that is around 1 year old. Her CH is very mild. She loves to run and play with her one 5 week old kitten. The owners are planning to take her to Animal Control where I’m sure they will euthanize her. If you would want to take her, I will try to get her to you. She is adorable and her little wobbly run is so endearing. I can’t take her because I have my limit in fosters. My heart is breaking at the thought of her being euthanized for being a little different.
          Thanks,
          Becca

      • I was wondering where you live because I may be able to adopt hin.i have ch cat named Angel.her case is moderate but I am Used to the unusual cats

        • I live in Gaston County, North Carolina. Where do you live? My Ph Number: (704) 922-5004 I don’t have texting.

      • I was wondering get where you live as I’d be more than interested in adopting her. I already havemailed a “normal” calico cat so she’d fit in well.

          • I would also like to add that the little CH cat is about 1 year old and has no problems using the litter box. No accidents whatsoever. She has a very mild CH. Only wobbles a little when she runs and her head bobs a little. I guess that’s the reason she was able to make it living outside on her own.

  2. We have a 4yr old little boy cat with cerebellar hypoplasia, I would guess after reading the info above is moderate to severe, his name is Evan Alexander and my husband and I love him dearly. We rescued him after seeing he was being starved, mother either wasnt nursing him or he could not drink, the other two kittens the mother had were doing fine; so my husband and I started taking kitten milk over to the barn across the meadow from our home, to the little guy, at first he didn’t seem to be able to drink, we tried bottle and he just could not suck, then we tried a small bowl, his little tongue was barely able to lap it up as it was so short, once he was able to get some milk his mother stood beside him waiting for us to bring him milk every feeding, then she would allow us to feed him and he would go back into the barn behind a corn crib where we could not get to them. when he was 7 or 8 wks old we seen that his development was slow and his front metacarples would give way, he waddled when he walked and after eating he got a distended tummy from his starvation (before we found him); so we decided we were going to adopt him and took him in. Took him to the vet got his first shots, kept him seprate for 3 wks from our other cat til every test came back ok. He has since developed some his tail finally grew, he was finally able to eat a mousse kitten food my Royal Canin, we were absolutely thrilled. The vet didn’t seem to know what was wrong other then he said he had a cerebellar viral infection, this past week the vets away and he had another vet in covering for him and while having our other cat Ellie in I shared with this older gentleman vet about Evan and he told me Evan has Cerebellar hypoplasia, with out even looking at or seen my little evan or even looking at Evan’s chart.
    So a little info from the wonderful vet, I started this search and here I am.
    Thank you for putting this info out there, so now I see where my little guy is.
    his development has been slow, his head is two small for his body his little paws (front) give out on him and his hind end goes every which way, he can not climb or jump up or down, and his disposition can be nasty at times, ( but we absolutley love this little cat. my husband and I lift him up into our bed every night and in the morning we lift him down, when he wants to go up stairs we carry him and bring him down as he tried to climb down one day and fell. He has a modified liter box that he does not have to climb into as he can not and he goes pottie on a pee pee pad, he eats science diet the tiny bites. He is the cutest little cat you could ever what to see, he is our precious little guy to love and care for and I thank God for him.

    • thank god for u! my husband and I have a ch kitty. He is our world. We love him and have spent 2,000$ on different vets trying to find out what was wrong with Zippy do da. then someone posted a video on facebook. It opened our eyes! We have found a vet who is familiar with the disorder.He tried to jump off my bed last night and has hurt his rear left hip. as no vets were open he has had to wait til morning to see our vet.is it safe for ch kitties to be x-rayed?

    • I know this was years ago, but thank you for being such a kind, loving, and understanding parent. If only everyone was like you. I was hit by a drunk driver 10 years ago and am now disabled and developed CRPS from the injuries along with Lupus inherited from my mother that came on quicker due to the trauma and life changing injuries. I have been through hell and back at least 7 times since, almost being homeless many times. But the thing that is most upsetting is that now I can’t seem to find a way to devote my existence to helping cats. Which is all I have ever really wanted. Okay too much info sorry! But I’ve decided the next cat I adopt should have CH. It will be hard for me to care for her/him, but at least I will be making a difference in one cat’s life. I already have 2 rescues with severe anxiety etc due to being feral and neglected and watching their bio mother murdered in front of them. My partner won’t let me be a mum yet again and it’s so unfair. I’d leave if I could and adopt 5 more cats and love them and care for them every day. Except now that I cannot work I am dependent on my partner which is so not me. There should be a matchmaking site for cat parents….hmmm….

  3. Hey! I have a cat that has moderate CH. She is,about a year and a half old. In the beginning she had a normal time using the litter box. As she has gotten bigger, she has gone right outside of the litter box, like she thinks she is all the way in there but her back legs are not. The past few days though she has urinated everywhere else in the house..many feet away from the litter box. She poops in the litter box but for some reason she hasn’t peed in there. What do you think could be her reasoning?

    • Hi Marcie, I hope her situation has improved? With urinary issues it is always important to be sure they see a vet to ensure they don’t have an infection or other health condition causing the behavior. If her health check goes well, then you may need to experiment with different sizes and types of litter boxes, litter, and maybe try pee pee pads. Check out more suggestions on our FAQ page.

      • I have a CH male, Weeble. He’s 4 years old this past September. Anyway, he’s on special food to prevent urinary crystals because he’s had a couple of vet stays because of not being able to urinate due to crystals in his urinary tract.

    • I would try a few different litter boxes around the house if she is cleared for a UTI at the vet. Perhaps the litter is bothering her – you could try alternate litter choices (corn-based, etc…) and also try boxes with lower sides, higher sides, or even one modified to have a “walk-in” area like a beach, if it’s hard for her to get in?

      Also, be sure to get a cleaner with enzymes to clean up the areas she’s went around the house, so that she’s not attracted to previously urinated areas because of the smell.

  4. I was just asked to take a 6 week old kitten. Yes. She’s been cared for well for a month now, apparently alone when found at approximately two weeks old. Her symptoms are pointing toward ch, according to the vet she has seen. She is quite off-balance at this young stage. I am wondering, when and if I need to try some type of wheelchair/cart for her, who can I turn to for a donation of one? I am hoping she will settle in well here at my home, and continue to be as outgoing as she is now. I also hold onto a hope that it may not be CH, since apparently you need an MRI to determine that definitively. I hope with time, nourishment exercise and love that she will get stronger and steadier. We will see. She was called, Happy. We’re going to stick with that. Thanks.

  5. I had a cat, Teddy, born with cerebellar hypoplasia and he was totally blind. I took him to a vet when he was 8 weeks old expecting to be told I “should” euthanize him, and will always be grateful the vet said that was not necessary. A neighbor worked for a store that sold stove supplies and she brought me two 4′ stove pipe boxes. I taped them into a long tunnel. The sides were just wide enough to keep Teddy from falling sideways. That became his “early childhood” rehab equipment. He loved it, and would rocket through the boxes elated to be able to run without flopping over. It really helped him develop his muscles. He was a joy in our family for 17 years and was otherwise healthy. We still miss him. Thanks for educating the public on this condition. These cats do make wonderful family members!

    • I’m making something similar to your “rehab” equipment tomorrow for my newly adopted CH kitten. What a great idea! I hope I’m blessed many years with my cat as you were with yours. Thanks Margie! *high five*

    • Could you please send a picture of your rehab equipment? My cat gave birth to 5 kittens. The four are normal but unfortunately, one has severe CH. 🙁 I’m researching now about my kitten’s condition. The kitten is just 2wks old. Please e-mail me when you can or for anybody here who can help me take care of my kitten. abigail_mendoza1013@yahoo.com.ph.

      Thank you!

      • This confuses me as my daughter has adopted a CH junior cat aged 9 months and was advised it was a problem with the mum during her pregnancy but I don’t understand why it would not affect all of the kittens ?

        • Hi Chris,
          Unfortunately there hasn’t been enough research about CH on why it might impact only part of a litter of kittens…it could be because even though the kittens are the same age, their bodies develop at slightly different paces (the runt might have mild CH, but the other kittens are unaffected)…though that is just my speculation.
          -Elise

    • I love this story ! Thank God for that vet. Why can’t they all be like that? They’re like Nazis here. They have no problem murdering anyone who is not their definition of normal. Thanks for being such a good parent to Teddy.

