The first thing folks notice about Arthur is usually his tail.  Same with when we had Fry, same with Ford.  Most commonly I get asked “who cut it off?” or “how did that happen!?” and people tend to be surprised that Arthur (and Ford and Fry) was born that way.

Or maybe they just notice the cuteness.

Then they notice something else: Arthur can’t walk straight.  He wobbles from side to side, stomping like a sumo wrestler.  If he gets excited, his head shakes back and forth and sometimes he’ll flop over.  And when he gets to running, his back end tends to get where he’s going before the rest of him.

Flopping while attacking invisible demons.

Arthur has not officially been diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia, since the vet decided he was healthy and happy enough to not bother with a formal diagnosis.  We all assume this is what’s wrong, though he also has poor muscle development in his back legs – probably because of spinal issues with his little nub tail.  Luckily these are the worst of his problems, and he didn’t end up with manx syndrome.  Manx syndrome can be deadly, but most cats with CH live long and happy (and hilariously adorable) lives.

Wide stance on that boy.

Arthur’s issues aren’t nearly as severe as most of the CH cats out there.  In fact he’s able to do a lot of normal cat things, maybe after a few tries.  I feed the boys on the sideboard to keep delicious cat food away from the dog, and while sometimes he does miss the jump, he always gets up and tries again.  Also, the two cat trees we have were purchased before I ever even heard about these guys.  Ed never used the first one to its full potential, so the second one was bought for Fry.  He was an incredible jumper and would leap to the top of the fridge no problem.  Since we already had the two 6-foot trees, we let the boys figure out if they can get up them or not.  Arthur’s favorite spot is sleeping at the very tippity top of the tree.  He has fallen off (more than once) but always picks himself up and goes back to the top.  Nothing will slow this guy down.

They sometimes sleep curled up together.

I do wonder if he suffered some sort of brain damage as a tiny thing, since he has a constantly surprised look on his face, meows with “peep” sounds and, unlike his conniving brother, doesn’t have a mean or rude bone in his whole body.  He also doesn’t get that Zoso doesn’t want his face cleaned, no matter how many times Zoso reminds him…

ATTACK!

So I guess what I’m trying to say is: you’ll meet smarter cats, and you’ll meet more athletic cats.  You’ll meet a lot of cats in your lifetime, but you’ll never meet a sweeter cat than Arthur.  Many people wont give a “special needs” cat a second look, but they are completely worth it, and they may not have such special needs as you thought.

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