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Here We Go Again - Pregnant Stray (with CH?)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello all!

Yesterday one of my husband's customers gave us a pregnant stray that they found but can't take care of. She's gorgeous and very young--I think she's under 1 year, but I don't know for sure yet. She was fine all day yesterday, but late last night, she started getting head tremors and her back legs wouldn't support her. She was still alert while it was happening--she was very aware of the other cats around her and could focus on an object (fingers snapping, etc), even though her eyes were tremoring back and forth. This went on in cycles on and off for at least an hour (when I finally went to sleep and hubby stayed up with her). This morning, she was fine again and can walk normally.

I think she may have cerebellar hypoplasia, I've seen cats with that notorious head tremor. I've been trying to do some research but I can't find any information on if it can happen on and off like that; it seems most CH cats are always wobbly in their back legs, if they can use them at all.

I AM going to take her to the vet Saturday to get her checked out and make sure the babies are okay, how far along she is, how old she is, etc. but if I can get any information before then, it would really ease our nerves.

Does this sound like CH? My biggest concern is if she'll be able to give birth normally and if her kittens will be okay--can they inherit this at all?

One more question: is there anything I can do for her when she goes into these tremor fits? We tried to keep her lying down on a soft blanket and tried to gently hold her head just so it wasn't flopping all over. I read on a website that the tremors can come when they're excited and go away when they're calm, is there a good way to help her calm down?

Thanks so much in advance for any advice you can give me. I'll be sure to post some pictures of her and her kittens when they come I went through pregnancy and birth before with a stray and it was the best experience of my life.
post #2 of 16
Just a wild shot in the dark, but ... is it possible she has a calcium deficiency? That can happen to pregnant cats, I think...
post #3 of 16
Hope she is ok, but you may need to be doing a spay/abort if its not a good thing to try and have the kittens. Keep us updated about her.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for mentioning a calcium deficiency, mrblanche. I will ask the vet about it. I did a bit of research and the symptoms might match, but I don't know what it means that it comes and goes.

Golden, it would break my heart but I would definitely spay her if her or the kittens would be in danger. I would rather make the decision to lose a litter than have to watch either the mother or babies suffer.
post #5 of 16
I'm pretty sure those symptoms can be caused by a calcium deficiency or by low blood sugar, but in either case I doubt they would go away on their own. Did she eat anything during her episode?

I don't know much about CH, but I hope she and her kittens will be okay.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
She did eat between the "cycles" when she was calm for a few minutes, but this was during the first 15 mins or so, she still had them for the next 45 mins+ after eating--I don't know how long it would take for her blood sugar to go back up after eating if that was the case. I don't know if low blood sugar would cause the head tremors though? I can say for sure the head tremors looked exactly like CH kitties.
post #7 of 16
The most common symptom of CH is abnormal gait, here is a video of example:


The most common sign of hypocalcemia (low calcium) is fever, followed by painful muscle cramps, bizarre behavior and agression. In the early stages, acting "drunk" is very common. Hypocalcemia progresses very quickly and is almost always fatal, unless vet attention is obtained early and quickly. Hypocalcemia most commonly occurs in dogs, but in cats and dogs, it is most common 2-3 weeks after delivery, and it is commonly brought on by overuse of supplements during pregnancy.

She could have anything from poisoning to an infection, so it is good you are taking her to a vet.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
I don't think she has hypocalcemia now after reading a bit more. She wouldn't have gotten better this morning if that were it. I'm going to try to call my vet soon tonight and get an idea--if she does have something like hypocalcemia, she would need to go to the vet tonight, not wait until the weekend.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I didn't get a chance to call the vet last night before they closed. She hasn't had another episode though yet, at least not while we were with her. I'm hoping this is a good sign and I think she'll be okay to wait until Saturday to see the vet. My husband is getting very nervous though, since we aren't positive if she'll be okay to give birth yet, he's afraid of what will happen if she goes into labor before we take her to the vet.

If anyone can still answer the questions about whether CH kitties can give birth okay or if they can pass it on to their kittens, it would still be good information to have
post #10 of 16
I believe CH is genetically linked. I had two fosters, brother cats who had it. (the better waking of the two found a furever home) so I do believe it can be passed. It has also it has been linked with feline lukemia, so I would have her tested. A spay/abort may be needed if she tests positive.

