Emily Hall is the face behind the blog, Kitty Cat Chronicles. She began writing after adopting her first cat, Delilah. Emily and her husband enjoyed the antics of their cat so much they wanted to share it in a blog. The family has grown to five felines. The youngest is Sophie who was born with special needs, but leads a full life thanks to the gift of patience and understanding provided by her family.
By Emily Hall
Sophie “Weebs” has cerebellar hypoplasia. This means that the cerebellum part of her brain did not develop all the way before she was born, resulting in incoordination and wobbliness. She is considered to have a mild-moderate form of CH, which means she can get around pretty well and can eat and use the litter box just fine; she just stumbles and falls sometimes, walks a little funny, and has trouble jumping. She has to climb up onto furniture most of the time. When she does jump, she resembles one of those rubber popper toys from back in the day – she can get a surprising amount of air when she puts her mind to it, but she doesn’t have a whole lot of control over where she lands. All of those issues aside, she is one of the most happy-go-lucky animals I’ve ever met, and she loves to play more than anyone.
It’s been almost a year since we adopted Sophie. In that time, she has made an amazing amount of progress. When we first adopted her, she wouldn’t jump much, and she fell over in the litter box a lot. We had to give her baths almost daily, sometimes multiple times a day, because she would fall over in the box and make big messes. If we knew she was heading to the litter box, we would follow her and hold her up while she went to the bathroom to keep her from falling over. If she wanted up on the couch, she had to climb, or we would pick her up. If she wanted up on our bed, we would have to pick her up and put her up there; it was too high for her to even climb. Today, she can go in the litter box on her own every time – she has figured out how to lean up against the wall to hold herself up. She can jump up onto the couch with (almost) no trouble. She can jump up onto our high bed without any assistance. She has even learned to climb stairs! I’m not saying she can do any of these things perfectly or gracefully. I’m not saying that we don’t sometimes help her. What I’m saying is she has figured out how to do so many things that she couldn’t do before, things that most kitties can do just fine.
Sophie has taught my husband and me so much about life. She is a disabled, special needs animal. She has trouble with a lot of things that “normal” cats have no trouble with at all. She falls, stumbles, trips over her own feet, and can’t hold her head still. But despite all of that, she loves every second of her life and never lets any part of her disability get in the way of her enjoying herself. She always seems to have a smile on her face, even when she wipes out while running down the hallway. When she falls, she ALWAYS gets right back up like nothing happened. She doesn’t even seem to notice that she’s “different.” Sophie has never once let her disability stop her from doing something she wanted to do. She just goes for it, whatever it is. And eventually, she always accomplishes her goal. I admire her, and I think we could all learn something from her determination and bravery. Not to mention, she is one of the loviest and snuggliest kitties around.
Read more about Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia at The CH Cat Community.
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