  6. I have been given a cat with ch and am having a heck of a time with the cat box any hints other than tall walls. Will she get better at walking as she gets older.

    • Hi Cynthia – cats with CH will often seem to improve as they grow and get more practice and control of their (in)coordination. There are many things you can do to help with the litter box, most CH cats have a preference of what they like to use. Try different sizes of boxes, different heights of litterbox walls, a fully enclosed litterbox (such as a rubbermaid bin with a hole cut in the side), as well as different types of litter. Depending on her severity, she may prefer to use a pee pee pad instead of litter. You can also try to help her by establishing a potty routine, in which you take her to the box and help prop her up, on a schedule, multiple times per day. You can check out more suggestions on the FAQ page, too 🙂

  7. Hi All,
    We have a 7 month boy with moderate CH. He is hands down the sweetest cat I have ever had. His main issues are his head tremors when he gets excited, I have also noticed that is he always very interested in observing what is going on around him. He will just sit with his head cocked to one side watching me do my daily things for hours! He is also quite the eater! You would think he’s starving! But nope, just very intense about his meals lol. The only issue we have had with him is getting him to use his litter box. We have 3 other cats, 1 of which is his mom so he surely knows how to use it, but getting him to use it has been quite the difficulty. Another issue is his breathing. I have noticed when he sleeps he wheezes..yet he is extremely active. Has anyone else ever had a similar issue? He has been doing it for as long as I can remember…I suppose since he is getting fixed next week I will mention it to the vet.

    I must say, our little Bobs is quite the inspiration. He radiates joy and happiness. He never denies cuddles, and he is always there giving you his “curious look” which never fails to put a smile on my face. I was always so worried about him when he was a baby, but it is such a relief to know how happy of a kitten he truly is.

    🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your story 🙂 Many CH kitties have litter box ‘issues’…the trick is just finding the right solution for them. Just keep trying different litters, sizes/styles of boxes and you’ll find something that works for him. If all else fails, most will use peepee pads or towels too! As for his wheezing, hopefully the vet could help you figure it out?

      • My little CH furbaby will only use shredded paper in his litter box, We have also added an extra litterbox underneath and put drainage holes in the top box to allow for the urine to drain into the bottom tray (bottom tray has a layer of kitty litter to absorb liquid), this means it is less smelly and my Hogan doesn’t have to get his paws wet. Just an idea if all else fails.

      • Hi
        You didn’t say what breed your CH kitty is but mine is a burmese and due to their short snouts they tend to snore or wheeze when relaxing/sleeping.

  8. Very glad to have the information provided on these pages. Our sanctuary, which is primarily equines, also is home to other animals. Someone brought us a kitten approximately 4 weeks of age that was “flopping around on a neighbor’s lawn”. No mama or siblings anywhere in sight. He was thin and frightened. Started him on good cat formula with a bottle and he is now eating – I do provide elevated dishes, but sometimes hold and support his head. He is an ardent player, finding joy in his reflection, blades of grass, etc. I dearly love him and hope he has many years at the sanctuary. I am an RN and bring him to work with me – one of our residents loves him dearly and holds and cares for him when I am doing my job…..thanks for the information. I will join the listed facebook page

  9. I looked up this page because my friend’s cat just had a litter and one of her kittens has this. Gizmo is the most adorable little ball of fuzz I have ever seen, and I wanted to comment that he is unusually smart. He’s about 7 months old now, and can give high fives when we ask, (although sometimes he does it with his nose) and he (tries to) sit when you ask him to. It’s sad to watch him try to go outside, though, because he bonks his little head on the glass door. His siblings are mean to him too. 🙁 but he’s a very happy kitty who adores scratches on the belly.

  10. My CH cat just died today :'( I just can’t stop crying..my little kitty was 3 year old. He had a severe case of CH, couldn’t walk on his own not at all. We adopted the little one when his mother abandoned him. He was the cutest little pet one could ever imagine. I can’t stop my tears right now. Thanks for sharing awareness about the CH cats. It can really help alot of people. And I must say, These cats are so special they deserve kindness and love. I really miss my cat :'(

    • So sorry to hear of the loss of your dear one, Mariam.
      There is a wonderful website called “The Rainbow Bridge”. If you have not heard of it, it’s a wonderful source of comfort for grieving kitty owners. Full of peaceful, happy thoughts, prayers, and memories to help you and your baby feel still connected. Try it, you’ll love it.

  11. I am so sorry for your loss. I agree that these are the most precious cats in the world. I have a CH cat named Sparky. I actually came to the site for the first time today looking for information about geriatric CH cats. Sparky will soon be 17. I adopted him when he was a tiny kitten. He is an orange tabby and I have been told that they (even without CH) are quite vocal, but Sparky has become much more so in his old age and I worry that he might be trying to tell me that he is uncomfortable. My vet assures me that he just has elderly kitty dementia, but is a big worry anyway. Sparky is undoubtedly the sweetest cat I have ever had. My current other cat Gilbert hangs very close to him and they spend a good part of each day snuggled together. I am glad that I found this site, because once Sparky passes on, I will make every effort possible to give a home to another CH kitty. I really hate to think that such cats might be overlooked as adoptable because of their challenges. In my mind and heart, it makes them all the MORE loveable and precious.

  12. Wow! I haven’t been on this website in over ten years. I’m pleased to see how far it’s come. My cat Sally will be turning 15 this year. She is such a joy! Her gait is the same as ever, which can be really funny as her back feet try to pass up her front feet at times. She can do everything most cats cat except climb onto the furniture. However, she does not see this as a needed skill as she is surrounded by lovely places to nap and family that includes another cat, a rabbit, a toddler, a dog, and of course her mom and dad humans. Her favorite things are her dad, her beanie baby fish, and cheese.

    We did have a few months recently when she was not dealing well with her seizure medication. (She is legitimately epileptic.) That caused her to stay in her bed and need to be carried to the litter box. We have done water physical therapy in the bathtub, which she absolutely hated! However, now she’s walking and playing again. Tough love wins! 🙂

    I would be interested to know how old everyone else’s CH kitties are. We hope to have Sally around for many more years.

  13. Hi all! I’ve just brought home a 9 month old female kitten with CH and it appears to be mild. I was surprised to see that she is able to jump on and off my bed. I’m aware that her disability makes her more accident prone, so I try to keep an eye on her when she attempts to jump on and off. My question is, is she causing any internal damage to herself if she’s able to land fine? Or should I discourage her from jumping off the bed all together? Thanks!

    • By the way, she is such a sweet and loving kitten, and it saddens me to think that I almost overlooked her because of her condition.

    • Unless she is taking big tumbles and falls, she most likely isn’t causing any damage internally. Some CH kitties want to be as independent as possible and trying to keep them from jumping on/off furniture can be worse than just letting them do it. If you are concerned, you can create a landing area of blankets/dog pillows next to the bed and cover any surrounding furniture corners with some fabric to help soften any uncoordinated falls.

  14. Hi, I have a 6 month old kitty (Martini) that I adopted after her mother abandoned her in the yard. I believe she is a CH kitty since she can’t stand and gets around by launching herself forward and flopping from side to side until she manages to get near her goal. She uses potty pads…sort of lol… she’s pretty good for a while then she seems to forget to go to them.

    She recently started having severe behavior swings where she seems to get extremely scared or tense or irritated…i’m not sure. She will growl, scream, hiss and lash out when I talk to her or touch her. She seems to be very sensitive to touching of her tail or back legs as well. I can’t tell if she’s in pain or if this is just a symptom of CH. I’m scratched and bleeding all the time due to her tantrums and the fact that she’s always been prone to bite and claw..even while purring.

    There has been a change in the household as well and I think part of the problem may be related to that. We have 2 new kittens in the house that I picked up from the local Wal-mart where they had been abandoned in the parking lot. Some times she seems to be interested in them as they run around and has even made her way over to where they were playing, but once close, she just starts hissing and growling and is unapproachable for some time afterward.

    Does anyone know if this is usual CH cat behavior? And if so, what can I do to help her not stress out like she does? Is there medication she should be on? I hate seeing her get so freaked out like that and she has severely bitten and scratched me when I’ve tried to comfort/calm her. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I love her to death but I’m having a hard time dealing with the violent behavior.

