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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Meowing & Special Needs

I have two 9 month old kittens named Juice (girl) and Tumbler (boy). They are brother and sister. Tumbler is "special needs" and needs a lot more care than his sister. They have been together in the same cage at a shelter since birth until we adopted them at 7 months of age.

I have read that kittens/cats meow to their human parents or to their cat mothers... but not to each other. HOWEVER - Tumbler makes a meow sound much more than his sister and in my opinion, TO his sister. I think it is part of their communication.

Is this possible? That she is like a pseudo-mother to him since she cares for him as she knows he is not capable of the same things she is?

He has CH (Cerebellar Hypoplasia) badly and is somewhat mentally challenged. She cleans him more than he cleans himself and generally cuddles him when he is feeling poorly or needs assistance. They sleep together every day/night. She did something amazing a few weeks ago too. Tumbler is weaker and weighs less than Juice so I was feeding him some kitten treats. I felt bad and gave one to Juice as well. She cupped her little paw around it and pushed it across the floor to her brother and waited 'til he ate it.

I said, "No Juice, this is for you." And moved her about 10 ft away and gave her a second treat. She pushed this too all the way across the kitchen floor to Tumbler and waited for him to eat it. It was like she knew he needed it more than she did.

So this long rambling post is basically to ask - is it possible for a cat to meow at and ask for caring from another cat of the same litter who is not even older than he is? I don't know if it's imagination or fantasizing on my part or if this is possible? Everything I've read states that adult cats (which they almost are now) do not meow to each other as communication and that is reserved for their mothers or human mothers (like me) to tell them they want something like food or petting. But I see something different with my kitties. Any thoughts?

<3 Arielle

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Tumbler, my little tumbling boy & Juice, my sweet orange girl - the precious brother/sister duo
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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I know it may seem like a silly unimportant question, but I'm a cat parent for the first time and just trying to understand each facet of my babies.

<3 Arielle

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 06:45 PM
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There is no question to silly if it involves our beloved cats! I dug out an article on Cerebellar Hypoplasia cat from Messybeast.com. I had printed out. But now its not found on the internet! Dang! From what Ive read little is known about cats like this or maybe until the No Kill movement has developed that handicaped animals were normally euthanized! What a tragidy.

I scoured the internet when I got my blind kitties and visually impared kitties. I found a whole sub culture of people who love and have blind and handicaped cats. Maybe there is a yahoo group with CH cats???

I didnt realize there was a difference between a cat which contracted CH from a mother cat with Feline Distemper and a cat which suffered brain damage through an accident and is wobblely and slow to develope. It might just take your guy a little longer to learn things but it sounds like the universe send along a loving companion cats to help.

There was a story in the best friends book about feral blind cat which had a litter mate that directed its blind companion. I get tears in my eyes just remembering the story. The TNR woman eventuallyl trapped them and brought them to Best Friends to live out their lives in safety.

I have more respect for animals than I do humans. Ive seen such tenderness by my foster cats with the disabled cats Ive had. Im sure your cats have a special communication with each other. That wouldnt surprise me in the least bit!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 06:51 PM
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It looks like Tumbler has a kitty angel in the form of his sister, Juice! I wouldn't doubt that she meows just for him. Maybe since he is "slow" its easier for him to understand the meowing than the more subtle form of communication cats use with each other-body language.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 06:58 PM
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Like Merry said, there's no such thing as a silly or unimportant question! You're right in saying that cats don't normally communicate with each other by meowing. Normally, they use body postures, tail movements, ear positioning, etc. That said, handicapped cats (just like people) will rely on one sense more than they might otherwise, in order to compensate for the loss of another sense. So, I wonder if Tumbler resorts to vocal communication to compensate for his lack of co-ordination -- that is, he might not be able to communicate as well as other cats via body posturing, etc., given his general lack of co-ordination. Just a thought (and I could very easily be wrong).
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 07:12 PM
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Your cats sound amazing. Juice pushing the treats to Tumbler is sooo sweet. I don't know the answer to your question but I think they have a really special relationship and are lucky to have each other and you!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 10:22 PM
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My kittens trill to each other to communicate with each other, which is a little different than meowing, I guess...

I don't really have an answer to your question, but I just wanted to comment because I teared up a little reading about Juice giving the treats to Tumbler! That is just so precious. If only more people were like your little girl.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone! Such a friendly forum here. Yes, my babies are so loving to each other. As I type this, Tumbler is meowing up a storm and Juice is coming over to play with him. So I am still convinced he meows to her when he wants her. Sounds like many of you think that could be the case too. They are making my every day much better just by being here with me and my husband!

<3 Arielle

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 09:52 AM
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Awww I am glad you are having a great first time kitty mommy experience. Cats are the best thing!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Just posted a video of them on the forum here on the "Meet my Cat" board:

https://www.catforum.com/forum/41-mee...ens-video.html

In case anyone wanted to get to know them better!

<3 Arielle

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