One of my favorite things about blogging is that I'm always meeting incredible cats with their own special stories. Through my kitty friend Lemon, I recently came across Bayleaf Buttons, an Etsy shop selling a rather unique "I Heart My CH Kitty" pin (CH stands for Cerebellar Hypoplasia).
I contacted the shop owner, and asked if she would share the story of Bowie, the beautiful cat behind the button, who suffers from the non-life threatening condition that appears at birth in cats and can cause jerky movements, tremors, and generally uncoordinated motion.
Megan & Bowie
I’m Megan Isis the mind behind Bayleaf Buttons and an owner of a special cat named Bowie.
A friend of mine was moving and wasn’t able to take all their pets with them, so Bowie (formerly Louis) was free to a good home. We often joke that the cat is part dog (he was roommate to two other dogs) and he will sniff your shoes when you come inside. The first thing I did when I brought Bowie home was change his name because of his left pupil which when it contracts is deformed, although as far as we can tell, he sees perfectly fine. The name obviously was inspired by David Bowie (although technically his pupil is paralyzed not deformed).
CH stands for Cerebellar Hypoplasia; it is an avoidable birth defect. Basically the cerebellum is not completely mature at birth and as a result the he has twitchy movements, and is pretty uncoordinated. Let me make it clear that, although these cats look funny when they move around, they aren’t in any pain. Luckily my cat Bowie is not a severe of a case like some other cats (most popular being Gordon & Charley).
The second vet I took Bowie to see for some shot updates diagnosed him with CH, the vet was so excited about seeing a CH kitty he called in all of his staff to show off Bowie’s lack of co-ordination and how he walked.
Bowie has such a mild case of CH I don’t have a lot of extra care like some other owners do. I don’t have to have a special litter box, feeding area and my cat can live on both levels of the house although every so often you do hear a THUD or a CRASH (he falls down a step or two).
Bowie is extremely affectionate to those he knows, and a little shy to those he doesn’t. He also has an unnatural obsession to chewing on luggage tags & zippers. If anything, he has added a little bit of entertainment value to our lives, he will be walking by and just fall over, then strike a pose like he is saying ‘I meant to do that’.
The I Heart CH Kitty button came about because of Bowie, my family and I really do love this cat so I thought it would be a nice way of showing it. There are two versions of the button available, the one with the ‘fallen over kitty,’ which is my personal favourite, and one without.
I came across a very useful resource for anyone who finds out that their cat has CH or are thinking about adopting a CH kitty: http://www.chkittyclub.com/.
Special thanks to Megan for sharing Bowie's story with us, and for schooling me on Cerebellar Hypoplasia! Please visit her shop Bayleaf Buttons to check out her cool designs, including the "I Heart My CH Kitty" pin. She was also kind enough to offer 5% off your purchase if you enter in coupon code CHKITTYLUV at checkout!
Thanks to Lemon the Cat for the tip! He is also a CH kitty, and you can check out his blog here!