    • Hi Michelle,

      That is not behavior related to CH. Can you try separating her from the other kittens to see how she does in a room of her own? Additionally, if it is stress related, have you tried Feliway plugins?

      You may also wish to look into feline hyperesthesia, which is a sensitivity to touch. http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_resources/HyperesthesiaSyndrome.cfm

      Good luck – please keep us posted! If you are on facebook, please also post your concerns there as there are tons of active members who can help https://www.facebook.com/groups/CHcat/

      -Elise

      • Thanks so much Elise!

        Martini is actually doing better recently. I did keep her separated from the kittens for several days and let her initiate any contact with them after that. She still has her moments but I feel that some of her behavior issues were possibly related to the fact that she was entering her first heat cycle. I plan to have her spayed but I was hesitant due to the way she gets around, fearing she would open her incision. She uses her abdominal muscles for every effort at getting around so I just needed to speak with her vet to be assured she would be fine.

        Regarding the Feliway…I actually have some of the spray and I did spritz that around her “area” to try to help relax her. I think it works but it’s very short term.

        I do wonder if there is a better alternative for her litter…since she does like to “dig” and “cover”, she often will pull the potty pads up from the litter pad holder or move them around so that she ends up urinating on the floor or holder and then ends up wet and smelly with urine. I hate to subject her to full baths but she gets far more than she appreciates. Is there a specialty litter pan that would work better? Or should I try using a box of some sort with one side cut down?

        Again, thanks for the information and suggestions!

        • Glad to hear she is doing better! I find the Feliway diffuser works much better/more consistently than the spray. Maybe a custom litter box like this might help her?
          CH Litterbox Modification

        • I found a 4 wk old male kitten that had fallen out of the attic where the feral mother had her litter of three. We go up there regularly to feed the cats and the ladder is broken. He sees the fall. He had crawled under a bookcase (this is a law office). He was screaming his head off. I thought he was upstairs. When I found him my heart just broke. His eyes were “glued” shut with green drainage. He raised his face to me as I cuddled him and was trying so hard to open his eyes. I took him back up the stairs and called his mom over to see what would happen. She grabbed him and took him to her nest. There were two other kittens that were much bigger and normal. The mother would not let him nurse and she ignored the other kittens as well. He got up and staggered toward the ladder opening again. I looked at the mom and thought for about a minute and took him down with me. I cleaned his eyes out and my partner in cat care bought some antibiotic ointment in as well as some kitten replacement milk. I found him around 11 pm so I didn’t have any milk or anything. He was shaking but I just thought he was cold and dehydrated. I am an RN but was not aware of this condition. I have nursed many a litter and I am a preemie nurse so that didn’t hurt. I gave him some goat milk I had and he took it with a syringe.
          When I took him to the vet the next day the vet diagnosed him with CH. I think he is moderately affected. His head shakes and his balance is poor. He only weighed 269 grams (1/2 lb) when I found him. I had to syringe feed him for over a week he couldn’t suck on a bottle. I finally got him to eat AD Scuence Diet food but he would face plant right in it. It was hysterical. Of course I had to keep him clean and especially his nose He has a hard time washing himself si I wonder if I should bathe him? He is now about 11 wks old and cleans a little more but I can’t decide about the bath thing. He doesn’t get his back very well and he has long hair. He uses his litter box pretty well now. There don’t seem to be any accidents of pee on the floor anymore. He is able to hold himself upright to defecate although he shakes quite a bit. I have a 10 year old Burmese female that is not to happy about him but she dies play with him and he chases her. So he is able to run. He can climb up to the bed with the help of a scratching post. He can’t get down though. So here are my questions:
          He refuses to eat kibble (is that normal?). I realize most cats prefer wet food but when I have to work I would like to leave kibble out
          He wasn’t drinking any water at first but I got a fountain and that solved that problem. I also use an elevated bowl. That is much better for him.
          Should I bathe him? Get him used to it now.
          I use Feliway for the Burmese bonding thing. Cat Fairies is a great place for flower drops etc. They have the best catnip spray and toys when the spray is in stock.
          If not for the vet educating me on this disability I would have put him down. He is ver affectionate and loving. I named him Simon. He has a small kink at the end of his tail so he probably had development problems in utero.
          Thanks for this great site. It was difficult posting this because he has been trying to “help” me. I will post a picture if I get accepted to the FB site.
          Again, sorry for the long post but it’s nice to talk about him to people that understand.

          • Thanks for saving Simon and giving him a loving home! You can bathe him if he gets messy in the litterbox, that is pretty common for CH kitties 🙂 He may not like eating kibble if he feels like his nose keeps bonking the ground. Perhaps try a softer, silicone bowl to see if he prefers that? Something like http://www.ezpzfun.com/happy-bowl-in-coral/

  15. My boyfriend rescued 4 kittens that were abandoned by their mother. we have to boys and 2 girls and are between 3.5 to 4 weeks old. The boys seem to be doing just fine but one of the girls, the little grey one, started not being able to walk very well if at all. It started Friday afternoon, she became very lathargic and not really moving or taking the bottle when we tried to feed her. they said her glucose was between 70 and 76 so they gave her something to try to help boost her glucose. She seems to be doing much better though she can’t stand very well and doesn’t walk but she will lay on her side and scoot around with her back legs (she can’t hold herself up with her front legs). The vet said that she definitely has a neurological problem but it is hard to tell if it is CH. How she moves around looks similar to the moderate to severe cases of CH but she also seems like she gets so frustrated that she can’t move so she mostly lays on her side and sleeps a lot. She does have the wobbly head and can kind of lift her head up and slightly move it side to side but she still has a floppy neck. She was able to eat some moist food with formula mixed in however I had to feed it to her on a spoon as she can’t keep her head up long enough to eat it off the plate. She also seems to be having a hard time pooping even with the stimulation but she she did poop when the vets gave her an enema to get her unblocked. I want to try to find out if she does actually have CH but a CT scan or MRI is expensive…..I also want to try to get her a wheel chair so she can sit up and move around instead of laying on her side all day.

    The other girl started having the same symptoms Friday night, however she started not even be able to scoot around. We took them to the vet Saturday and the vet said she also had a neurological problem but her glucose was 40 so they gave her something to boost her glucose. When we brought her home, it was feeding time and all of the others ate but the other girl , the little black one, refused the bottle. She wouldn’t even hold her head up, seemed to be breathing very heavily and just looked like she was giving up. We took her back to the vet and they said her body temp was low and her glucose had shot up to 200 and her breathing was very heavy. We had to make the decision to let her go to sleep so she would not be any pain.

    The two boys seem perfectly fine. They are able to walk around, eat on their own, and poop after a little bit of stimulation. They are able to play with each other and they are very good brothers to their sister (and other sister when she was still here). They are all able to groom themselves though the little grey girl has a little bit of trouble now.

    All of the girls’ symptoms seemed to come on very quickly (they were both walking around the first 2 days we rescued them then they suddenly started not being able to keep themselves up) but the three remaining are all doing very good. Does anyone know how to get it checked if the remaining girl actually does have CH without having to get a CT scan or an MRI done? I really want to be able to keep the little girl (I would love to keep them all but I know the boys will definitely get adopted) as she is a sweet heart and a cuddle bug but is a little feisty when she tries to move but gets frustrated.

  16. MY NAME IS AARON IM 8 WEEKS OLD MY FOSTER MOM BELIEVES I HAVE CH BUT SHE DOESNT HAVE THE FUNDS FOR THE MRI TO CONFIRM I SHOW ALL THE RIGHT SIGNS… MOM SAID SHE IS GOING TO SET UP A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT AND GOFUNDME PAGE JUST FOR ME… PLEASE FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK prayersforaaronkittywithch@gmail.com . MOM HOPES TO RAISE AWARNESS SO CH DOESNT HAVE TO BE A DEATH SENTENCE

  17. We just adopted a CH kitten a few days ago from the animal shelter and love him so much already. He is a very mobile CH kitten and loves running through the house, but he has very bad depth perception. He keeps running full force into the wall and table leg, we’re afraid he’s going to hurt himself really bad one of these times. He also keeps jumping up and flipping himself in the air (batting at imaginary objects), and landing on his head. Any ideas on how to get him to slow down a little? 2nd question, he’s either running full speed through our house or he’s sound asleep, there’s no in between down time yet. Do you have any suggestions on how to play/interract with him? (That perferrably doesn’t trigger him to get excited and run through the house and into the walls) He can’t play with cat toys because he can’t see them. We have also been keeping our older husky mix away from him, because he likes attacking our dog’s big fluffy tail. Any ideas of how to play with him, or what object he might be able to play with, besides my dog’s tail?