Limpy has it very badly, but he's so full of life. He's more like (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppDbIHRPOSY) that kitty when he's excited. He's negative for feline lukemia thankfully. He loves to go out in the yard and "chase" me down to my garden.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Siblings usually get it together because CH happens in the womb, I understand that much at least from my research. I haven't been able to find ANYTHING, yes or no, if it can be passed onto offspring if the mother had it. I couldn't find anything about pregnant CH cats--probably because the people who care for them make sure they are fixed.

I plan to get her tested for FIV/Leukemia, since we will most likely be keeping the mother permanently.
post #12 of 16
I was under the impression that CH is often cause by the mother getting sick at a crucial stage in the kittens' development.

But the symptoms are very unlikely to come and go.
post #13 of 16
I'm pretty sure it is caused by the pregnant mother having an active FIP infection going on while pregnant, it causes a brain injury in the fetuses.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just got back from the vet. She doesn't have CH, the vet confirmed that it doesn't come and go--the cat will ALWAYS have problems walking.

She is about a year old and both the vet and tech were really surprised that she was in such good condition for being a stray--her fur, teeth, and eyes are all incredibly healthy. She does have a little bit of crud in her ears, but I'm going to be giving her Revolution, which will take care of any ear mites.

The vet's best guess is 2-3 weeks for the kittens to get here, but she wouldn't even guess how many kittens. I know there are at least two, I can feel them.

I asked her about the episode she had the other night, which there still hasn't been a repeat. After ruling a few things out, she said it was either a seizure or a blood clot. She tried to feel along the lower part of her back and Frenchy did NOT like it, so the vet would like to check it out more after she has the babies, since I don't want to do a lot of testing and stressful things while she's preggers. Either way though, she should be safe to have the kittens. I was warned though that if she does have epilepsy, labor might excite her too much and could trigger another seizure, so if that happens, I have to take her to the vet ASAP (obviously), but she thinks everything will be okay.

I was going to take her to a low-cost vaccine clinic today to get her tested for FIV/Leuk but she was so stressed out and grumpy after the vet was poking and prodding her, I decided to wait on it.

I did find out she has tapeworms a few days ago, so I treated her for that with Tradewinds, which is safe for pregnant cats.

Out of curiosity, I asked the vet about CH cats who get pregnant and if they can usually have the babies naturally. She said she honestly had no idea, because she's never heard of a CH cat getting pregnant. She also told me that CH can't be passed on from a mother with CH to her babies, distemper is really the only thing that causes it.
post #15 of 16
I'm glad to hear that she doesn't have CH, and I hope she doesn't have epilepsy.
Hopefully it was somoething easy like a spell of hypoglycemia or dehydration.
post #16 of 16
Dang... I wish I saw this thread earlier! I could've eased your fears of CH by telling you that she wasn't having any of the symptoms of CH. I have a kitty with moderate CH, and I always say that it's the kitty version of human cerebral palsy (which my sister has ). It doesn't come and go, it's always there. Both Taylor (cat) and Susie (sis) have their good days and bad days. But everyday they have the same symptoms.

Your vet was right with her not having CH. But just so you know, even if she DID have CH, it isn't a life sentence. They live happy, healthy lives and learn to deal with what they've got, just as a human with a disability would. And boy, do they tend to develop very unique and "kooky" personalities lol! Any CH kitty owner would agree with me on that. It's like their little handicapped people . And as a CH kitty owner, I would say that I would think that Taylor would be able to deliver kittens normally. She may not be a really "accurate" mother, but it would probably work. That part of the brain isn't affected. (okay, my Taylor is 13 years old and spayed, so there's no babies in her future! ) The leading cause of CH in cats is the distemper/mommy/babies thing that you explained, however there is another cause: brain damage AFTER birth. Like if someone threw the cat against a wall or kicked/hit it in the head, damages the cerebellum, then there ya go- ya got CH. But that's a much more rare example.

I hope everything works out for Frenchy and her babies! Can't wait for them to be born! YIPPEE!!! more baby pictures! Who doesn't love a good baby pic, am I right?!
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