Reader Chris Knight-Griffin should restore our faith in humanity according to the information given in his “Photos of Readers” contribution. His words are indented:
I recently decided to adopt two special needs cat to add to the one I already have. Each of them have Cerebellar Hypoplasia (HP). This basically means their brains did not fully form in utero—usually as a result of a lack oxygen during development (or so I am told). Aside from wobbly walking they are normal, extremely loving, playful and friendly. Charles, the black and white kitten [JAC: below] is also blind in one eye. I share this as a reminder that these loving little kittahs need homes and with the holidays it’s a good reminder to adopt from, or donate to, your local shelter.
He sent a photo of Charles (second picture), and I asked him if that was a “special needs” cat, too. His answers, and more information:
All three are special needs. All three have HP. (Google search for videos.) The shelter has their names as Greg and Bobby (Brady), but that will change as I see their personalities emerge. Charles was found as a kitten this summer, the other two are brothers from the Talbot Humane Society (Maryland).
The two orange ones had been languishing in a small cage since July. So, I when I saw they were bonded, and although I was only looking for one cat, I ended up adopting both. It happens that way sometimes.
Below is Chris’s earlier cat Charles, also with HP. When I asked (before I knew) whether Charles was similarly afflicted, I learned this:
Yes. He was the reason I searched out that condition. He loves to sit on my shoulders and give kisses. He’s funny, and always underfoot. He often falls asleep in my arms while watching the news–and always on his back. So, what’s not to love? Then, I found out the shelter had a few just like him. I thought it would be nice to give him a playmate while I am work. As I mentioned before, I wanted one more and ended getting two instead.
Charles apparently likes to be held this way:
Finally, when I asked whether cats with HP had any issues other than some wobbly walking and cognitive issues, Chris said this:
They said that their cognitive abilities can vary, and the most obvious sign of the condition is poor balance. Greg, the larger orange cat, topples over frequently if standing still. They all walk with their hind legs spread slightly. Much like a sailor with “sealegs”. Otherwise, they have a normal life with no change to their longevity.
UPDATE:: Chris sent another photo on Christmas Eve showing the whole Band of Brothers. His caption:
Just to show that all kittahs are comfy together now. Charles still sleeps on his back.