    • Hi Leanne,

      I would try padding his play area up as much as possible. Hopefully as he grows and gains more coordination, he’ll stop running into the walls and furniture so much. He probably just has so much pent up kitten energy. As far as toys go, have you tried a tail-like want toy, since he likes to play with your dogs tail? Something large enough for him to focus on and go after/grip: http://www.amazon.com/SmartyKat-Swishy-Tail-Interactive-Feather/dp/B00EZTC5VO

      He sounds like an adorable boy! Good luck!
      -Elise

  18. Hi Everyone,
    I’m on the hunt for insight regarding cat/cat aggression in CH cats. I bring CH cats into the rescue I work for whenever I can, and usually have a relatively easy time finding them homes. One of my current shelter cats has moderate-severe CH, and she’s just the sweetest, loveliest thing (to people) on the planet. She was adopted by a volunteer who fell in love with her, but after several months made the painful decision to return her after accepting that she could not safely live with his current senior cat. He’s very cat-savvy and I worked with him extensively, but we weren’t able to do anything to even reduce the problem. Her attacks on the other cat were always of a distinctly offensive nature and relentless. If confined to a particular space, she would dart out, sprint to find the other cat, and attack to a serious degree. Once separated from the other cat, she would turn back into the human-loving purrball she usually is. I realize that particular cats just surprise us by revealing that they really really don’t want feline friends, but the complete lack of response to any behavior modification techniques or gradual introduction struck me as unusual. Today, (while bringing in an adorable 9wk old CH kitten,) a staff member at the municipal shelter I was visiting happened to tell me about an adult CH cat she had known that had displayed nearly identical behavior with another cat in the household. (Not just cat/cat aggression, but the specific type of aggression.)
    Has anybody experienced anything like this? Can a part of the brain that affects social behavior be affected by CH? Is it a reasonable hypothesis that increased competition with littermates etc for resources can occasionally cause some CH cats to have a negative association with other cats? Is it just a coincidence that the two cats I’ve come across with these issues both have moderate-severe CH?
    I want to make clear that any information I can find won’t ever be used to discourage anybody from adopting a CH cat, and realize that in general they can be expected to peacefully live in multi-cat households. I just want to do anything I can to understand this one who is in my care so I can do best by her. I would also love if I could give the volunteer who adopted her any insight I can as to why this happened with his cat despite our best efforts.
    Thanks in advance for any insight you have to share!
    Carly

  19. My cat, formally named Twitch because of her tremors and such. We took her to the vet at 6 months old to make sure she for sure had cerebellar hypoplasia and she does! Moderate. She now lives with her brother, step sister and cousin in an chicken coop that no longer has chickens. I’ve now been questioning if she cannot see, or is starting to show the signs of blindness. Might I add that it’s quite dark inside the coop and I’ve been thinking of hanging a light in there for them. (the cats can’t come in the house because of my mothers boyfriends rules) – When I open the door, she tends to look around crazily and spin in circles while meowing. Then she full jumps at you. I’m not sure how to tell if she is beginning to be blind, or if her eyes just haven’t adjusted to dark/light quick enough.

    Any suggestions?

  20. Can CH accompany other medical conditions? I have a tiny 5wks old make kitten that the vet has confirmed as having albino qualities, has a form of dwarfism, and the best way to describe his head and face is that it looks like he has a nose that is nearly two separate noses and his eyes are very widely spaced. He’s eating well and growing every so slightly. His symptoms of CH are extreme.

    • Yes, CH can accompany other conditions, though it’s also possible his other issues are causing symptoms that mimic CH. 5 weeks is pretty young to gauge what his mobility will be like as he grows and gains more muscle tone and coordination. From what you are describing, I am envisioning his face may look like Monty’s (https://www.facebook.com/Montyboycat/?fref=ts)? Thank you for rescuing him!

  21. Just found this site which is a mine of information about CH cats. I volunteer at the local cat sanctuary and Henry was just three months old when I fetched him home. I would say his CH is moderate but I don’t really treat him any different to my two other cats. One of them gas taken a real liking to Henry and plays with him a lot. My cats are indoor cats and Henry has a very big pen which I put him in at night and at meal times but most of the time he is out and about with my other cats and small dog. He is very playful and active and has a lovely sweet nature. Henry is very clean and uses the litter box somewhat messily at times!! I have to wash his rear end regularly as he tends to flop over and fall in anything he’s done!! Apart from this he us very little trouble. I shall have him neutered at six months old. My vets were very interested in him and he was passed round for inspection….lol. I needed another cat like a hole in the head but couldn’t resist him! Although we do our best at the sanctuary I know his life with me will be so much better.

  22. “Kittens with CH are not infected with or carriers of the Panleukopenia virus, it has only stunted their cerebellum’s growth while in the womb.” – This cannot be true and should be corrected on this website.

    I picked up two kittens (Wobbles and Boots) from MDAS at about 4 weeks old. They were likely brothers – as they were dropped off together and looked the same age. Wobbles showed all signs of CH when I picked them up, but I was not familiar with this condition or any viruses at the time. About one week later, Boots didn’t have much of an apetite, so I took them both to the shelter to get tested. They both tested positive for FPV (Panleukopenia virus) and the shelter wanted to euthanize both of them. I couldn’t accept this as the last kittens I was fostering also got euthanized. So I took them to an animal hospital and the nice nurse gave me everything to try to keep them alive. The next day, Wobbles showed no signs of being sick. He was joyful and playful so I had to separate them as Boots was quickly deteriorating and getting worse. Miraculously Boots survived the 5 days of the virus until his immune system kicked in and created antibodies to fight the virus. I am certain that Boots contracted the virus from Wobbles, as Wobbles was still a carrier and contagious. They now both have the antibodies, and will never catch the FPV, and after several months they should no longer be contagious to any other animal.

    It is imperative to separate all cats that show signs of CH from other kittens in the litter that might have not caught the virus in the womb and are still susceptible to catching the virus (especially when they are taken away from the mom). A cat that catches FPV in the womb will likely survive as the mother’s milk and antibodies will protect the kitten. However, a kitten that is away from the mom and catches CH has very little to almost no chances to survive the virus at such a young age. Plus there is no need for it to suffer this horrible virus if it can be avoided.

    I still have Boots and Wobbles and they are both doing great, and are about 1.5 years old. Wobbles has a moderate case of CH, and Boots fully recovered.

    • Hi Anna, Panleuk is not the same thing as CH. Panleuk is very contagious, I agree, and kittens should be separated to avoid it spreading. However, not all cats with panleuk develop neurological symptoms like CH. CH itself is a neurological condition that results from the cerebellum being underdeveloped, most commonly from the mother cat having panleuk or getting vaccinated while pregnant. CH itself is not contagious, it is a congenital disorder. I hope this helps clarify your concern.

