Almost as awesome as the transit of Venus earlier this month, but happily not as rare, is Jupiter’s proud, but wobbly transit to the next sunbeam warming the floorboards. Jupiter has a neurological abnormality called Cerebellar Hypoplasia that is believed to stem from damage or underdevelopment of the portion of the brain responsible for voluntary movement. The condition is characterized by a wobbly gait, tremors and loss of balance ranging from mild to severe. While Cerebellar Hypoplasia does not go away, it does not worsen and in many cases actually improves with age. I’ve had the pleasure to meet quite a few cats with the disorder working at Tree House all these years and am continually impressed not only with the clumsy creature’s persistence and radiance of joy, but with their ability to learn new ways to cope with their disability. Cats with Jupiter’s condition for example often compensate for their wobbliness by walking close to walls, essentially relying on them like a cane for support. Jupiter often follows close beside people as they walk so he can lean on their legs if necessary and even take a catnap on their feet if he should happen to topple over onto them.
Jupiter was adopted two years ago and returned rather recently due to no fault of his own. Since his return to Tree House his star does not shine as brightly as it once did, but he still has just as many fans circling him like moons attracted to his gravitational pull. It’s difficult to see our majestic, Chinese dragon puppet heartbroken, but time will heal all wounds. Jupiter has already begun exploring the shelter and insisting on sneaking into offices where he shouldn’t be like Ember’s special “room of one’s own.” His condition does impede his jumping skills, but he manages to get around very well and even runs when the dinner bell rings. His biggest problem he faces in a shelter is staying clean which is surprising for a cat with a reputation for licking arm hair and feet. Jupiter is a large, long haired fellow with a propensity to wobble over, that said it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch of imagination to picture the kind of messes he gets himself into. With grooming and maintenance, I’m sure he’ll prove to be quite the dapper gentleman. It’s wonderful to see Jupiter again, but I truly hope he finds a loving home soon before shelter life withers his bright, silly spirit.
Jupiter enjoys the warm wind in his whiskers this evening of the Summer Solstice, dreaming of a home once more, while Jupiter the planet joins Venus on the horizon appearing as a morning star in the predawn twilight. Please visit Jupiter during Adopt A Cat Month, he’s Tree House’s favorite celestial event.