Mari Tom and her boyfriend Adam Maxon were looking to add another cat to their family, so they visited the website for Seattle Humane Society in early 2012 and found themselves immediately drawn to a pair of special needs kitties.
The couple learned that the kittens — Luna and Hobbes — were around five months old, and they had both been born with cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), a non-progressive neurological condition. “It said they would need to live with another cat, so we thought they would be a good fit,” remembers Mari.
Hopeful the kittens would get along well with their cat Eevee, the couple visited Seattle Humane Society the following day to meet Luna, a stunning one-eyed calico, and Hobbes, a fluffy ginger, in person. “When we first met Luna and Hobbes, they were sharing a kennel,” explains Mari. “Luna was at the front, crawling up, sticking her arms and legs out the bars, meowing. She seemed to really love attention. Hobbes was quietly observing in the back.”
During a meet and greet, Mari and Adam learned that Luna and Hobbes were only the kittens in a litter of six who had been born cerebellar hypoplasia, most likely because their mother had been exposed to the panleukopenia virus during her pregnancy. As a result, the kittens’ cerebellums didn’t develop properly, causing them to have issues with balance and coordination.
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“When we spoke with the staff at the Humane Society they said a lot of families showed interested in Luna and Hobbes, and they would meet and greet them,” says Mari. “But after seeing how they had difficulty walking, the families thought they were cute, but not a good fit or they seemed to be too much work and commitment.”
The couple discovered that Hobbes had moderate cerebellar hypoplasia, causing him to be more wobbly and less coordinated than his sister, who has a milder form of the condition. They also learned that when Luna was younger, she had been diagnosed with blindness in one eye as a result of glaucoma, so the eye was removed.
While Luna and Hobbes were different from other cats, Mari and Adam both thought they were perfect, so they decided to adopt the bonded pair of siblings. “I felt sad to hear that other families were passing them up due to their condition,” explains Mari. “We wanted to give them a spoiled, loving home.”
Back at Mari and Adam’s house in Renton, Washington, the kittens quickly settled into their new home, bonding with their parents and showing off their unique personalities and abilities. “When Luna and Hobbes were kittens, I would keep them in a playpen to keep them safe so they wouldn’t get hurt,” remembers Mari. “Well, Luna would always climb out. The height did not phase her.”
Not only was Luna fearless, she was incredibly loving and affectionate, something that hasn’t changed over the course of past six years. “She follows me around the house; we sit together on the couch,” says Mari. “She will come to me when called; she is just so sweet. She just makes me feel so loved.”
While Luna loves cuddling and meeting new people, Hobbes is a bit more independent, and he can often be found playing with his catnip toys or sleeping on his parents’ bed. “He rests his head on a pillow and doesn’t mind being tucked in,” says Mari. “He can sleep next to you the whole night.”
Because his cerebellar hypoplasia is a bit more severe than Luna’s, Hobbes tends to fall over more often than his sister and his lack of balance sometimes makes it difficult for him to use the litter box. “The litter box has high sides, so they can help him stand up straight,” explains Mari. “He tends to lose his balance a lot when in the litter box. Usually at least once a day he will completely fall out of the box while going potty.”
While Luna is less wobbly than her brother, she’s still not able to jump very well — although that doesn’t stop her from getting where she wants to go — and she sometimes has trouble with depth perception. “I think it has to do with missing an eye more than her CH,” says Mari. “If she is jumping onto the couch, she cannot always calculate how far away she is from the couch.”
Even though Luna and Hobbes may be different from other cats, sometimes needing a bit more care than the typical feline, Mari and Adam have never regretted choosing them, even when people have questioned why they adopted wobbly kitties, one of which is missing an eye. “I have been asked what’s wrong with them,” says Mari. “I have had people tell me they were nervous to meet Luna because she only had one eye. They thought she looked weird.”
While Mari realizes some people are concerned about Luna and Hobbes’s happiness and well-being, she’s confident they’re happy and active cats who deserve to live just as much as any other feline. “I think some people feel it would be best to euthanize cats with CH because of their quality of life,” says Mari. “But I would say meet a CH cat first. I have never had cats so cuddly, loving, and docile as Luna and Hobbes.”
Like typical cats, these adorable siblings like to eat, play, and cuddle, and Luna even enjoys going for walks on her harness, something a lot of able-bodied kitties refuse to even attempt. When Mari and Adam visited Seattle Humane Society’s website more than six years ago, they were looking to adopt a companion for their cat Eevee, not a pair of kittens with cerebellar hypoplasia. Fortunately for everyone involved, Luna and Hobbes found the perfect forever home with this loving couple, turning Mari into an advocate for animals with special needs.
“Thanks to Hobbes and Luna, anymore additions to our family have been special needs animals,” explains Mari. “I definitely will always have a place in my heart for CH cats, especially these two. I love them so much. They are the best additions to our family I could have asked for.”
Without a doubt, Luna and Hobbes are thriving, thanks largely to their amazing parents, but Mari is adamant that these incredibly special cats provide her and her boyfriend with more than enough affection to make up for any extra effort they might require. “Both Luna and Hobbes greet me at the door every day I come home from work,” says Mari. “They are both sleeping next to me on the bed if I am ever home sick from work. They comfort me if I feel lonely or sad. They’ve changed our lives for the better.”
To learn more about these adorable cats, you can follow Luna and Hobbes on Instagram.