  23. Hi, yesterday me and my son went to the humane society to adopt a kitty we had seen online. When we got there yhey told us that kitty had been adopted so we walked around looking at the other kitties they had. We found a kitty that looked a little different named Tucker after just a few seconds of petting the little guy we were in love even though we knew something was different about the little guy. So we went in and told one of the ladies working there that we wanted to adopt Tucker, she told me that he was going blind and that he had a sleep disorder and we told her that was fine we still want him another girl came up and told us Tucker is her favorite and that he is special. Once we got him home last night I was reading through his paperwork while him and my son were playing and in the vet notes I found that they had checked Tuckers eyes and everything was normal and that they suspect that he has CH. He apparently walks into walls sometimes, which is why they thought he was going blind, he has a strange walk, plays in his water dish and has tremors in his sleep, he was monitored for seizures and they ruled that out. In just the short time we have had him we have definitely fallen in love with him he is the sweetest most trusting kitty I have ever owned and he knows that we are his people! He startles kind of easy but gets over it fast, if I get up to go into another room he stops what he is doing to follow me to see what I am doing, he cuddled with me in bed last night and seemed very happy to see me loving on him when he woke up from one of his tremors. I am sure that we will have some obstacles with him so any advice would be great. my email is danylle225@yahoo.com
    Thank you

  24. Hi all, I’m fostering a 5 month old moderate-severe CH kitten and have absolutely fallen in love with her. It’s just inspiring to see how this disability doesn’t stop her from doing or at least trying to do everything the other cats do. I would love to be able to keep her but… my 2 older boys, Pip and Domino, who are 4 1/2 years old, don’t approve of her. I’m not sure they even realize she’s a cat, lol. Both boys have started spraying in the house even though they were neutered at 8 weeks. Has anyone else had this problem and was able to solve it? I’d appreciate any advice. Thanks

  25. Hi, I have a kitten that is about 6 months old now with moderate to severe ch, we got him when he was 3 weeks old because my boyfriends dad found him outside trying to get to his chicken feed, he asked if we wanted him and we took him. Right away we noticed his head would wobble and he couldn’t walk straight and would fall often. We took him to the vet and they told us about ch. Smokie is a very special kitty and we love him so much. He goes to bed and sleeps in the bed with us and he gets up when I do. I am happier now that I have him, he brings me so much joy! I would hate to think that someone would euthanize such a special kitty, there is really nothing wrong with him he is just special in so many ways and I wouldn’t take anything in this world 4 my smokiecat!

  26. I have a 8month kitten with moderate CH. In few days he stopped seeing, now he is blind. For my VET this is the result of CH condition and itsn’t possible to do anything. Did you experience something similar, please help me. Thanks and Your pardon for my english

  27. Several years ago the most awesome cat showed up at my apartment building. My sweetie and I noticed he had a funny walk and we assumed it was from an old injury as he showed no signs of pain or distress. We petted the super flirty little cat every time we passed him, but noticed after a week he was declawed and didn’t seen to be leaving our building. Assuming he was lost (who lets a declawed cat roam?!) we searched the local lost/found ads, checked for a microchip, but no one posted anything remotely like him. After a month of keeping him indoors and searching for his family we finally gave into the most amazing cat ever and gave him a name, Pecker Tiburis Jones. Pecker now spends a lot of time complaining that he doesn’t get treats 24/7, flopping directly in front of you for pets, sleeping in armpits, and occasionally being possessed by demons and running around at 3am for no reason. I often wonder what kind of person chose to loose the coolest cat I’ve ever met, but I thank them as well!

  28. Good Day! I have a newborn 5 kitten yesterday. 🙂 They’re all healthy but there’s 1 kitten I’m not sure. He has a soft Lump on the top of his head and I’m not sure if he trully have an CH. well I’m worried because he wants have space from his siblings and I nurse him today to drink milk from her mother but he’s not feeding. it’s like his big head making him weak. I’m afraid because this is the first time I need to nurse a kitten. Do you have any suggestions/tips on how to care for him. He’s only a newborn kitten. I don’t want him to waste his Life.

    • Hello, can you get the kitten in to see a vet? I would suggest continuing to encourage the kitten to nurse every hour to 2 hours and if she’s not then you’ll need to syringe or bottle feed. She’s probably too young to make a diagnosis of CH and I’ve never heard of a CH cat born with a soft head. You may also want to look into Hydrocephalus (check out SHAHS rescue if you need more info on hydro!)

  29. We just lost our sweet little “Frippie” this last Wednesday we had to put her down after she was diagnosed with large cell lymphoma. It was frightningly aggressive. She fought hard for a month, recovered well from the surgery to remove the tumor and ruptured bowel. But the cancer was just too aggressive. She would have been 17 in June. We never knew about CH cats until very recently. We were under the impression/diagnosis that she went too long without air during the birthing process. I can’t verbalize how loving and sweet a personality this cat had. By reading these posts I’m sure you all understand though. She fell asleep in my armpit or lap for 16 years. Our house is not going to be the same.

  30. I have recently (2 weeks ago) adopted a 9 month kitten with CH.
    He’s beautiful, very vocal (especially at meals times or if he can’t see but knows I’m around). He started showing some difficult behaviours, throwing himself at me and wanting to claw or chew me, lately I tried diverting his attention by looking into his eyes & distracting him from jumping at me, it has worked well so far..Are there any other ideas to support CH kittens with behaviours like these?
    On the plus side he knocked his treats off the table and ran away with them in his mouth..Now that’s a skill for my little bobble head if ever I saw one!

  31. I know of a CH cat who does live outside. He was tossed out at a barn a friend owns. He has been hit by a car because he can’t get out of the way fast enough. My friend being the animal lover she is feeds all the strays, let’s then sleep in the barn and if necessary will take them to the vet… as she did for him when he got hit.
    I wish I could bring him home, he is such a love, but my mom would kill me if I brought another animal home.

  32. I had a cat with this disorder , he was the best cat I ever had , he passed away 2 years ago and I am just getting over it and ready for another cat like Roy so they don’t get put down. I received Roy as a kitten from someone who was going to do just that because he couldn’t walk. I got to walk run , and walk up and down stairs and play,he enjoyed life more than anything. He had a stroke and died and I did not know that could happen,but he had a very good life for four years. Had cats all my life , lived on a farm 19 years , and Roy was the best cat I ever had by far . Please help me find another .
    I am 62 and retired so I have plenty of time. Thank-you Melissa Mages .

  33. My cat Tye is right around 9 years old. We were fostering her mother for my Aunt and Uncle, as they wouldn’t have been able to keep track of her. She had 4 surviving kittens, the runt passed on a few days after birth, and all 4 were normal. They walked and played and behaved like normal kittens. All but Tye found loving homes, that weren’t our own. When she was old enough we took her to the vet to have her spayed, and when she came back…it was like the anesthesia never wore off. I love her to death, and it really makes no difference, but I was wondering if there is any possibility that it could be cereblar hypoplasia? She has trouble walking, falling over every 1-5 steps, and constantly bobbles her head, especially when she is focusing on something.

  34. my vet has a rescue kitten who they say has CH. she is about 4 weeks and was found at the local tax office, very thin and dehydrated. She does have tremors but when calm and hold her she just purrs away. I am considering fostering her with possible adoption, she is the cutest thing and my heart goes out to her. it will all hinge on my cat whether she will accept another kitty in the house. Tookie is kinda passive aggressive toward other kittens I’ve fostered, she will growl and hiss but back off unless they keep bothering her, then she will give them a few quick pops with her paw and she’ll go her way. Tookie is a rescue and about 11 years old, I’ve had her just over 3 years.

    I would hope Tookie would sense something different about the CH kitten and her mother instincts would take over.

  35. Hi everyone! One of my in laws cat gave birth to 7 kittens 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately 5 have went to the big cat nip forest in the sky. Their is one kitten that has gotten our attention. My IN laws think the cat might not be able to walk and be in pain. The cat is not showing in pain. He has a wide stance with his back legs and wobbles I think it’s CH.

  36. I lost my severe CH kitty hours ago. She was 7. I had a cart made for her but she preferred to be carried around. I had her trained to use the toilet since she was a baby and she traveled with me everywhere. I am so used to caring for her I am in shock.. I know I did the best for her, she was so special. I have to face the world today without her and it will be wierd. These cats are beautiful.

  37. In May my 11 year old Maine Coon suddenly died. He yowled and collapsed. I rushed him to the vet and 38 minutes after he collapsed he died from a blood clot to his heart. My house was much more lonely without him and my 6 year old cat named Kitten was clearly missing his friend that had been there all of his life.

    So after months of contemplation I decided I needed to get another kitten. About 4 weeks ago I adopted a 12 week old CH kitten from a local rescue. His name is Gizmo. I looked at hundreds of photos on craigslist knowing that I would know the right one when I saw him. The picture of Gizmo sucked me in from the start. The CH was a bonus. As a mother of a 21 year old daughter with cerebral palsy and autism a kitten with CH was right up my alley.

