May in Her Walker

May In Her Walker may015%20-%20Version%202.jpgMay’s story began four months ago, when barely three weeks old, this tiny dilute tortie kitten was brought to a medical facility.  The veterinarian called in Keli, one of the vet techs, asking her “Have you ever seen something like this?”  She placed the kitten on the examining table.  May promptly fell over, lurched to the right, then flipped off the table.  Keli caught her in mid fall.  “I lifted her up to my face and she reached out to me and started to purr.” 

The veterinarian examined her, did lab work, made several phone calls to a neurologist to discuss her symptoms and she was diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia, or CH for short.  It is a neurologic disorder where the animal cannot stand, cannot walk and in extreme cases, cannot perform daily functions on its own.  The medical team made the decision to euthanize.
That’s where Keli stepped in.  Her rescue organization takes in the sick, the injured and the ones no one else will.  She scooped her up and said “I will take her...let me try...please!”  They signed May over to Keli’s care and their journey began.

May's walker The first question that came to mind  - how to help this kitten live as normal a life as possible?  Keli fashioned a $7 clear storage tub for a bed.  She drilled 3/4” holes for air and visibility.  It is an easy way to transport May in this make shift carrier and goes everywhere with Keli, even to work. 

 The vet said Miss May needed therapy.  The challenge was to get her up and walking, but how?   Keli drove to Lowes and walked through every aisle - build a wooden frame? a hammock?  Then it hit her, PVC.  She purchased PVC pipes and casters.  How could she suspend May in this man-made “walker”?  To Petmart she went to look at jackets/coats.  The life preservers  were the perfect answer.  They can be changed out as she grows.  She can stay upright in this contraption and she now has the freedom to run and play in her walker.  When not in her walker, May is placed in a Pack N Play, where she is safe and can see the activities around her.

Two months ago May came down with a high fever and was extremely sick.  She was admitted to the clinic.  Her fever spiked to 106.6.  She was unresponsive to any IV antibiotics.  Keli was frantic, the veterinary staff very concerned when as a last resort, Antirobe was tried.  It worked!  May was on the antibiotic for four weeks.  She is again healthy.  What a fighter!

May%20-%2014.jpgMay is now old enough to be spayed.  Cats with CH can crash easily because their brains react differently to the anesthesia.  The surgery will cost double, if not triple, the regular fee.  May has been an expensive rescue, and  Keli is now asking to please help her with the next veterinary expenditures.  Keli says “May is so happy.  She is the light of my life, so sweet.  She has no idea she is different.  She eats, she plays and she runs with the other cats.” I think we can all agree that May deserves our help.  With her personality and her spirit shining through, how could we let her down?

Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH or Spasticity) causes jerky movements, tremors and generally uncoordinated movements.  The animal has trouble walking and often falls down.  The cause may be a viral or a bacterial infection such as panleukopenia or feline distemper while in utero.  The disease can also be due to malnutrition, poisoning, injuries or random developmental problem to the fetus.  CH is usually seen in kittens born to feral, stray or unvaccinated cats or on rarer occasions, to vaccinated mothers while pregnant.

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The disease does not get better or worse with age.  May will learn to compensate for her handicap and should have a normal lifespan.  CH cats do everything other cats do and are extremely independent.  With their caregivers watching out for their inevitable accidents, CH cats can enjoy a good quality life. To May!  May she live a full life!