5 Life Lessons My CH Cat Has Taught Me

5 Life Lesson My CH Cat Has Taught MeAlmost five years ago, Bobby and I met a cat that would forever change our lives for the better. We didn’t know it at the time, and we didn’t even adopt her after that initial meeting. It took us almost three months after meeting her before we decided to bring Sophie home with us, and our lives have never been the same.

It’s true, sharing our lives with a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia has had it’s challenges. We’ve had to figure out ways that we can help Sophie and make things easier for her; we’ve suffered countless “heart attacks” watching her stumble and fall (sometimes head or face first); and we sometimes have to deal with the negative reactions towards her from other people. Once you fall into the routine of things though, once you establish a “new normal,” all of those “challenges” fade into the background, and you are left with a little being that is so full of love and life and joy that you’d have to be heartless not to be affected.

Not only has Sophie been a bright star in our lives since the day we adopted her, she has also taught both me and my husband so many life lessons over the course of the last several years. They are lessons that everyone could benefit from.

1. When you fall down, get back up and try again.

In life, we all face challenges and obstacles. Yes, we even fail sometimes. It is far too easy to give up when you stumble. The hard part about it all is learning to deal with those failures and to not let them keep you from pursuing your dreams and goals.

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve watched Sophie fall, slip, or wipe-out. Her lack of coordination and balance makes it hard for her to jump or even to walk and run sometimes. Doing things like getting up on the couch is a challenge for her. However, as many times as I’ve seen her fail, I’ve never seen her give up. She always gets right back up, shakes it off, and tries again with even more determination and enthusiasm than before. And it only makes her victory all the more sweet. 🙂

2. There is nothing you can’t do.

This ties back into #1 but is an important lesson nonetheless. Too often I hear people use excuse after excuse as to why they can’t do something. Or they let someone else discourage them from going after their dreams. You can’t let excuses or someone telling you you aren’t capable hold you back.

Sure, Sophie could use her cerebellar hypoplasia as an excuse to try to get us to do everything for her. In the past, we’ve even tried to limit what she could do for fear of her hurting herself. For example, we put a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs at our old house because we didn’t think she was capable of climbing them herself.

Has Sophie let her CH or us (or anyone) telling her she can’t do something stop her? NEVER! When she gets it in her head that she’s going to accomplish something, like climbing the stairs or getting up on the cat tree, she goes for it. Perhaps she doesn’t succeed on the first try, but she doesn’t give up, and she eventually accomplishes her goal. Now I know that there’s nothing Sophie can’t do. The same goes for YOU!

5 Life Lessons My CH Cat has Taught Me - Sophie

3. Embrace each other’s differences.

Everyone is different, including our pets. That’s what makes each person special and unique. Your differences are what make you “you.” I’ve always known and believed that, but living with Sophie has really driven that lesson home.

Every now and then Bobby and I joke about what Sophie would be like if she could walk a straight line; if she didn’t have cerebellar hypoplasia. We always come to the same conclusion: Sophie wouldn’t be Sophie if she wasn’t wobbly. She is a giant goofball, and her klutziness fits her. It is a part of who she is. Maybe it just seems that way because we don’t know her any other way, but I truly believe that Sophie’s CH enhances her personality.

Think about how much more loving and peaceful this world would be if we all embraced each other’s differences and viewed them as personality enhancements rather than picking each other apart and making fun of those differences.

4. Take time for yourself and relax.

The Love Languages of Cats: Sophie Snuggles Dad

My husband and I are both self-employed musicians, so we don’t have set work hours. We work at all hours of the day and night on different projects, jobs, gigs, rehearsals, you name it. It is really easy for us to get caught up in our work and never stop. Don’t get me wrong, we love what we do (most of the time), but it can be exhausting.

Sophie, on the other hand, is the epitome of rest and relaxation. Her two most favoritest things (besides her daddy) are snuggles and STICK (her favorite wand toy). Seriously… if snuggling were an Olympic sport, Sophie would take the gold.

Anyway, sometimes she will demand snuggles when we’re in the middle of working. And when I say “demand,” I mean she meows at the top of her lungs, paws at our legs, and climbs into our laps… even if we are ignoring her. This forces us to take a step back from work and to have some quiet, lovey time with her. Which we then realize we needed anyway. It is always good to take a step back from work and have a moment for yourself to get refreshed, to relax, and to snuggle your kitty 🙂

5. Love unconditionally.

Sophie has many talents, but one of her greatest ones, by far, is loving. That girl loves everyone and everything. Cat, dog, human, whatever. She doesn’t discriminate. And she loves hard, and with her whole heart too. Sophie also happens to be one of the happiest creatures I’ve ever known. Coincidence? I think not.

