Over the years, I’ve cared for multiple cats with cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), a non-progressive neurological condition that affects balance and coordination. In fact, not only do I currently have a CH cat named Keanu, my husband and I actually started Meow As Fluff after the passing of our first wobbly cat, Mittens, who stole our hearts the moment we brought him home as a foster kitten. I’ve also sat for multiple cats with CH, provided advice as a certified feline behaviorist about caring for cats with cerebellar hypoplasia, and I’ve written articles and created videos about several wobbly kitties.
Consequently, I know firsthand that cats with cerebellar hypoplasia can have happy, pain-free lives, but they often need some special accommodations to do so! Over the years, I’ve found some great products that can help provide simple solutions to sometimes complex challenges for people with CH cats, and I wanted to share them with so you can help your wobbly kitty live their life to its fullest!
We’ve also created an infographic you can print or share online to help educate more people about cerebellar hypoplasia, which you can find at the bottom of this post!
Pet Gear Stramp — Pet Stair/Ramp Combo
This stair/ramp combo — aka stramp — was a game changer for our wobbly cat Keanu! While he has always been able to get on and off our furniture by pulling himself up using his front legs, his claws were causing a lot of wear and tear on our couch. Initially, we tried traditional pet stairs, but because he has severe CH, he found them challenging to use. We started looking for other options, and we came across this stramp. We put it in the space between our sofa’s chaise and ottoman, and Keanu immediately started using it!
Honestly, we didn’t realize how much he would benefit from it, but it makes it so much easier for him to get on and off the couch, and we wish we’d gotten it for him sooner.
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Plus, this stramp was easy to put together, it’s lightweight, and you can order new treads directly from the company when they eventually need to be replaced.
High-Sided, Low Entry Cat Litter Box
If you’re looking for a litter box for your CH cat, we definitely recommended this low entry, high-sided option because it’s easy for them to get in and out of and it gives them something to lean against while they’re doing their business! Initially, we had this one from Nature’s Miracle, but we found it unattractive and it didn’t take long for our wobbly cat Keanu to leave lots of deep scratches on the bottom of it. We started looking for a more attractive alternative — we have a small New York City apartment, so our litter boxes are always very visible. We came across this litter box, and we’re very happy with it! We bought one in blue and eventually got another one in pink (you really can never have enough litter boxes in a multi-cat household).
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It was easy to put together, and it comes with a scoop and some waste disposal bags. Even though it’s very cute, we ended up removing the plastic door because we wanted make sure the litter box would be super easy for Keanu to get in and out of it. In addition to the low entryway in the front of the box, it has an opening at the top. While Keanu can’t use this entryway, our other cats sometimes use it, but they also use the entry in the front.
It’s important for cats to stay hydrated, especially because it can help prevent them from developing a number of different health issues, but a lot of wobbly cats struggle with drinking water from a bowl. While Keanu is able to drink from a bowl (although sometimes it can get a little messy), we wanted to make sure he was getting enough water in his diet. Consequently, we give him — and our other cats — grain free wet food (in addition to a bit of grain free dry food), which contains plenty of moisture. We’ve tried a number of different brands of wet food over the years, and our current favorite is Merrick Purrect Bistro Pate. It has a high moisture content and because it’s a pate, it’s easy for our wobbly cat to lap it up.
Raised Cat Bowls
While Keanu prefers to sit down to eat his food off of a dinner plate, he is definitely the exception! I’ve cared for multiple cats with cerebellar hypoplasia — and I’ve seen lots of videos and photos of them on social media — and most of them prefer eating and drink from raised bowls. There are lots of raised pet food bowls to choose from, but this option from Necoichi is a favorite of my cat sitting clients, and they even offer a matching water bowl. Plus, these bowls are microwave safe, so they’re very easy to clean, which is great because CH cats aren’t known for being the tidiest eaters!
WAHL Cat Waterless Shampoo
Even though Keanu uses a high-sided litter box, sometimes he falls over while doing his business, causing him to land in his waste. While some cats don’t mind taking baths, a lot of them don’t, including our wobbly cat. If Keanu gets urine or feces on himself, we use a warm, wet towel to remove as much of it as we can. Then we get a little bit of the waterless shampoo — which comes out as a foam — and we rub it on the areas to help remove any unpleasant odors. In addition to waterless shampoo, pet wet wipes can really help keep your wobbly cat clean!
Petstages Jungle Mat Cat Activity Play Mat
When we were fostering Mittens, our first cerebellar hypoplasia who we eventually adopted, we got him a play mat to help keep him active and stimulated. The one we had was made for a baby, but we modified it with some cat toys to make it more fun for him.
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Several years later, you can now find play mats designed specifically for cats, and this one from Petstages is a great option. While this activity mat isn’t made just for cats with CH, it’s perfect for kitties with cerebellar hypoplasia, especially those on the more severe end of the spectrum who have more limited mobility.
Regalo Easy Step 38.5-Inch Extra Wide Walk Thru Baby Gate
If you have a CH cat and stairs in your home like us, then a baby gate can literally be a lifesaver. We have this baby gate at the top of our stairs, and it’s a great way to prevent our wobbly cat Keanu from accidentally falling down the staircase. Plus, unlike a lot of other baby gates we’ve tried, it’s actually super easy to install and it’s not difficult to open and close. However, because the slats in this baby gate are fairly far apart, it’s not ideal for wobbly kittens or very small CH cats.
Edge And Corner Protectors
While our wobbly cat Keanu has excellent spacial relations that prevent him from bumping into our furniture, this definitely isn’t the case for all kitties with cerebellar hypoplasia. On social media, I’ve seen lots of comments from people who think CH cats should wear helmets to protect them from knocking their heads into things, but in reality, it’s not the most realistic solution. Thankfully, you can purchase a variety of silicone edge and corner protectors — which are actually designed for babies — that you can put on your furniture, the corners of your walls, or any other hard surfaces your wobbly cat tends to crash into.
I hope these product recommendations have been useful, but if you have a favorite item for CH cats that didn’t make the list, please leave a comment telling us what it is and why you love it!
Cerebellar Hypoplasia Infographic
As promised, here’s the infographic you can use to educate people about cerebellar hypoplasia: