A kind stranger noticed a very pregnant cat in her yard one day so she took her into the house. That night the cat, now named Crystal, had a litter of kittens and in that litter was little Gabrielle, or Gabby for short. The kind stranger wasn’t able to keep the new family because she already had two cats of her own, so she called VOKRA.
When Crystal and the kittens arrived we began to notice that Gabby was different than her brother and sister. Her back legs were crooked and she walked with a funny wobble that made her fall down a lot. After consulting with a vet she was diagnosed as having something called feline cerebellar hypoplasia (CH). Gabby was born with CH as her cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls fine motor skills and coordination, was underdeveloped at birth. There could be a number of reasons why a kitten can be born with CH, but most commonly it happens when the mother contracts a virus while pregnant or if there was some sort of trauma to the kitten while in the womb. The good news is CH is non-progressive and with some extra care cats with the condition can live a normal, healthy life.
Crystal knows Gabby is special so she spends a lot of time watching over her and she doesn’t like it one bit when they’re separated. In addition to loving Gabby, Crystal loves attention! She’s very affectionate and gives plenty of purrs and kisses. Sometimes she’ll even stand on her back legs so you can reach her head more easily and give her a pet. Despite being a mom, Crystal’s only two and a half years old so she still has the spring of a kitten. This is evident when she and Gabby are playing with the cat dancer, laser pointer and other toys.
Despite Gabby’s challenges she’s never stopped exploring and playing enthusiastically. And she’s never met a cat tree she couldn’t tackle! For the past several months Gabby’s been undergoing regular physiotherapy with her foster mom and each day her back legs have been getting stronger which has improved her balance and coordination. She’ll never be able to run around the house like her mom Crystal, but no matter how many times she falls over she always picks herself back up again and keeps heading forward.
Crystal and Gabby are looking for a forever home with people who understand and appreciate how special Gabby is. She may need a bit of extra care, but she’ll reward you everyday with love. If you’d like to meet these two and learn more about Gabby’s special needs, please contact your adoption counsellor or fill out an adoption application here.
Written with assistance from Katherine Drabek
We’re raising money to help get Gabby back on her feet. We estimate it’ll cost $2,000 to pay for her specialized diet, a harness to help her get around, acupuncture treatments and all her medical expenses. You can help us reach our goal by donating today.