    The family that fostered him told me that they bathed him several times a week due to litter in his fur from falling into his messes in his box. Gizmo is a long haired cat so moisture plus clay plus long fur does not make a good combo. They told me they had been using a mixture of clumping litter and non clumping litter. However when I was at Petco I decided to try the odor free (pink) crystals to see how he did. I also gave him a box of regular clumping litter. He prefers the crystals and in the 4 weeks I have had him I have only had to give him 3 baths (two of them were in the first week and one today because he decided to use the clumping clay litter box for some reason). Anyway my point is that the crystals may be an option for some of you to try. They don’t seem to stick in the fur the way clay does. They are a little more expensive ($14 for a bag) but one bag seems to last me about 3 weeks. I clean his box once in the morning before I go to work and once in the evening when I get home. I also like that the crystals seem to dry up the poo keeping odor down and it doesn’t seem to break into pieces (with pee clumps) like clay litter does. Now if only my adult cat would use the crystals I could get rid of the clay all together….

    ** Note- I have found that a flea comb (no he doesn’t have fleas) works great for combing out stray pieces of litter. I tried fancy double sided brushes and whatnot but a good old metal flea comb works great. I just use a paper towel to clean the tines of any fur/litter and comb on. It keeps him soft and clean and gives me some great bonding time every day.

    One other point – when I brought Gizmo home my adult cat (Kitten)was not very happy. I was surprised because I thought they would get along but neither cat seemed to like each other. For the first week I kept them separated unless I was in the room and able to strictly supervise them. I did site swapping with them where Kitten would be locked in the bedroom with Gizmo in the living room then when I was at work I would switch them. Over the course of the week things slowly got better. Now Kitten and Gizmo sleep together and I have multiple heart warming videos and photos of Kitten cleaning & taking care of little Gizmo like a big brother should. Gizmo bounds after his brother looking like a little gazelle with his funny jumping gait. They wrestle and play and I am so happy I took the time to slowly introduce them forging a strong bond.

    Lastly about safety. Gizmo is a climber and has stopped my heart a couple of times when I have seen him in some pretty high places that he really should not be in. He tends to do this boneless slithering thing to get down from high surfaces like the couch or the bed. I watched him for patterns and found that he usually dismounts in the same spots so I have placed some inexpensive pet beds at the base of those locations. That way when he lands he has a soft surface to hit. I placed my shower curtain INSIDE the tub after catching him scaling it one day. I have put down a couple old towels on the kitchen and bathroom floor so he has something to give him traction on the vinyl. Rugs would work too but towels are easier to wash.

    I am happy to pass on any ideas I come up with. After 21 years with my daughter I have gotten pretty good at creative problem solving!

  38. I have a 6 year old cat with cerebellar hypoplasia. His name is Jett. I call him my little Clydesdale because of his walk. He has trouble jumping and judging distances, but other than that he leads a relatively normal life. When he was a kitten he required some extra care to learn to live with his disorder, but that extra care only created an amazing bond between us. Now he sleeps in my bed every night, and he always tries to be right beside me whenever possible when I’m home. He even gives me head butt “kisses” all the time. Jett truly is a special guy

  39. I recently inherited a 9-yr old cat with ch and she is really sweet and generally very capable. She is veeeeeerrrry vocal and I’m wondering if that’s something other folks have experienced with their cats with ch? Thoughts?

    • I would suggest visiting a vet to have her thyroid checked out. Many older cats develop hyperthyroidism, which can be easily treated and allow them to live full, healthy lives.

  40. Hi. I got a little kitty from one of the parents at my child’s school. She was the runt of the litter and I didn’t know it until I brought her home. I noticed she was very wobbly and could not go up or down the stairs or climb up on anything. So we took her to the vet and she also has vision problems as well but has only mild CH. she is by far the best cat I have ever had. She is 2 years old now and has been able to adapt to her surroundings. She can climb up on my bed and the couch using her claws to latch on. She cannot climb up on anything else which makes it really nice. I would have another cat with CH again at any time.

  41. Hi. I have a CH cat called Gizmo who is 6 now. She has had urinary tract infections on and off but these last four months it’s been a constant trip back and forth to vets for injections, syrup and tablets but still not cleared it up. Is this common in CH cats? Any advice would be grateful. Many thanks.

  42. We adopted a kitten about 2 months ago – Liam Andrew. When we got him, he was malnourished and had both an upper respiratory infection and eye infections in both eyes. We quarantined him in one of our bathrooms, where he slept most of the time (he had no energy to play and barely purred when petted and loved on). We did notice he was a little unsteady on his feet but assumed it was due to all the mitigating circumstances. After the URI and eye infections had cleared up, we allowed him to join the other kitties in our house. The first night he was out with them, we witnessed him having what we thought was a seizure. He was having uncontrolled muscle movements, but not wild like the seizure videos of cats I watched on youtube to determine if that’s what it was. The movements were strange but static. I got it on video and showed it to our vet; she doesn’t think they are seizures. She suggested the possibility of CH but said she’s never heard of a CH cat having these seizure-like episodes. She does think his unsteady gait and occasional topples to the floor are consistent with the condition, though. So, my question is this: could these seizure-like episodes be part of the condition or something else unrelated?

    • Hi Stephanie, would you be able to pass along the video? Either via a youtube / vimeo link or email to adoptachcat (at) gmail (dot) com

    • My kitten Gizmo does something that looks like a seizure but in reality I think it is due to his CH. When he concentrates on something he “vibrates” for lack of a better word. It is almost like his brain has to focus so much on movement that when he is really focused on something he loses a little bit of control of everything else. It doesn’t seem to impair him in anyway. Once his focus moves elsewhere the movement goes away. I have a daughter with a seizure condition and used to run a daycare for special needs children. To say I have seen a lot of seizures in the last 20 years would be an understatement. I feel pretty confident I would recognize one in my cat. If the episodes don’t seem to effect him (i.e. not exhausted and lethargic after one, doesn’t compromise his safety, impact his ability/desire to eat, etc…) , then I would just accept that these movements are just a part of who he is and love him the way he was made.

  43. We recently found a CH kitten on the street. Unfortunately he has a severe form and cannot walk by himself ans also needs help going to the bathroom and eating. We already have 2 other cats and a dog, so we tried to take him to a local no kill shelter. They told us from the get-go they will put him down … what horrible people they turned out to be! Anyways, next stop was the vet down the street for a first check-up (not the one we usually take our other babies to) and the doctor told us we’d better save our money since the kitten will die soon anyway. He is with us now for 3 days and seems to be doing much better every day. No recoup on his movements, but his overall state: he eats well, pees and poops, plays and enjoys caresses and kisses. Definitely he’s not dying any time soon – idiot doctor! We have an appointment to our regular vet for tomorrow and will get more details on the kitten. I was wondering if any of you have some experience with kittens that had severe CH and you know if he will ever be better. I am not expecting miracles, but it would help his quality of live if he could move by himself from point A to point B eventually. Also, do you know any organizations or shelters that could take care of him and not kill him?

  44. Can someone please let me know if there is an organization that is doing research into CH. We lost a “community” kitty, and I would like to make a donation in his name.

    Thank you!

  45. Hi,

    Really hope someone can help, we are really struggling with our 27 week old ragdoll Cookie,

    In and out of the vets for 6-7 weeks now –
    Cookie has been to the vets again for more bloods and a chat with our Vet (never a great sign, when they invite you in for a ‘chat’) suspected FIP … but signs of severe CH

    We have 3 options ….. 1. Do nothing and accept the fact she has severe CH and the incontinence and diarrhea

    2. Take steroids to see if it perks her up and stops the incontinence etc then she can deal with having no balance and learn

    3. Have the spinal tap, (removal of fluid from back of spine) at a very high risk, she could die under anaesthetic or as she comes around, and you will only be testing to confirm whether she has or hasn’t got FIP diseases which in incurable and terminal anyway ….

    Jon the vet has suggested we try number 2 …

    I just don’t know what to do?

    Her CH is so severe – but she’s happy! eating, purring, drinking, playing … its just heart breaking – struggling to cope with bathing her every day, putting a diaper on her and keeping her locked away just in case her nappy comes off and we have a big mess (I have another cat and soon a child) – so that’s not ideal and if she does have FIP, well that’s another story! 🙁

    It all comes down to her quality of life and also ours, I guess
    We have tried all the test, her bloods have gone to Bristol uni for testing …

    I obviously will be happy to continue all the love and support for cookie having severe CH, but as she is incontinent both ends … is it any life to be had?

