Rescue Story: Three Little Kittens, With Cerebellar Hypoplasia
NOTE: After publishing the original article we named the kittens, and I also added photos of the kittens at the end of the article.
Kittens are known to sprout from some interesting places any time of the year, but during kitten season anything is possible. Desperate mom cats find the safest and most hospitable place they can find during rainy weather and sudden hot temperatures to stash their kittens. Underneath a pool deck, between the pool and a wall is a pretty good place, cool and shady, not easily accessed by much of anything else but cats.
Until a human needs to get in there to rescue three kittens who apparently have cerebellar hypoplasia (CH). The condition is evident by a cat’s inability to balance and hold its head upright or straight, so they often stumble and fall, walk at an angle, and appear like little kitty bobbleheads. The cerebellum of the brain has not fully formed often due to distemper or other bacterial infections or injuries during gestation, and symptoms are usually apparent as soon as the kittens are born. Other neurological symptoms may affect balance, though some cats may only be slightly affected. Each kitten in a litter may be affected to a completely different degree. There is no cure for it and no way to treat it to lessen the symptoms, but most cats are able to adapt.
It’s easy to see that the kitten at the top of this post is severely afflicted, and though the other two were not so bad rescuing these three kittens and their mom quickly became critical.
“Yesterday (Memorial Day) I went just to check out a situation in Bethel Park where there were kittens and a mom under a pool deck,” Margo Cicci Wisniewski posted on her Facebook page. “When I got there and saw one of the kittens, I knew we had to try and trap them immediately…. It was clear that at least one of the kittens had CH. After talking to the homeowner she said that the one I saw wasn’t even the worst….my heart sank.”
Margo sent out the call for both traps and help, and Tarra headed there with traps and ended up getting herself into a really tight spot. “When she arrived the one that was the worst had himself positioned under the deck in a spot where Tarra (thank god she’s long and skinny) could get under the deck and grab him (he is unable to run away),” Margo said.
Tarra Provident crawled in under the pool deck between the pool and the wall and gently pulled the little guy out. She and Margo checked him over and offered him food and water. Later Karen Sable joined them to help with trapping and after about six hours the other two kittens were trapped together. The mother was trapped the next day and will be spayed.
The kittens are about ten weeks old and despite their symptoms are clean and healthy. Even the little guy who is pretty much immobile, even to the point where he urinates and defecates lying on his side, is clean with no sign of abrasions or missing fur from dragging himself around. That is one impressive mom cat who managed to nurse three kittens with balance issues and then to wean them to eat regular food, and kept her kittens’ fur clean and the kittens in good health.
Below is a video of him drinking water minutes after they had him in their hands.
And though the kittens have had basically no human contact they are friendly and social and very easily handled, including the little one.
These kittens were rescued by volunteer members of the Homeless Cat Management Team and are located in Pittsburgh, PA. Right now they are staying with Margo, who went to investigate the call for homeless cats needing rescue. But because she already has several individual foster situations she’d like to find a foster home which is familiar with CH and has the time to take care of their needs. The other two kittens are clumsy but are able to walk and stand up to eat and use a litterbox, but the first kitten will need assistance all his life, and it may be that he would go to a sanctuary if we can’t find a foster or a permanent home. If you know of any possibilities, please let me know. Transportation is not an issue, we will get any or all the kittens wherever they need to go.
If there was ever a reason to spay and neuter your cats and give them proper vaccines this is it. It’s likely this mother cat never had any veterinary care at all, and therefore no vaccines. She may have contracted distemper while the kittens were in utero but has a natural immunity to the disease so she survived, but the kittens will be forever afflicted.
Below are a few photos of them.
Here are a few other videos of the little guy to get an idea of how he is moving around. I will try to add some other photos when I get them.
He can walk a little bit with assistance.
The kittens get names, and more photos added after the article was posted.
I wanted to get the article out as soon as I could to start networking for these kittens and knew I’d add photos of them in their foster space later, and we’d also settle out the issue of their names. They adjusted well to their foster space, a cage in the basement that is large enough for an average human to walk into and sit down.
Below, from the top, Rufio, Wendy Darling and Peter Pan. Margo suggested their names, inspired by how much she loves the Ruth B song “Lost Boy” because it feels magical, “They need magic (and so do I)!”
Rufio is almost all orange; “Rufus” means “red-haired”.
Wendy Darling is gray and white tabby.
And then they all went to sleep. Peter Pan loves the bed Margo got for him—he went right to it and laid down.
Read more Rescue Stories on The Creative Cat.
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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.
Subscribe to The Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter.
© 2022 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
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!
34 thoughts on “Rescue Story: Three Little Kittens, With Cerebellar Hypoplasia”
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We have an update on the kittens–they’ve gone to a rescue! Read “The Peter Pan Kittens Go Home”: http://wp.me/p2snop-gOI . You can link up with their fosters and see them now.
