What is Cerebellar Hypoplasia?
Cerebellar hypoplasia (CH) is a disorder in which the cerebellum part of the brain doesn't develop completely before birth. The cerebellum is a region of the brain that plays a major role in motor control and coordination. Having an underdeveloped cerebellum results in jerky movements, uncoordinated motion, and tremors. Though there are varying degrees of severity, a cat affected by CH is generally wobbly and unsteady and will often fall over when walking - hence the nickname "Wobbly Cat Syndrome." As my husband puts it, Sophie looks like she has gotten into the liquor cabinet a few too many times. ;)
As mentioned, there are varying degrees of cerebellar hypoplasia, ranging from mild to severe cases. Cats with mild cases of CH may have a little wobble to their step or possibly slight head tremors but can generally get around with no issues. Cats with severe CH usually can't walk on their own and have to have specially-made litter boxes.
How is cerebellar hypoplasia diagnosed?
What causes CH?
What is the treatment for CH?
It has also been found that hydrotherapy can be helpful in building up muscle strength in those cats who have more severe cases of CH. So while there is no cure or official medical treatment that will cure CH, there are many things you can do for your CH kitty that are extremely beneficial to them and their independence, like playing and encouraging them to accomplish things on their own.
Will my cat's lifespan be affected?
Can my CH cat live a happy life?
Sophie may stumble and fall, hit her head sometimes, or completely miss her mark when trying to jump, but she gets right back up and keeps on going with a big smile on her face. I think we can all learn a little something from cats like Sophie...
If you have a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia, we would love to hear about him/her! Or if you have any questions about Sophie and her CH, feel free to email us or comment below.