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Meet Topper, a Catalyst Pet with Cerebellar Hypoplasia

Meet Topper - a new addition to the Catalyst Meow-dels! Topper got his name because he has Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), which mean he can easily “topple” over. So, what exactly is CH, and how does it impact cats with this condition?  

What is Cerebellar Hypoplasia?

Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH) is a birth condition where the portion of the brain that controls coordination, balance, and fine motor skills is not properly developed. The most common symptoms of CH are uncoordinated walking, mild head tremors, and tremors when standing up, jumping or playing. There are three levels of severity:

· Mild – overall a very capable cat with subtle head tremors and some unbalance

· Moderate – a cat that walks with splayed legs, has frequent falls, and noticeable head tremors

· Severe – a cat can only walk a few steps without falling

It’s important to note that CH is not a painful condition. It does not worsen and our resilient kittens learn to adapt over time. Plus, the condition doesn’t impact a cat’s life expectancy – they just need a little extra love and care!

If your cat has CH, make sure to adjust your home based on the level of severity. Some helpful tips to make sure your CH kitty has a healthy and happy life include keeping their claws a bit longer so they can easily latch on to carpet or other surfaces for stability, keeping them inside, providing large litter boxes with easy access, and having baby gates and rugs throughout the house to help prevent slipping and falling. CH cats will run, climb, and play just like any other cat.

While CH cannot be treated, it can be prevented by making sure female cats are vaccinated against panleukopenia prior to pregnancy. Pets with medical problems are the second hardest group to adopt out, behind senior animals. CH cats are just as loveable and adorable as non-CH cats and make a great addition to your furever home!

Topper’s Story

Topper is a three-year-old black cat with moderate CH. He was adopted to be a companion to his big brother, Po. When his cat moms, Kelsey and Heidi, went to the shelter one Friday afternoon, there were more than 50 adoptable kittens. Although each was adorable, none felt like a match. When they returned Sunday, Topper was the only kitten left. Topper immediately let them know he wanted to be a part of their family and they took him home without a second thought.

After doing quite a bit of research, Kelsey and Heidi made adjustments to help keep Topper safe, happy, and healthy. They padded sharp edges, put up baby gates, built ramps and invested in rugs. Topper has also learned to adjust. When he wants something but needs help, he will stand next to said item and meow.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia

He’s a cuddly love bug and “the prince of their hearts” who is living his best life! Despite his wobbles and tremors, he loves to play and romp around the house just like his big brother, Po. He also LOVES his dog sister (who doesn’t always feel the same way about him), his donut tunnel, and chasing string!

Opening up their home to a CH cat has been the best addition to Kelsey and Heidi’s family. Consider a CH cat the next time you’re looking for a furry addition to your home, and make sure to look for more news about Topper on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok!

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