My name is Michelle and I run Charm City Animal Rescue. We take in special needs cats, and have taken in dozens of CH kitties over the years. I have four now with CH and FIV, and two are blind! I’m about 2 hours south of you in Cumberland, Maryland, so let me know if you need us. [email protected]
Michelle, thanks so much for contacting me about the Peter Pan gang! We have had so many people reach out with offers and information, what a wonderful community! We’re collecting names and I’ll let you know what we decide.
Any updates on the kitties?
They are doing better than we’d hoped for kittens who never met humans before and we have loads of offers. I’ll be updating after this weekend when they’ve seen the vet again and they’ve had more time to settle in. I commented the other day that we’d named them too, just in case you missed it: They needed special names: the most afflicted little guy is Peter Pan, the gray and white tabby sister is Wendy Darling and the orange and white brother is Rufio, named for Peter Pan and the song “Lost Boy” by Ruth B. These three need some magic!
they are in good hands thanks for update
Sounds like you have a lot of leads already (awesome!), but I would love to foster Peter Pan if it ends up you are still looking for options. I live in MN. Thanks, and a big thanks for rescuing all 3 babies and Mom 🙂 🙂 🙂
Thanks, Marisa, we do, but we are taking all names.
There’s a rescue in Ohio that has a lot of CH kitties and will sometimes take them on. It’s called Friends of Felines Rescue Center. They are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Friends-Of-Felines-Rescue-Center-288063788071/?fref=ts
They also have a web page: fofrescue.org/
Thank you so much! I just went and saw a number of my blogging friends are friends with the page too. We are close enough to Defiance Ohio we may be able to do other exchanges as well.
I have a one year old male named Archimedes that has ch and I love him
Thank you for taking care of him Ashley, and what a great name!
I would live to adopt Peter pan. I am a vet tech and only work part time so I would have a lot of time to spend with him. I am actually a homebody :). Please contact me at [email protected].
Hi, Mary, thank you! I have comments on moderation so new commenters need to have one comment approved and then you are fine, but until I approve them they just sit there. Where do you live? We are letting them adjust to living indoors for now and taking names, and we’ll use our usual adoption process to find the right person. We have had quite a few requests, so it may be a while.
I live in minnesota. I am so glad that you have had so many requests. I will wait to hear from you.
So crying. But happy their in good hands now. I have had a cat with CH. But i’m heart broken . It’s hard for me to say i cant foater Peter Pan. My boyfriend said no more fosters. Prayers 4 all of you guys especially the kittens. It breaks my heart knowing i cant help. Thank you for everything you guys do
Don’t worry, Anonymous. So many others love their CH kitties to and have offered to foster. It won’t be difficult at all to find someone for Peter Pan. Thank you for rescuing a CH kitty!
I would love to take Peter pan! I am a vet tech and only work part time so I am home alot and would have lots of time to spend with him! I live in minnesota. Please contact me at : [email protected].
Wonder if living under ‘pressure-treated-wood’ resulted in CH?
Or pool chemicals. I know that toxins can sometimes affect them, but then we are pulling kittens from under pressure-treated decks every day and don’t see that many CH kittens.
Thanks for all your interest and help! The city and state details are in the post–Pittsburgh, PA rescued by the Homeless Cat Management Team–but I realized some of the embedded videos were sitting on top of text that you couldn’t read so I made adjustments.
Also, I added photos of them in their current foster space with Margo at the end of the article, and we named them! They needed special names: the most afflicted little guy is Peter Pan, the gray and white tabby sister is Wendy Darling and the orange and white brother is Rufio, named for Peter Pan and the song “Lost Boy” by Ruth B. These three need some magic!
[the first kitten will need assistance all his life, and it may be that he would go to a sanctuary if we can’t find a foster or a permanent home. If you know of any possibilities, please let me know]
Try Tabby’s Place n Ringoes, NJ, which serves cats with special needs.
Thanks, Roxanne! I know a blogger or two who are associated with Tabby’s Place. I’ll get in touch.
CH kitties get stronger as they get older, and will learn how to cope with their balance issues. They also tend to lag behind normal kittens with potty training. But they more than make up for it with determination! Check out http://www.lifewithchcats.com
Elizabeth, we rescue mostly homeless cats, many feral, and we have rescued other CH kittens though none as afflicted as the little guy–Peter Pan. But even though these kittens were raised by a feral mom with no human contact, they are friendly and fairly trusting. CH kitties are just like that, they are so wonderful. Thanks for the link!
I never heard of CH Bernadette..I am in tears watching these videos..Their Mama deserves a Kitty Mama Of The Year award..They are beautiful and I wish you all the best of luck with them…Please let us know how they are doing!
Nancy, I added an update, including their mom who is clearly feral, but what an incredible mom!
Try FFRC in Defiance Ohio..Jacci has several CH cats and kittens
We will do that, Sandy! Thank you!
I will share this post. I am glad they were rescued .
Thanks, Ellen! I am so glad we found out where they were and could help them.
B…forwarded your post to Emily at Kitty Cat Chronicles and asked if she could please
share on Sophie’s facebook page. the kittens are absolutely adorable, St francis’ blessings to them all that they find their forevers home~~~~~. ♥️♥️♥️
Thanks, Tabbies, we’ve been talking on FB! Let’s hope for the best!