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Once upon a time, a kitten was born with cerebellar hypoplasia, often known as CH. The condition occurs when the part of the brain that controls fine motor skills and coordination is underdeveloped at birth and can cause the cat to have trouble walking and balancing. Cats with CH are often euthanized because they’re not seen as adoptable, but that wasn’t the case for this little one.

The feline then named JD ended up at Tenth Life Cat Rescue on Cherokee Street as a kitten, where staff and volunteers fell in love with his sweet nature and his quirky inability to balance or walk correctly. A short time later, someone would come through the doors of the rescue facility and would also fall in love – and he’d find his forever home.

Maya Sorini had always been a cat lover and had cats growing up. Her best friend knew this about her, and the two of them decided to spend an afternoon on Cherokee Street perusing Flowers & Weeds across the street and visiting the cats at Tenth Life..

“I didn’t go into Tenth Life with the intention of adopting a cat that day,” Sorini says.

Once inside Tenth Life, Sorini ended up with a bunch of kittens on her lap who were very sweet. She looked up, though, to see another cat stand up from his spot on the ground to come say hi, only to immediately fall down. Sorini was alarmed and asked if he was OK. The Tenth Life staff then explained CH to her.

“I saw him struggling and started rooting for him,” she says. “I put him in my lap and he immediately started purring. He wanted to be held like a baby and fell asleep.”

It was love at first sight. Sorini wanted to take the kitten home and talked to the Tenth Life staff about caring for him. She learned that cats with CH have normal life spans and don’t need any medications. After going home and thinking about it more, Sorini came to the conclusion that they’d be a great match for each other.

In early February, she adopted JD and renamed him Bug. He was 6 months old at the time but didn’t get into things or run around like crazy because of his special needs. This turned out to be a good thing, because Sorini fell off a horse and broke her shoulder two days before she brought him home.

“He was my recovery companion,” she says.

For the first several weeks, Sorini was in a sling and home much more than she usually would’ve been, which turned out to be a great time for the two to really get to know each other.

Most days he’s content to curl up in Sorini’s lap when she gets home from school. When she moves from room to room, he does, too – even if it takes him awhile because he’s wobbly and falls down along the way.

“When I’m cooking, he’s on my feet. When I’m in the shower, he’s in the bathroom. When I’m doing homework, he’s on my lap,” Sorini says. “He’s always excited to see me and just really wants my love and affection.” 

For your own fairy-tail ending …

Tenth Life Cat Rescue

3202 Cherokee St.

St. Louis, MO 63118

314-808-2454, tenthlifecats.org

Robyn is LN's digital editor and a staff writer. Proud alumna of Notre Dame High School in St. Louis and Eastern Illinois University. Avid coffee drinker, dog lover, concertgoer and word nerd.

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