Awhile back I had made some vague references to our cat with the promise that someday I would post more about her. This Sunday Scribblings prompt was perfect for this post.
2 left, 2 right, 2 left, 2 right, 2 left, 2 right…….
No, I have not finally dropped my basket. This is how our cat Sadie Mae walks. The term for her gait is pacing. She moves her left front and back feet forward as one, then her right front and back feet forward as one. Thud, thud, thud…… literally, that’s what it sounds like when she walks. It’s not the most graceful way of moving, but it gets her where she wants to go. We call it “kerflunking”.
She has problems figuring out where her food is (she sniffs around for a few seconds before she finally locates where the bowl is — ditto with her water) and if you hold a treat out for her to eat, she usually has to dig her claws into your hand in order to find it.
Also — when she walks, her tail does not move. If you watch a cat, their tail is usually moving all over the place — balancing, sensing, and letting its owner know what it’s mood is. Sadie’s is usually in the shape of a sort of question mark hook that always curls to the right. I think it’s a very apt look for a cat like her.
Have you ever seen a cat lay down? Most cats just kind of stretch and ooze onto the floor. It’s a very graceful movement. Not our Sadie. Sadie doesn’t have a graceful movement. When she decides that she wants to lay down, she falls over on her side, usually with an accompanying “ooof”. We call it flumping.
Watching her run is a treat. It’s the hardest thing to explain. She either walks or runs full tilt. Because she doesn’t have a lot of control over her back legs, she’s not aware of how much strength she actually has, and when she pushes off to run, her back end tends to start coming around. Her back end will swing from left to right to left to right with each push. Very bizarre. Sweet Baboo calls it “jack rabbitting”.
The reason for all of this strange behavior is that Sadie’s mother contracted distemper when she was pregnant. All of the other kittens in the litter were fine, but Sadie was afflicted with Cerebellar Hypoplasia. Because of her mother’s distemper, Sadie’s cerebellum was damaged (the part of the brain that controls balance and coordination) and since there is no cure for this disorder, Sadie will always have coordination, balance, and spatial problems. It’s fine with her tho — she doesn’t think that there is anything wrong with her!!
When we adopted Sadie, the lady at PetPals told us about her disability. We had just lost another tuxedo and wanted another one. We just fell in love with her on the spot and I think that we’ve taken good care of her. Other than her disorder, her life is otherwise happy. We’re lucky that she has the mild case that she has. Other cats have tremors and even less control than Sadie does. She manages to hunt and catch birds/mice/snakes (UGH!!) just like other cats and also bring home “meals” for us. We’re lucky to live in an area where there are no dogs and few other cats, plus we live at the end of a dead end street so traffic goes very slowly. Yes, it is indeed good to be Sadie. She’s more fun to watch than cable TV plus she’s given us all of these neat words to add to our vocabulary!!!