Feline cerebellar hypoplasia (often referred to as "CH") is a non-progressive, non-contagious neurological condition.
"CH" is a condition affecting the cerebellum of a kitty's brain - this is the portion of the brain that influences fine motor control. So, kittens who have CH will have poor coordination, like jerky or wobbly movements when they walk or run and possible head tremors. This can happen to a greater or lesser extent in each kitty individually and Joa’s Arc has seen it range from cats barely able to walk to a very minor case where the kitty just had extra "swag" (her back end swayed a bit when she walked).
A kitty with this condition can have a good quality of life if given protection from accidents - these cats will be clumsy and must be protected from stairs, for example. They absolutely MUST NOT be declawed as they need their nails to help them hang on when they slip or fall. Cushions should be placed under places from which the cat may fall (window sills, etc.). It is a good idea to use untippable food and water bowls and a litter box with high sides but a low entrance area. These cats also absolutely be kept indoors for their own safety. CH cats seem to be unaware that they are different in any way and therefore may attempt feats that could be dangerous for them, but they seem to lead very happy lives.
No matter the severity though, life expectancy is not affected by CH.
The symptoms of CH generally do not worsen as an animal with it ages. In fact, many seem to improve with age as their muscles form more and often the cats will learn to compensate to some degree. This is a lifelong condition though because there is no treatment for the condition.
Still not convinced Fox and kitties like him don't make amazing pets? Here are some quotes from people who have known, loved and been owned by CH kitties:
Deb M wrote about her experiences with a CH cat - "Shakey has changed our lives the past 8 years. Watching her grow and learn everyday and we swear she is more amazing and cuter everyday. Shakey has opened our eyes to special needs animals which has inspired us to advocate for Cerebellar Hypoplasia and to help save CH Kitties and spread the word for people to open thier hearts and homes to these amazing animals. We could not imagaine our life without a Cerebellar Hypoplasia Kitty in our lives!"
Helen K had this to say, "They Teach You Love & Pateince & Control & Respect.. I Dont Know How I Ever Lived WithOut My CH Babies"
Elise M, an advocate for CH kitties, added, "They say 'someone's trash is another person's treasure.' I can't imagine a more perfect description of my CH kitty, Nanako. At 5 weeks old, she was discarded like trash into a dumpster. Two years later, she is the light of my life"
10 Reasons to Adopt a Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cat
Consider adopting Fox, an amazing little man ... or a CH kitty in a shelter/rescue waiting for someone like you.
"Betty's wise-acre, can-do attitude taught us more than we ever imagined. I can't imagine what life would have been like had she not shown up all alone in the middle of the street no bigger than a hand." - Ruth B