In a world where hate runs rampant, I know we can all learn a lesson or two about unconditional love. Think about how much happier we’d all be…

5 Life Lessons My CH Cat Has Taught Me - Sophie

By Emily


  1. Reply


    I love this! Sophie is such a bright star in the lives of everyone who gets to know her.

  2. Reply

    Lone Star Cats

    Definitely some great lessons there!

  3. Reply


    What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Sophie and CH. I’ve come in contact with many CH cats at the shelter where I am a volunteer. You’re absolutely correct – CH cats are wonderful.

  4. Reply

    Kamira Gayle

    Lovely post Emily. Sophie (and your other furkids) teach us such invaluable life lessons don’t they? I swear animals are smarter than us humans. They know what’s important! Love all the pics, especially the snuggling pics. Too cute!

  5. Reply

    Lori Hilliard

    It seems like the animals who are afflicted with so-called “limitations” are often the ones who are the most independent yet loving. I suspect that adversity brings out the best in animals, as it often does for humans.

  6. Reply

    Random Felines

    yep – Sophie is awesome

  7. Reply


    What a wonderful post! Our pets remind us daily of what matters most. Hugs to Sophie and her family.

  8. Reply

    Eastside Cats

    Aww, Love Is ALL we need! Yay, Sophie!
    “Nothing’s impossible I have found,
    For when my chin is on the ground,
    I pick myself up,
    Dust myself off,
    Start all over again.”
    From “Swing Time” movie, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

  9. Reply

    Three Chatty Cats

    Sophie is such a cutie and I can see why she’s a good teacher for life lessons! Our pets teach us so much, don’t they? And you’re right, we’d be so much better off if everyone could love unconditionally like Sophie.

  10. Reply

    da tabbies o trout towne

    total lee awesum lee mega kewl post two day sophie……984 paws UP !!! ☺☺♥♥
    yur fill oh sophie ( philosophy } ☺☺ rocks

  11. Reply

    Dear Mishu

    yes yes yes! If humans paid more attention to how animals go through life, they’d definitely be happier!

  12. Reply

    The Dash Kitten Crew

    Sophie has a lot to teach me, I know that. She is brave, fearless and hey she can come and work our our blog if she likes *g*

    Love the girl. Love this post – it is SO brilliant.

  13. Reply

    The Island Cats

    We’ve always said that Sophie is one of the most amazing cats we’ve met. Nothing stops her.

  14. Reply

    Lola The Rescued Cat

    Sophie is such a special girl. Her zest for life definitely rubs off on everyone she meets. I’m so glad you decided to adopt her and share her with the world.

  15. Reply

    Ellen Pilch

    Sophie is beautiful. I love this post. XO

  16. Reply

    Sweet Purrfections

    I’ll never forget the first time I met Sophie at Barkworld. She is adorable and I admired her determination and loved her personality. She definitely has a lot to teach us!

  17. Reply

    Beth Patterson

    What wonderful life lessons to have learned! Sophie is a great teacher and one of the cutest cats I’ve ever seen. I loved seeing her and Spencer the Goldendoodle interact at BlogPaws.

  18. Reply


    Pets, especially those with some sort of disability, are such great role models for us humans. They don’t b*tch and complain about what they can’t do. They don’t feel sorry for themselves. They just figure out a way they can still do whatever the heck they want, no matter how much harder it may be for them. I think that’s why so many humans are in awe of 3-legged dogs and goats in little carts and cats with CH. They are a testament of strength and perseverance and we have so much to learn from them.

  19. Reply


    What a great post! We humans have so much to learn from our kitties. I wish more humans are able to embrace each other’s differences. Sophie is a wonderful kitty and great teacher for important life lessons 🙂

  20. Reply

    Jana Rade

    Animals are such amazing inspiration in the way they go about life and adversity.

  21. Reply

    The Florida Furkids

    Thank you for the thoughtful and kind comment you made on our post about our Daddy. We know he’s an Angel smiling down on us but we are heartbroken.

    The Florida Furkids and Mom Sharon

  22. Reply


    Thank you for sharing the inspiring post. Sophie is so adorable. Love all of her.

  23. Reply


    This is such an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing your wonderful life lessons with Sophie. We can see how much you two love each other in the photo where you are hugging her. So adorable!

  24. Reply


    Sophie has inspired wonderful life lessons that we can all learn from. Thanks for sharing such a heart-felt post about the ways your precious little Sophie has enriched your lives.

  25. Reply


    Such great lessons. Sophie has so much to teach all of us!

  26. Reply

    Mollie Hunt

    All good points, Sophie. I loved meeting you at BlogPaws, where I decided to put a CH kitty in my next Crazy Cat Lady mystery. Her name is Elizabeth, and though a Tabby, she ls loosly based on you. I hope through her to tell readers a little about the CH experience, and why all the points you made here are true.

  27. Reply


    Thanks! This should be reprinted for the whole world!!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *