March 19, 2008 7:48 PM   Subscribe

This Is Charley. Charley is a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia.
posted by homunculus (68 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
Let the LOLCATS begin in 5,4,3....
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 7:51 PM on March 19, 2008

Oh god, oh god, oh god. I think that is now my favorite cat of all time.

* cries, unashamedly *
posted by yhbc at 7:52 PM on March 19, 2008

A friend of mine adopted two cats (siblings) with this condition years ago. They do need a little extra attention. For example, these cats will try to leap onto something, but completely miss their target and come crashing down to the floor, not on their feet like one expects from other cats. However, they seem to be blissfully unaware of their condition and are as lovable and great as any other pet. Definitely not deserving of the unfortunate fate that many get, as the video suggests.
posted by aletheia at 7:59 PM on March 19, 2008

Mrs. Commish just reminds me there was a spastic cat at the shelter where we adopted our current two cats - she wasn't allowed for adoption, and was a permanent resident at the shelter, but she was also very sweet and obviously ran the place.

Again, awwwwwww.
posted by yhbc at 8:01 PM on March 19, 2008

Awwww... My heart strings have officially been tugged. I'm going to give my own kitties extra snuggles tonight.
posted by amyms at 8:01 PM on March 19, 2008

*tears up a bit* What a sweet kitty. Thanks for posting, homunculus.
posted by pointystick at 8:03 PM on March 19, 2008

And you should see the poetry that cat types with just one hind paw.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:04 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

*BLINKS* what, cats that don't run free and kill birds for fun? This could seriously interfere with my total hatred of cats.
posted by localroger at 8:05 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

I love this video ever since I saw it months ago. Charley's video is up there with Skeeter's.
posted by flatluigi at 8:10 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Pretty damn cute, this feline Forrest Gump.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:10 PM on March 19, 2008

That just plain fuckin' ruled.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 8:15 PM on March 19, 2008

My coworker talks about how her sister has two cats with cerebral palsy. This must be what she is actually talking about.
posted by Tesseractive at 8:18 PM on March 19, 2008

posted by dersins at 8:20 PM on March 19, 2008

I've got five one-month-old kittens, and they are just now starting to get coordinated. But they've been totally adorable since week two. Yes. I'm getting her spayed, and yes, it's a little late. They're SO CUTE. I would be smitten regardless if one or more of them were like Charley. I hope they all turn out to have such an excellent disposition. Heck, Charley's not a bad role model for anyone.

Thanks for the post!
posted by owhydididoit at 8:32 PM on March 19, 2008

He looks cute, but I hear he tore poor Algernon's head off.
posted by brain_drain at 8:33 PM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

That was pretty freaking cute. I want a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia!
posted by arcticwoman at 8:34 PM on March 19, 2008

Really cute, and with great music :D
posted by crunch buttsteak at 8:45 PM on March 19, 2008

Gordon's faceplant at :31 is adorable.
posted by painquale at 9:03 PM on March 19, 2008

oh lord, how I hate papyrus.
posted by brevator at 9:04 PM on March 19, 2008 [9 favorites]

Yep. Despite the use of Papyrus...gonna have to put me down for a cute tag as well.
posted by paddysat at 9:10 PM on March 19, 2008

I'm glad they kind of explain on the video that he's in no pain and has a normal life expectancy. He is a cutie and looks like he is with people who love him.
posted by robinrs at 9:11 PM on March 19, 2008

Note to self: owe brevator one Coke.
posted by paddysat at 9:15 PM on March 19, 2008

And WTF is up with YouTube's "related video" algorithm!?! Charlie the Unicorn!?! Talk about SO not related.
posted by paddysat at 9:17 PM on March 19, 2008

Oh wow. My own, sweet, none-too-cordinated cat looks exactly like Charley. (Although Gatsby's excuse is that he's a Hemingway, and is constantly knocked down by his bigger brother.)

Great post.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:43 PM on March 19, 2008

And for the dog lovers, there's Sarah Bella, a pup owned by a dog trainer in the Bay Area.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 10:16 PM on March 19, 2008

Yesterday our sweet boy cat severely broke his right front leg. We don't know how. It's in a position where the only two options are inserting a plate or amputation.

We've spent the last two days agonizing. If we insert the plate, he has to be crated for a month, then confined to a small room for an additional month -- which essentially means a crate for two months, because he is a constantly leaping ball of energy, a force of nature. Such confinement would be a torture to him, and we are terrified that the cat we released from the crate after all that time would be a shadow of his former self. This, for a procedure that may or may not work.

Then there is the thought of taking our graceful boy's leg away from him. Cutting it away from him! However, it's a week's recovery as opposed to eight, and the literature I keep reading is that cats are very adaptable to this kind of thing. Yet I can't stop crying and wondering if we've made the best of two bad choices.

He is in the hospital waiting for morning and the amputation. But he doesn't have the cancer that was initially feared, and he's stabilized after a night of bad respiratory problems. He's alive.

Homunculus, thank you for this reminder that disability is not fatal and that any one life's value is not in its perfection but it how much one loves and is loved in return. I thought I knew those things already, and I think I will know them again, but right now I am heartbroken and needed to know, really know, that our little boy could be happy again. Us, too. So thanks.
posted by melissa may at 10:27 PM on March 19, 2008 [11 favorites]

You are very welcome. I hope you're cat does okay.
posted by homunculus at 10:30 PM on March 19, 2008

homunculus, kudos to you - this is one of the best posts I've ever seen on MeFi, in all seriousness.

Great video that hopefully gets a few people to talk about something that's uncomfortable but has an "easy" solution to it.
posted by djspicerack at 10:42 PM on March 19, 2008

melissa may : the huge ginger tom cat that lived at my boyfriend's university hostel had a leg amputated to the shoulder during the time we were there. He already only had one eye (was called Nelson). He continued to live an active happy life and his co-ordination or activity levels were never compromised, even with the double whammy of lost body parts. The only change was when he played up the one leg thing, limping around the cottages and looking sad, about the time of night that the residents were cooking dinner and there were scraps to be had. No trace of a limp at any other time. You totally made the right choice.

Cats are very adaptable, as Charley shows.
posted by shelleycat at 10:43 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've been trying to remember where I first saw this last year, and finally remembered: via Mind Hacks (again). Kudos also to Lara at MoFi for inspiring this post.
posted by homunculus at 10:49 PM on March 19, 2008

Holy crap. Charley, the cat who taught Mefi to love.
posted by bpm140 at 10:52 PM on March 19, 2008 [21 favorites]

Wonderful post. Yay Charley!
posted by dhammond at 11:21 PM on March 19, 2008

Best. Post. EVER.
posted by Soliloquy at 11:23 PM on March 19, 2008

I am so torn between wanting to show this to my girlfriend and having to have the "Honey, this dump just isn't big enough for a cat!" conversation.

Somethin' in my eye, is all.

All the best to you and your little guy, mm.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:30 PM on March 19, 2008

Awww. He reminds me of my parents/my cat. She was abused, or at any rate unloved and alone as a kitten, and was found and rescued from living in the boiler room at the school where my mum worked. She doesn't have an ounce of the standoffishness of the stereotypical cat, and will let you tickle her tummy and ruffle her fur in any direction while she drools blissfully on you. She regularly headbuts you affectionately, diving into the crook of your arm or the palm of your hand in an odd, time frozen parody of breastfeeding. Were she human, I am sure she would be categorized as, at best, severely developmentally disabled, but she is the sweetest natured cat I've ever encountered. I would clone her in an instant.

Thanks for the post!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:27 AM on March 20, 2008

I am so torn between wanting to show this to my girlfriend and having to have the "Honey, this dump just isn't big enough for a cat!" conversation.

You're thinking too small. What about a cat and a ferret? They could keep each other company! Surely she'd go for that. And if not, it would make just getting a cat sound more reasonable.
posted by homunculus at 12:37 AM on March 20, 2008

OMG, that ferret is relentless! Reminds me of the cat and the killer tortoise.
posted by =^^= at 12:57 AM on March 20, 2008

Do. Not. Like. Cats. (That is just something in my eye.)
posted by trip and a half at 1:04 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Can someone please write something scathing? I'm starting to regain my faith in human nature. Well, vis-a-vis spastic cats anyway.
posted by rhymer at 2:21 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

How bad should I feel for having a laugh-attack the first time they showed Charley trying to walk?

I think the librarians are looking at me...
posted by alon at 2:48 AM on March 20, 2008

Charley melts my evil, wicked heart.

And reminds me, of course, of Li'l Brudder.

"He's got the heart of a champion. You're gonna make it, Li'l Brudder! You just keep trippin' along!" *sobs*
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 3:15 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Athena and Beatrix, who also have this condition, live at Home for Life, a permanent shelter for animals that need special treatment and would normally be considered unadoptable.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:20 AM on March 20, 2008

OK, all of these videos are making me blubber, but I have to say...this is definitely my favorite. That is one awesome turtle.
posted by LeeJay at 4:13 AM on March 20, 2008

melissa may: i don't know any cats personally who have had limbs amputated (although a friend of mine had to have one of her cat's eyes removed, and the cat recovered fine), but a friend of mine had to have the vets remove one of her dog's hind legs. and the dog was fine. apparently, when he woke up, it was "hm. something's different. OH MY GOD LOOK OVER THERE I SEE A BALL! I HAVE TO CHEW IT" and that was about it.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:03 AM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]

You're a kitty!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:37 AM on March 20, 2008 [5 favorites]

He is a cutie and looks like he is with people who love him.

As soon as I saw the guy "boxing" with Charley, all I could think was 'Now, there's the definition of a cat person.'

(Not that I would know.)
posted by kittyprecious at 6:08 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the sweet post.
posted by Atreides at 6:26 AM on March 20, 2008

I have a cat with this disability. She is sweet and personable, and in almost every way just like a normal cat. The only things her disability really affects is her ability to get on the counter (or any other high place - not such a bad thing, IMO), and when she is chasing her toys, she almost always overshoots by 6-10 inches. Oh, and she forgets to stop running sometimes, and crashes into walls or falls off of the couch.
posted by chuke at 6:55 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

melissa may: My big orange cat lost his left arm to cancer six years ago. They kept him at the vet's for two days (sedation + painkillers) and his first couple of days home were a little rough (hint: keep him on soft surfaces for the first little while - he'll faceplant a few times as he tries to figure out tripodular locomotion). But a couple of days later he was back to jumping onto the dining room table to steal my breakfast (getting down was a bit more challenging), and he was quickly back to being his usual self. Let us know how you're doing (MetaChat thread, maybe?).

Apologies to homunculus for the derail of his wonderful post. And to the Papyrus bashers, it coulda been worse: COMIC SANS.
posted by hangashore at 7:01 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

That's the thing about animals with disabilities. Unlike humans, they don't mourn what "could have been," or the loss of a limb. They just keep on living. Beautiful little video, thank you.
posted by agregoli at 7:28 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wonderful post. Charley's got me crying at work.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:24 AM on March 20, 2008

Thank you all so much -- I'm still a wreck but I am genuinely comforted by your kind words. Honestly, we keep vacillating about what to do and will soon be speaking to his surgeon for her final opinion on the best choice for our little guy. At least I know if he loses the leg he may yet try to steal my pizza (or my salad, or my flowers -- he surely loves to eat, even things that were never meant for that purpose). I'm grateful to have seen this little movie about Charley at just the moment I needed to, and to you guys too.
posted by melissa may at 8:36 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Rolling Dog Ranch cares for a number of animals with CH and many other disabilities, and a happier, funnier bunch of animals I've never seen. They've had an unusually rough few weeks, so their blog is maybe not for the very tender-hearted right at the moment, but the work they do and the animals they care for are overwhelmingly inspiring.

