Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror

VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

If all this COVID-19 pandemic, presidential impeachment and congressional riot stuff is getting you down, Donna Goodenough has an idea for injecting some positivity into your life.

The owner of Campbell River’s Kalmar Cat Hotel suggests adopting a cat with a disability. That’s what she’s done and the experience has been overwhelmingly positive.

“All my cats are special needs and I know from experience, they give love in a different way,” Goodenough said. “And it’s very rewarding. And I would love for people to search their heart and see if they don’t have a little extra love for the special needs cats that probably no one else would want.”

Two kittens that Goodenough recently adopted suffer from cerebellar hypoplasia, also known as wobbly cats syndrome, a neurological disorder resulting from interrupted development of the brain leading to uncoordinated movement. The symptoms include problems walking, running, jumping or even locating items around them and the severity can vary widely.

“Their mind cannot control any of these wild movements that they make,” Goodenough said. “They’re just a rodeo!”

When Goodenough calls her cats Poppy and Lilly to their food bowls the two seven-month-old kittens come a-running just like any kitten. But, sadly, their condition makes the mad dash to the bowl a jumble of paws and legs flailing in uncoordinated jerks, stumbles and crashes. It’s amusing and their enthusiasm is cute but it’s a little bit sad too.

Story continues below video…

With the cats that Goodenough has adopted with their condition, on a scale of 1-10, one of them is a two or three while the other is a nine, Goodenough said.

So, when they’re called to dinner, it’s “all bets are off,” Goodenough said. “Stand back! The bulls have been let out of the corral,” she says drawing allusions to the scene in Pamplona, Spain with the Running of the Bulls.

Usually, when kittens are born with this condition they’re often put down or abandoned but Goodenough wants people to look beyond their disability. She said her vet did express to her his concerns about their condition.

‘He asked me if I thought she had a good quality of life,” Goodenough said. And I gotta tell you…I think they do. You should see these girls play! Oh my goodness, give them a toy and they just go bananas!”

The cats are born with their condition and have never known anything different. Goodenough agrees that if they had suffered an injury like a broken back or something that would cripple them for the rest of their life, that would perhaps be different.

“That would be something that I would have to consider further,” Goodenough said. “But I can tell you for a fact, they’re happy. And they’re not in pain, except when they fall down and bang their head. Poppy does a lot.”

But Goodenough has other disabled cats, in fact, she has another cat that has the same condition that she got prior to the two new kittens. Goodenough grades, Zoe, the older cat’s condition at a two or three.

Goodenough runs the Kalmar Cat Hotel in which she boards cats but she also has six cats of her own. She put the word out that she is willing to adopt disabled cats.

RELATED: Hotel for cats in Campbell River holding open house on Sunday

“I have been asking all my friends if they hear about any kind of a disability, I will take that cat. I just had the urge for another disabled. I have a soft spot for the ones that might be overlooked at adoption times,” she said. “In my opinion, they give so much more than a happy cat, you know, that’s just fine in every way. These need a little help. And it just enriches my life.”

Poppy and Lilly were acquired from a rescue organization in Victoria, Broken Promises Rescue. Goodenough had put the call out for special needs cats and a girlfriend in Mill Bay put her in touch with Pamela Saddler at Broken Promises.

She was thrilled to know that Goodenough already had experience with CH (cerebellar hypoplasia) cats because nobody had wanted to take these cats. Because Goodenough doesn’t drive, Saddler delivered the cat to her door. Goodenough has had them for two months now and she says they are doing well.

The biggest change Goodenough had to do to her house to accommodate the new arrivals was to their potty area. Because they are unable to get into a litter box – “they’ll just fall out” – she uses a plastic liner that usually goes in the bottom of a dog crate and puts newspaper on it. The cats have been trained to go on newspaper, jut like a puppy, and there are “pee pads” on top of the newspaper and then more newspaper. She needs a lot of newspaper and gets a lot of it donated by the Campbell River Mirror.

“They know to go there and for the most part, they can make it there. They will fall down and if I can get to them in time, I’ll hold them. So they don’t fall down in the pee.”

So, obviously bathroom time is when the real commitment to the cats comes into play.

“Poppy’s real good and she’s pretty easy, although she will fall over backwards. It’s something she can’t help and Lilly, on the other hand, if I hear her going stepping on the papers, I will run in and grab her because she just has no control.”

But Goodenough, whose whole life is dedicated to cats, and has organized her house again to accommodate the newcomers, she would have it no other way.

“They’re both just adorable,” she said.

So, if you’re looking for something to lift you out of the doldrums, consider giving an animal with a disability a home. Donna Goodenough can testify to the satisfaction it will bring you.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

RELATED: Three kittens found zipped in freezer bag abandoned at BC SPCA branch


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Pier has reportedly been unused for a long time

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read