    Please help …..

    Hollie x

  46. Hi! I have been scanning the internet to find a group I can ask advice about my CH kitty, Thomas. Feeling so desperate because seeing him struggle makes me very sad. He is the most adorable, loving little boy. I just love him so much. He is a rescue so I don’t know his birth history. When I adopted him, he was probably 12 weeks old, he was a normal, very energetic kitten. He fitted in with my other cats and became best of friends with Layla, another rescue I adopted before him. Layla was an adult cat I rescued from a shopping centre near where I live. Anyway Thomas and Layla would play for ages, running jumping and having such fun. I adopted Thomas last year and as I said his behaviour was normal. Earlier this year I woke up one morning and he had scratched the back of his neck so badly overnight. All the fur was pulled out and it was a big red, inflamed sore. Vet diagnosed it as atopic dermititis (sorry not sure of spelling). He was treated with cortisone and it took almost 2 months to heal. During this time he developed a bladder infection. Thomas is very scared of strangers so the vet had to sedate him to diagnose and treat him. While he was sedated he was tested for Feline Aids and Diabetes which both tested negative. Shortly after this he started to walk funny, falling over etc. I was hoping it was an ear infection but that was ruled out. Vet says he has CH. I have done a lot of reading on CH and most of the information says cats show CH from a very early age. Thomas was at least more than 1 year old when it started. He is also highly allergic to flea treatments like Frontline. It immediately affects his nervous system and his symptoms worsen. So I now dose him with tablets. He is also very thin although he eats often and loves his food. Is it normal for CH cats to be highly allergic to topical flea treatments and to be thin? Could his symptoms be something other than CH? Would really appreciate some feed back. I live in Durban, South Africa.

  47. I just want to encourage all you people out there… I have two CH kitties (brother and sister). Carmy is moderate-severe and Gigi is moderate. They make a Godawful-mess with the litter box, but other than that they are pretty normal. I use a corn-based litter which clumps less than clay (so it doesn’t stick to them so much) but still does the job.
    They love to play with super balls,which is their favorite toy, and Christmas decorations which Gigi gets out of the tree and then passes on to her brother!

    This is my first experience with CH kitties. They are absolutely adorable and I hope they will be with me for a VERY long time..

  48. We have a 4 year old (named Zazzie) with mild CH. Her CH was more moderate when we first got her as a kitten. She was much clumsier. We had no idea she had CH. We just thought she was a clumsy cat. Now that she is an adult, her CH has gotten kess noticable. She walks a little funny (bow-legged in her hind legs, so she kinda waddles) but other than that, you would never even know she had CH.

    She was born to a mother who had panleukemia but was asymptomatic. And her mother passed the disease to all her kittens including Zazzie. The symptoms did not show up until 2 weeks after we adopted her. We got her to the vet just in time. And she of course tested positive for panleukemia. Our vet was so nice and agreed ro take her home with her to keep her quarantined and give her around the clock care. She had to stay at the vet’s house for nearly 2 months but she survived! Our vet was amazed because she had never EVER seen a kitten that young (she was 10 weeks old when she was diagnosed with PL) survive panleukemia! We are so glad she did though! We love her so much!
    Zazzie’s 5 other littermates that were adopted by other families didn’t get treated in time and they all died :'(

  49. Hello all!
    I had a few questions that you guys would hopefully be able to answer. I work at a vet office and in October we had three kittens come in (I believe around 6 wks of age). They came in with severe upper respiratory infections. At the time they were living as outdoor kittens amoung other strays at a barn. We spoke to their owner and asked if we could keep them in our care. We then kept them for a few more months treating them with different eye meds and antibiotics. The largest one (who never really been touched with the illness) got adopted. The remaining two were doing wonderful but due to the severity of the URI each kitten has one eye that looks rather odd. We don’t believe they see much out of it but have been informed that it does hurt and they can live full happy lives. They ran our clinic and lovrd every minute of it. We adopted them out and after a day, had one come back to us not able to walk without falling over. He was x-rayed and we found no broken bones. However, I am concerned as he is on steroids and antibiotics and isn’t showing huge signs of improvement. He can walk and attempt to run. I walked behind him while he did a few steps but I only allowed him to do a few. My questions are: Can Cerebellar Hyperplasia show up around 5 months of age? Can it be caused by possible trauma? If we don’t know their history (such as mother having a disease) can it pop up later in life? I’m unsure what happened to him once he was adopted to a family but it doesn’t quite add up. Any info helps. I’m just trying to learn more to help my little guy. Thank you!

    • Hi Lily, sorry to hear the kitten isnt doing well. CH is always present from birth, it doesn’t come up later in life, even with trauma. Our FAQ page has a list of conditions that present similar symptoms. Hope you can identify the cause and get him healed up soon!

  50. My kitty I adopted ended up having this. She isn’t even one yet but today she seems worse then yesterda . She doesn’t really want to move at all but all the days before it Wasn’t an issue. Its just so sad

    • Hi Angie,
      I strongly recommend getting your kitty in to see a vet. CH is not progressive and would be present from birth. There are other conditions which can mimic the ataxic symptoms of CH that are progressive and need veterinary care.
      Hope your kitty feels better soon!
      -Elise

  51. My cat has a mild case of CH but, doesn’t play at all. It’s like he doesn’t know how to. He is now a year old and I’ve only seen him play twice and even then, it was only for a second and with a cat half his age. He has also recently not been able to keep his food down well. Is he getting dizzy from the wobbles and throwing up or could there be something more serious going on?

  52. Hi.

    I have a Moderate CH cat who is 4 yrs old now, and who also deals with a form of FHS which causes him seizures. My question is not about his health. He is healthy and well fed gets around but can not use a litter box.

    My question is that do you have recommendations or pages to read, on what can be used to provide stimulation for the cat. He can not climb or see outside, but I am wanting to provide stimulation for him so as he is comfortable and enjoys his life to his fullest extent.

  53. Hello. Thanks a lot for this website! it helped me to understand and assured me in my actions.
    I’m from Eastern Europe and we took from street such CH kitten when it was 2 month. it was quite difficult to understand and diagnose his problems.
    Now he is 8 month old, and he has moderate CH.
    He’s very active and tries to climb everywhere, but he has problem jumping off…
    He just fall down when trying to jump off. His health is stable now. But I’m really afraid of that he may have serious a head tremor one day. 🙁
    Maybe owners CH cats have experience that some such cats may learn how to jump off in safer way…
    Thanks a lot!

  54. Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone has any tips/resources for finding a good home for a severe CH cat in the Boston, MA area? He belongs to my mother, but she has brain cancer and won’t be able to take care of him any longer nor can I :(. Thanks

  55. Hi from the uk.

    We got a kitten last year and when we picked her up the owners didnjot show us the mother, which we thought was wierd but decided to get the kitten and leave. A day later the kitten (tinky) was walking around and running around like any normal little kitten but she would not rest one of her hind legs. Regardles what she was doing she always kept her left hind leg up. I obviously checked the leg to see what wrong but it looked fine. I gave it a few days an she eventualy stopped doing that. Fast foward to january this year she slow very slowly started becoming unsteady on her hind legs and it started off with the leg she lifted up when we first got her. Then progressed to the other hind leg. The vet prescribed her a cocktail of meds to try and cancel out any possibilities. She is currently prescribed steriods because the vet feels she might have a cist or parasite on the brain thats affecting her motor skills. Today both legs started spassaming if thats how you spell it, which is a change in symptomology. We felt the steriods had stabilised things up until today when both legs would push out and spasm uncontrolably. She is pretty much imobile and cannot walk. I try and help and lift her up so she can walk but she just falls down. Took her to the vet today and they said that she needs an MRI that would cost the grand price of £3000. My mouth dropped and had the fearful thoughts that most pet owners have. So i decided to do my own research and it seems to me that my cat probably has CH. She is unsteady on her hind legs struggles to climb the stairs, just generaly is always sat down becauee she cant lift herself up.

