by Greg Mayer
I’d never heard of feline cerebellar hypoplasia before, but apparently it’s a non-fatal neurological condition that causes the cat to be “wobbly” in its movements. Ralphee, a wobbly kitten from, apparently, Queensland, is becoming an internet star.
Ralphee’s condition is a neurological disorder known as feline cerebellar hypoplasia. A kitten is born with “CH” when their cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls fine motor skills and coordination, is underdeveloped at birth.
These cats are known for their “drunken sailor” walk, which is why they’re known endearingly as “wobbly cats.”
Unless a CH cat has other health issues, their life expectancy is the same as a cat’s without CH. Since the condition is non-progressive, it will never get worse — and in some cases, owners say that their cats become more capable over time.
Ever since Ralphee was brought home, Max is never far away. He appears to be forever curious and watches over Ralphee wherever she goes. Ralphee is growing more mischievous by the day and loves to see what Max is doing as well. She will often get excited when he is nearby and leap in the air before playfully charging in his direction.
Despite her condition, Ralphee is a happy cat who, like most kittens loves affection and causing all sorts of trouble wherever she goes.
Ralphee’s movements reminded me of waltzing mice, a breed of domestic mouse that is prized for its circular “dancing” movements, and was developed in China over 2000 years ago. In the mice, though, the curious movements are due to an inner ear problem, not a cerebellar problem. (Jerry’s father used to keep waltzing mice when he was a kid!) Ralphee also seems to have the Manx cat trait of a stump tail– not sure if she’s genetically Manx, or just lost her tail somehow.
h/t Andrew Sullivan