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Meet The Adorable Wobbly Brothers Who Found A Wonderful Forever Home Where They Can Be Together Forever!

When Jay saw a local news article about a pair of special needs kittens who were available for adoption, he and his wife Andrea weren’t looking to add any more pets to their family, and yet he couldn’t resist going to the San Antonio Humane Society to meet the young cats in person.

wobbly cats with severe cerebellar hypoplasia
Image via @oatyandbagel on Instagram

The kittens were born with cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), a non-progressive neurological condition that affects balance and coordination, and they were approximately eight months old when Jay met them for the first time in January 2019. “Barely able to get on their feet, let alone walk, the boys mesmerized Jay with fearless insistence on being cats,” says Andrea. “Jay sat there in tears for 20 minutes, unable to leave.”

Image via @oatyandbagel on Instagram

Cerebellar hypoplasia ranges from mild to severe, and it was apparent the kitten siblings were on the severe end of the spectrum. Due to their decreased mobility, it was obvious to Jay they would need more care than average felines, but he felt he and Andrea — despite having two children, five other rescue cats, and demanding careers as teachers — would be able to give them a happy and loving home. Thankfully, Andrea agreed, and shortly after meeting the pair of special needs kittens for the first time, Jay and his wife adopted the feline siblings. “These two were brothers, and they had come all this way together,” says Jay. “We fell in love with both and could not see them ever being separated.”

Image via @oatyandbagel on Instagram

Shortly after adopting the adorable duo, Jay and Andrea gave them new names to go with their lives, dubbing the buff cat Oaty and the ginger and white cat Bagel. “Oaty is actually named ‘Oatmeal’ because he very closely resembles a nice bowl of Oatmeal — slight variations to an almost uniform color,” explains Jay. “Bagel is the color of a bagel but also has these splashes of white on him, which we equate to the cream cheese on a bagel.”

Image via @oatyandbagel on Instagram

While they didn’t know much about cerebellar hypoplasia prior to adopting Oaty and Bagel, once they got the special kittens home, Jay and Andrea began researching the neurological condition. They discovered CH occurs in utero, often when a pregnant cat is exposed to a virus, such as panleukopenia, causing her kittens to be born with underdeveloped cerebellums. “At birth, CH is set in — irreversible — but it also does not get worse,” explains Jay. “They are not in pain, seem very happy, and are just like any other cat in their manners and habits.”

Shortly after creating an Instagram account for Oaty and Bagel, Jay and Andrea were contacted by Paula, the woman who rescued their mother Addie from the streets. “She coaxed a scared pregnant momma kitty into her apartment and helped deliver a litter of four CH kitties, including our boys,” explains Jay. Paula found Bagel and Oaty a foster home with Sherry from Wayward Whiskers, who fostered the brothers for six months before they were transferred to the San Antonio Humane Society where they met Jay and Andrea, underlining just how important rescuing, fostering, and adopting is in the lives of special needs cats.

Image via @oatyandbagel on Instagram

While cerebellar hypoplasia can’t get better or worse, over time, cats with the condition can get better at controlling their symptoms, making it easier for them to stand and move around without falling. When Oaty and Bagel first arrived at their forever home, their symptoms were fairly severe, so Jay and Andrea made a number of modifications to their home to make it safer and more comfortable for the wobbly brothers.

“We gave them the entire living room where our family spends most of our time because we wanted them front and center,” says Jay, and they added long pillows to the perimeter of the carpeted space to soften Oaty and Bagel’s frequent falls.

They also purchased plush food bowls to accommodate the kittens’ head tremors, and they stabilized their water dish using a hole punch and a couple of twist ties. Jay and Andrea discovered Oatmeal had no trouble using a litter box, but it was a challenge for Bagel, who often ended up relieving himself on the mat underneath litter box.

Bagel/Image via @oatyandbagel on Instagram

More than a year later, both of the boys have gotten much stronger and steadier on their feet. However, Bagel still has difficulty using a litter box, but it’s not that big of an issue to his mom and dad. “Neither has had an accident outside the matted litter box area and Oatmeal has never missed the litter box even once,” explains Jay. “The adorable factor makes any mess worth it. All messes are so minimal, and in fact, they are cute messes.”

Without a doubt, these special needs cat siblings are adorable, and while they both like to play, Oaty is more vocal and independent, while Bagel absolutely loves to cuddle, whether it’s with his brother or his human family.

Image via @oatyandbagel on Instagram

“Bagel is absolutely the reigning champion snuggle bug, and will almost never leave the side of the human for any reason whatsoever,” says Jay, while Oaty loves to burrow under towels and blankets and can often be found relaxing in his cat tube or cube. “He will get in it and just hang out, sometimes for hours. The cube often lets us know where Oaty is, as it gently undulates due to his CH.”

While it’s obvious Oaty and Bagel have wonderful lives, cats with severe cerebellar hypoplasia often have difficulty finding forever homes. After all, when Jay and Andrea first adopted this adorable duo, they found themselves pitying Oaty and Bagel due to the severity of their symptoms. However, over the past 13 months, Jay and Andrea have been amazed and inspired by their determination, and they hope other people will consider opening their homes to severe CH kitties like Bagel and Oaty.

“All of a sudden, a year has passed and we have seen what they are so very capable of,” says Jay. “Being at the severe end of the CH ‘spectrum’ should not deter people, and we are happy to share the shortcuts and tricks we used to simplify life for our severe CH kitties.”

Image via @oatyandbagel on Instagram

Before reading about Oaty and Bagel, Jay and Andrea knew nothing about cerebellar hypoplasia, and neither of them had ever interacted with an animal with special needs. Just 13 months later, they are now advocates for special needs cats, especially those with severe CH, and these Texas teachers are determined to show people just how rewarding it can be to adopt pets like Oaty and Bagel.

“Oatmeal and Bagel are the key to future cats with special needs being in our lives,” explains Jay. “They opened our eyes to an even bigger world of pet adoption, and we see them as only the beginning. It almost feels like fate, as we were already fiercely loyal cat lovers. We were already advocates for people with special needs, and we have now added animals with special needs to our advocacy.”

Image via @oatyandbagel on Instagram

To learn more about this adorable cats, you can follow Bagel and Oaty on Instagram.

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