Monday, November 29, 2010
Quite a Cat
Thanksgiving is over but what fun it was. Family came in from far away places. Friends dropped by to say hello. And my grandcat kept me company.
This is my son’s special needs cat. He has what is called cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition that affects the balance part of the nervous system. An underdeveloped cerebellum means that the cat is uncoordinated and has problems walking. He zig-zags as he walks from one place to another and might end up in a different place entirely. He wobbles a lot and often falls, sometimes banging into a wall or landing on his back. He has trouble climbing up and tends to tumble, thunk, when he tries to go down. Whenever he is focused on something, like eating, his head bobs up and down involuntarily, which makes dining a messy proposition. If he feels insecure he will flop over on his side and reach out with his claws. Or if he is being petted and gets tired, since he can’t easily jump away, he will sometimes nip. It is his way of communicating. Our son has scars that testify to his cat’s communication skills.
When I first saw him as a kitten, I marveled at his beauty but wondered how he would survive. His disability did not stop him from exploring his world and relating to my son, however. He is now a senior citizen, somewhat slower but still active. When he visits he loves to sit in the chair in my home office and purr his contentment as the sun warms him, like any cat. I have come to love him and appreciate his courage. All in all, he is quite a cat.
I find it interesting how everyone, whatever the species, whatever the circumstance, finds a way to adapt to and engage in life.
If you want to know more about cerebellar hypoplasia check out this website: http://www.helium.com/items/1412679-cerebellar-hypoplasia-in-cats-causes-and-symptoms