Melissa, they might have some resources listed that can help you as you go through this. I'm so sorry for your troubles.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:00 AM on March 20, 2008

melissa may: i worked at an animal shelter for 9 years, and our "shelter kitty" was an amazing amputee named darwin.

believe me, the removal of his leg (it had been crushed by something, and when he was brought in as a stray was mangled and severely infected) in no way affected the quality of his life.

on the flip side, i have a friend who has a kitty that was hit by a car. a severe broken leg was fixed with a plate, but it didn't heal quite properly. so, that kitty is living out her life with a leg that's not too useful anyway. it doesn't hurt the kitty. but my friends rather wish they'd gone the amputation route.

just FYI. you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers -- what a difficult position.

homunculus: thank you. what a touching video.
posted by CitizenD at 10:30 AM on March 20, 2008

Who's a kitten? Who's an adorable kitten? Yes! Yes, you're the cutest cat ever, yes you are!

*skritch skritch skritch*

*sends melissa may good thoughts and best wishes*
*sends melissa may's cat skritches and slices of pizza*

Thanks, homunculus. I'm a total sucker for cats anyway, and this post in no way discourages that. But now I really want to go home and hug all my cats.
posted by rtha at 11:18 AM on March 20, 2008

Thanks, homunculus. Charley is adorable!

Charley (Gordon, etc...) made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but Skeeter from FlatLuigi just made me sad. An animal that can't get excited?! Poor thing!

Melissa May - good luck to you and your kitty.
posted by LittleLisi at 11:56 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

and having to have the "Honey, this dump just isn't big enough for a cat!" conversation.

As said, cats are adaptable. They will be happy in a big space or a small one, as long as they get some attention, have a clean litter-box, and are given a space to sleep, you can easily keep a cat in a little apartment.

Now whether or not you have enough room might be a different story, but the cat would be fine.

Oh, and random crap on your floor like milk carton rings and balls of aluminum foil. Cats need these too. But no worries, even if you don't give it to them, they will find stuff to keep themselves entertained.
posted by quin at 3:00 PM on March 20, 2008

I did cry. What a wimp.
posted by digaman at 3:09 PM on March 20, 2008

As soon as I saw the guy "boxing" with Charley, all I could think was 'Now, there's the definition of a cat person.'

(Not that I would know.)
posted by kittyprecious at 9:08 AM on March 20


- John H.
posted by JHarris at 5:56 PM on March 20, 2008

In other adorable pet news: Jerry needs no help playing with his ball.
posted by homunculus at 6:29 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

A pool and a slide appears to keep this dog entertained for hours.
posted by =^^= at 8:15 PM on March 20, 2008

Almost as cool as the mytonic goats [Youtube].
posted by neuron at 9:04 PM on March 20, 2008

Now I know why my cat is not like the other cats. She's not as wobbly as Charley but she runs as sideways as a crab and falls a lot. She loves to hunt snails. We love her anyway.
posted by grounded at 9:04 PM on March 20, 2008

Of course, the cat doesn't know that it has cerebellar hypoplasia. Just as my friend's congenitally blind cat doesn't know that it's blind. Ya can't miss what ya never knew ya had.
posted by neuron at 9:04 PM on March 20, 2008

I have a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia. Dude is one cool, determined and tough cat. Does not accept the fact that he is different from my other two. He is a long haired cat too so he is extra cute. They say he is in no pain, but quite frankly I do not believe it. There is no way that my cat who routinely falls down the stairs, falls over when sneezing, jumps off the couch into the coffee table is not hurt by all the falling and bumping. He gets run over by little children visitors all the time. But, he loves it. He would do most anything for attention. Pet him or pick him up and hold him, and you have a friend for life. We have wood floors downstairs and he has some interesting times. He is like a 4 year old on ice skates for the first time. Fearless, but not in control. Upstairs on the carpet, he can do pretty well. We do not clip his nails like we do the other two because he really literally claws his way up onto chairs and furniture.

Now I am about to go cat owner whacky, but I think one of the other cats we have who was part of his litter, actually feels sorry for his brother and helps him out. He will wait for the spastic one while the other cat who is female and 5 years older wants nothing to do with him. I know that both of the able bodied cats know. One sympathizes and helps and the other takes advantage by running real fast at him and past him just to watch him turn his head causing him to fall on his ass.

Watching the cat try to steady himself to take a deuce in his box is quite the site too.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:40 PM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]

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