I met the most incredible kitty last week while I was photographing the hurricane kitties from Florida—Bruno! Standing at Kurt’s cage to photograph him I could see some sort of fanfare out of the corner of my eye, I looked down and saw it was Bruno’s paw, black with purrfect white toes, waving frantically in the air, his whole arm through the bars of the crate. He had to get that human’s attention!
He is not from Florida, he’s from a small town in the area and was trapped with a feral colony as an unneutered male. He is certainly not feral! He couldn’t be more friendly, and he is so much fun to be with.
But he does certainly have cerebellar hypoplasia—he’s a little wobbly all the time and occasionally has a tremor, but he doesn’t even seem to notice—and once he was out of that cage that blue sparkle ball didn’t stand a chance. Cerebellar hypoplasia (CH) develops when a mother cat contracts the panleukopenia virus, or distemper, while she’s pregnant. The illness affects the development of her kittens’ brains by attacking rapidly-dividing cells, as they are in the cerebellum in the last weeks of pregnancy and the first two weeks after birth. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls all voluntary physical movement, eye movement and vision; CH leaves it smaller than normal. The resulting condition is permanent and unchanging, so it can’t get better, but doesn’t get any worse. All cats with CH are not affected to the same degree, even in the same litter. They vary from a slight lack of coordination and possible head tremors to being unable to walk at all, and in between stumble and fall and get up again and go on.
But they are not in any pain nor suffering in any way, though people may think so to see them stumbling around. Many kittens and cats found to have CH have been euthanized because people think they are suffering, but they do what animals do best—deal with whatever they have and go on with life, and they can have just as long and healthy a life as any non-afflicted cat. Some badly afflicted cats may need assistance in eating or using the litterbox, and keeping them safe from falling down steps or from heights, and of course keeping them inside.
Bruno is pretty wobbly with head tremors, but he chased that blue sparkle ball all over the room for quite some time, running as fast as he could and skidding around, doing kitty doughnuts, even, and running into the open door of his crate a few times. Nothing stopped his quest, until he decided to chill for a few minutes. With his ball. It would not get away!
He was very interested about me being on my belly on the floor and came over to smell my hair.
He is four years old, and somehow survived outdoors in a feral colony—with CH—with no apparent injuries. He also thinks he has a very noble profile.
And he’s ready to be adopted
In many shelters and even rescues cats with CH are euthanized because they are considered unadoptable. A huge spirit like Bruno’s is ready to go home with someone who will love and play with him for the rest of his life. Here is the official Pittsburgh C.A.T. adoption profile:
Hi there! My name is Bruno, and I am looking for my forever home! I am an incredibly friendly, affectionate 4-year old boy who loves to play and explore. I am named Bruno after Bruno Mars because I shake my bum and hips like a pro! You see, I have a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), so I wobble when I walk or stand.
I am incredibly friendly and very confident and I never let my disability define me. I didn’t even know I was different until they told me so; I just thought I was the best dancer around! (Which I still am, btw.) The humans that take care of me tell me that I am extra special, and I am A-OK with that! CH usually happens when a mommy cat has Panleukopenia while she is pregnant with kittens. My condition is not regressive, which means that it won’t get any worse. I just have a little extra pep in my step!
I am one-of-a-kind and very unique. In addition to being a phenomenal dancer, I can also sing you songs and tell stories with my distinct and sweet meows! I march to the beat of my own drum (literally, I march and highstep when I walk. It’s pretty adorable if I do say so myself!).
Other cats are cool. I get along with them well. I like kids a lot, but since I’m special, I might do better with kids who are older and respect my special qualities. I am incredibly friendly. I love life, and I can’t wait to have a forever home of my own. What I lack in fine motor skills, I more than make up for in affection and cuteness! I can’t get enough attention, but I also love to explore and go on adventures. I am pretty fearless.
If you’re looking to shake up your routine, then I am ready to wiggle my way into your heart!
Like all of our cats, Bruno is neutered, microchipped, tested, up to date on vaccines, dewormed and flea treated. If you’re interested in adopting Bruno, please fill out an application and one of our adoption counselors will be more than happy to discuss the details of CH with you and answer any questions you may have. You can apply here: http://tinyurl.com/pghcatapp
Adopting from Pittsburgh C.A.T.
As these cats come up for adoption you’ll find them on Pittsburgh C.A.T.’s Facebook page and on the Petfinder page. If you are interested, it all starts with an application, which you can find here. All cats available from Pittsburgh C.A.T. are spayed or neutered, tested, vaccinated, wormed, flea treated and microchipped, and they’ve also had any necessary veterinary treatment they need.
Help Pittsburgh C.A.T. help these cats, and rescue even more
If you’d like to help us with the cats in our care, here are 3 ways you can help!
- Donate via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send supplies from our Amazon Wish List at https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1DJBKJ6Y7IMR8
- Email an Amazon gift card to email@example.com
Don’t forget the ringworm cats
Pittsburgh CAT now has six litters of kittens with ringworm! They need your help with supplies.
“In order to treat ringworm, we change out our kittens’ environment every day. We take everything out, clean thoroughly, and give them new towels, new toys, new scratchers, and new training pads under their paws. We empty their litter boxes, throw away all of their litter, and then give them new litter after disinfecting their boxes. They get daily medication and weekly lime dips. That’s why we need so much disinfectant, and so many toys, training pads, and scratchers. They recover much more quickly from ringworm under this regimen!
If you are interested in donating supplies to help Pittsburgh C.A.T. care for their ringworm kittens, you can find the Amazon wishlist here: http://a.co/eFBVCOD
Donate for a Discount
Many of my readers have often been generous in helping with the costs associated with rescues and other issues needing funding. My favorite reward program is titled “Donate For a Discount”. I will give you a gift certificate toward shopping on my website in thanks—for every $25.00 you donate in goods or cash I’ll give you a gift certificate for $5.00 off a minimum $25.00 purchase.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book
Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun! —