‘Wobbly’ Greater Victoria cat captures hearts of thousands online

Owner says cat has rare neurological condition

An adorable furry feline with a neurological condition that causes it to fall down when walking has captured the hearts of thousands of people on social media.

Trooper is a three-year-old domestic longhair with cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), a condition in which the cerebellum, which controls a cat’s fine motor skills, doesn’t develop. The result – a somewhat wobbly cat that falls over on his side when walking.

“He seems to do better when he tries to run really fast, he’ll get further. When he tries to walk slowly, he will fall over on his side, so then he does a few ab crunch workouts to get back up and then he keeps going,” said Charla Stromkins, an Esquimalt resident and Trooper’s owner.

Trooper has moderate to severe CH, and will fall down anywhere from 20 to 50 times a day. But like any other cat, he uses a litter box and enjoys chasing squirrels, it just takes him a bit longer to get from point A to point B.

Stromkins first became aware of the condition after seeing a video on social media about a cat with CH. While she’s had cats in the past, she’d never heard of CH and did some research. Six months later Stromkins saw then five-month-old Trooper on the Victoria Humane Society’s web page. He had been found in a barn in Mill Bay.

Two weeks later, she drove up to the foster home and spent three hours playing with the cat. She fell in love with his care-free and fun-loving nature and took him home that day.

Since then, Trooper has adapted to his surroundings. Instead of walking down the middle of the hallway, he’ll walk against the wall to prevent himself from falling.

“He’s changed my life dramatically. He’s such an incredible cat. We can all learn something from him,” Stromkins said. “He’s so independent, but he has this spirit about him.”

Trooper’s resilience has captured hearts on social media. He now has more than 10,000 followers on Instagram. While most of the videos and photos are funny, Stromkins is using the account to raise awareness of the condition.

Stromkins has adopted a second cat, Sampson, who also has CH. She notes it’s a big responsibility adopting a special needs cat and urges anyone interested to do their research.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com

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