  56. I had a cat who was on the severe side of this I’ll I ness.. She was born premature.. Had no hair at all.. When she was only 3 months old she stopped growing.. our baby girl was extremely tough.. And I loved her so much… She was very special.. Because we were afraid to leave her alone we took her EVERYWHERE we went.. Every person who met her loved her.. We had two cat sitters just in case we couldn’t take her with us.. She was never left Alone.. When we got her bag out she knew exactly what to do.. She would go over to it and get right inside.. She never tried to jump out..
    Gabby was unable to walk without falling, she had to be helped going potty.. If we didn’t help her she would have it all over her, she was unable to climb or jump… However she was a pro at running.. That’s the only way she would be able to stay on her feet.. When she ran.. She always ran sideways.. She couldn’t run straight.. She also couldn’t make meow noises..
    Gabby was very strong and she taught us a lesson to never give up and never cry over your situation because someone else could be a lot worse off… She was our hero..

    We had her for 5 years.. And during that tine she stole our hearts.. Sadly we did put her too sleep.. But it was pur last decision.. We woke up one day and she had a huge seizure.. That las test for about 2 min.. So we tool her to the vet.. They did testing and found that she has developed a tumor.. The doctor informed us that it was probably cancer and even if it wasn’t cancer that it was still a fast growing tumor.. And that they could remove it but they wouldn’t be able to get all of it.. They explained that the tumor would grow back and it would get bigger.. Causing her to have more seizures and maybe even in pain.. Our vet said why Dont you take her home and think about what you want to do.. So that’s what we did.. We brought her home on a Wed.. And Thursday she had 4 seizures.. And that night she was beside herself.. She started biting and clawing us. Something she has never done.. We were thinking that she was in pain and that she wasn’t recognizing us or something.. So we took her back.. And they ordered some seizure medication and pain meds.. By the following week the doctor wanted to see her again to make sure that she wasn’t suffering.. They did testing again and in a little over a week it was bigger.. And her seizure was lasting longer but not as many throughout the day… By the their week I knew something had to be done.. We were thinking of surgery.. Yes, it would of prolonged her life.. But at what cost.. And how long would she have had before it started to grow back.. Her system was already weak.. I wanted so bad for the right answer.. Was I keeping her around for me & my husband that would of been very selfish of us.. On A Wednesday morning I woke up and Gabby was not herself.. She always had problems with moving around and stuff like that.. But on this day she couldn’t even get up.. She was on her side dragging herself around the living room.. Her eyes were rapidly moving side to side and she was trying to make sounds.. I knew that day what I needed to do.. My husband and I took her back to the vet and he said her tumor was almost the size of a large gulf ball.. (She was the size of a 3 month old kitten.. So that alone told me a lot).. I asked my vet if Gabby was your cat what would you do.. He said I would let her go.. She is now suffering everyday..
    Gabby’s vet had been with her since the day she was born.. Everyone in his office loved her and knew that she was a special little girl.. I had a few offers through out her lifetime for adoption if I no longer could care for her.. That day there wasn’t a dry eye in the vets office.. Our vet was even upset.. But knew what was best even though it was heartbreaking..we with her from her first breath to her last.. She was loved..
    Gabby is now in our yard under her favorite tree.. Her head stone has her full name and the date she was born and the day she passed away..
    It says to our little angel thank you for showing us how to live life.. You will never be forgotten and will always be loved.. Rest in peace baby girl.. You are now free

  57. Hi there,
    I have been raising a kitten since he was about 5 days old. He is now about 4 1/2 weeks old and I think he may have CH. Luckily, I work for a vet but he is not convinced this is CH at this point. The kitten, “Muffin Man”, is fairly ataxic and tends to knuckle on his left front foot and trip fairly often. He has definitive head tremors. I started becoming suspicious when he wasn’t progressing as a normal kitten would. He still walks like he’s 2-3 weeks old and has very poor muscling and weight gain. He has had on and off loose stools (which could be totally unrelated since he was formula fed and has had a recent diet change to adding kitten food), has had several negative fecal tests, is currently negative for FeLV/FIV. He has learned to use the kitty box and rarely misses even at his young age. He is having a great deal of difficulty learning to eat from a dish so he is still bottle feeding primarily. He becomes frantic right before he takes the bottle in by clawing at it, shaking his head and crying so there are times I don’t know if he wants it badly or if he is trying to push it away. Once he has it in his mouth he usually settles down and becomes blissful and extends his front legs in the air or just pretend eats if he doesn’t really want it. I am concerned that although he is eating and he is getting bigger, he doesn’t seem to be gaining much weight. I would like to know if you can tell me if the symptoms he has other than the ataxia and tremors (poor weight gain, poor muscling, frantic reaction to the bottle, trouble learning to eat and drink from a dish, etc) can be normal in very young kittens with CH. I understand that this could be a good number of other problems but I am trying to figure out if this is going to be a kitten that is going to survive or not. I also understand that ultimately it may be that only time may tell but that is very frustrating. We don’t see many kittens here with CH so it is fairly new to me and I am just now really starting to research it. If this is CH or anything else where he can lead a good quality life then we will of course keep him and love him dearly – I just don’t want him to suffer or waste away if this is something more nefarious. Thank you so much for any help or direction you can give me.
    Diane

  58. In September I adopted twin CH babies. Seth has mild CH. Seth does wobble some when he walks and can lose his balance if I pet him too hard. Seth also is not very good at burying in the litter box.However he can jump up and gets down really well. Marshall is closer to moderate. He tends to wobble over alot and can not jump up. He also doesnt come down well. However Marshall is good at burying and can climb well with his claws. Both of my boys do well eating and love to play. They are equally affectionate. For Christmas my mother got my cats (I have 4) a tall cat tree. Marshall has fallen off it numerous times sometimes very hard. He has hit my desk and it took him a minute to get up. My reclining chair is on one side of the tree and I put pillows around the other three sides. Usually both of them jump into the chair and then down to the floor. But they also try to come down the front and it seems Marshall always misses the pillows. I worry about Marshall getting seriously hurt and I think about removing the tree but it seems unfair to the other three kitties who love it. Am I being over protective as others have suggested or am I being stupid keeping the tree? Is it ok to remove the pillows as they get in the way? Second issue. Right now I have 5 litter boxes in the main floor of my house. I clean them regularly but it is still unpleasant. I have a basement but I feel fearful letting my twins down the stairs. I worry they will wobble off them and the floor is cement. The basement is used for storage and I just see so much they could get into or fall off of. My second choice is I have an upstairs that isnt being used. The stairs again are a concern. They cant fall off them but they sure could come down them hard and they are wood. Again I am being told I am being paranoid and over protective but am I? Should I just let them go down the stairs and just trust it will all be ok or am I right to block those areas off and just deal with the boxes being where they are? I feel guilty that my older boys can’t go down to the basment like they use to because of course there is no way to let them down without letting the twins down .
    Just needed to get this out with those who have ch cats that can shed some light hopefully . Thanks!

  59. What are the complications or a CH kitty getting pregnant? If so, does her disability effect the babies?
    Are there more benefits to getting her fixed aside from population management?

    • Depending on the severity of CH the cat has, they may not be able to properly birth or care for kittens. I can’t emphasize strongly enough that you should never allow a CH cat to get pregnant. Besides population management, spaying also lessens hormones, making kitty have less desire to roam or to be territorial around other cats. The biggest benefits are medically, spaying and neutering is proven to help cats live longer, healthier lives as the risk of mammary gland tumors, ovarian and/or uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated, especially if done before the first heat cycle.

  60. My girl passed away in 2014, and she may have had a mild case of CH, she would crack us up when I’d play with her and she’d get so worked up about that darn feather that wouldn’t stay still…and her head and eyes would go crazy for a few seconds, then she’d get back to focusing….then again the head wobble would hit, made the hubs and I laugh so hard! I miss her, she was a rescue from the life a homeless cat, she was born under a neighbors porch, she was with us for over 12 years.
    If she did have CH….I wouldn’t change a thing about her!

  61. Hello! I work as a vet tech. Someone dropped off a little kitten to us yesterday that they could not care for. Estimating about 4 to 6 weeks old, definitely malnourished, and he only has one eye. Given your scale here I would say he is definitely a severe case of CH. My question to you guys is have any of you had any luck getting these guys to walk on their own or anything like that? He’s sweet as can be and definitely a little warrior, he wants to live! My co-worker and I have definitely taken a liking to him but I can’t adopt him due to other circumstances. Would definitely appreciate any help or advice as far as trying to get this little guy moving on his own other than thrashing around!

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