Just like humans, some cats are born with genetic disabilities that affect the way they live their lives. Radial Hypoplasia is one such disease that affects cats since their birth, and in most cases, there are not many options to treat it.
But there is little to worry about when your cat has radial hyperplasia, and this is what we will talk about in this article.
What is radial hypoplasia in cats?
The name Radial Hypoplasia comes from radius, which is the bone connecting the hand in the cat’s arm or leg, and hypoplasia, which means improper development.
Radial Hypoplasia, also called twisty mutation, is a genetic disorder that affects the leg bone of cats. The cat’s lower forearm of either the arms or the hind legs is shorter than normal, and sometimes even absent.
Because of this short bone, the cats’ paw looks like it’s attached at the shoulder instead of the arm/leg bone. This can be the consequence of a lack of nutrients in the womb, and sometimes cats are also observed to have more or less than normal toes in their paws.
Cats with Radial Hypoplasia lead different lives than normal cats, and they may face some issues with mobility and adjustment.
A squitten cat is a name given to a cat with radial hypoplasia, and that has difficulty in walking and sitting. Because of its short legs, it hunches forward and its posture resembles a squirrel. This gives it the name squitten, meaning squirrel-kitten.
Squitten is not limited to radial hypoplasia. It is also used to refer to cats with similar but variations of the disease, such as femoral hypoplasia, or tibial hypoplasia.
In many cases, squitten kittens need to be checked by an experienced professional, and they may also recommend surgical measures for squittens.
But most often, squitten kittens have to deal with their disability their whole lives. But there is an upside; squittens adapt to their unique features easily!
This brings us to our next question.
Can cats with Radial Hypoplasia function properly?
If you look at the limbs of cats with radial hypoplasia closely, it will look like they can’t carry out basic functions and wobble around the house instead of walking.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth! Cats with radial hypoplasia are often more active and playful.
They can crawl, run, walk, and even play catch with you on a good day.
However, for many cats, this is not always the case. Sometimes it takes a long time for a feline to learn how to walk properly, and even after years of learning some may need to use their elbows to provide support for the walk and that isn’t exactly ideal.
Cats with radial hypoplasia tend to sit on their hind legs while resting. They also learn to leverage their legs better so the pressure on their short arms is minimal.
This can increase the pressure on their forearms and in a few years lead to joint problems as well.
Is Radial Hypoplasia painful?
At the first look, radial hypoplasia in cats can look painful, especially if they have difficulty in walking and are struggling.
But vets confirm that a kitten that has had radial hypoplasia since birth should not feel pain.
Of course, they are exceptions to situations where pain can be felt. for example, if the limb happened to get twisted while the cat was learning how to walk then without a doubt it would hurt. If something like this happens, do not hesitate to take your cat to the vet immediately.
Another scenario where your cat may feel pain is if the limbs get hurt by friction from the ground. This may happen frequently if the kitten is learning how to walk.
Moreover, the pain will be felt when the arms are getting weak if the cat tries to prop itself upon them. This is more likely to happen to older cats with radial hypoplasia. It could also be a symptom of arthritis.
The bottom line is that in normal circumstances your cat isn’t supposed to feel pain at all. Getting hurt while practicing how to walk is very common and is nothing to worry about.
But if you suspect that there are other reasons for the pain then you should consider contacting your vet so it doesn’t turn into a bigger issue or disease.
Is there a treatment for radial hypoplasia in cats?
If your cat has radial hypoplasia then you know how much it hurts to see it struggling and live a different life from other cats.
So are they treatment for radial hypoplasia? The answer is yes, but only in some cases.
Depending on the cat’s situation after examination, veterinary surgeons recommend getting surgery done to correct the limb situation.
The surgery will help your cat experience a normal lifestyle, and will also prevent the prevalence of other diseases in its later age like arthritis.
But in most cases, vets prefer not to operate on cats because the surgery can do more harm than good in their situation.
It is not much you can do for your cat in this case, except if it gets other minor injuries such as frictional burns, then your vet may be prescribed medications and ointments for your cat to relieve its pain and heal the wound.
Taking care of a cat with radial hypoplasia
You have to treat a special cat especially right? Here are some tips that can help you take care of your radial hypoplasia cat.
Our top tip is to be patient with your cat. It will take a while for it to properly learn how to use its limbs.
This is the time it needs the most support and encouragement from you. It is essential that your kitty takes its time and is not forced through this process.
This will also help strengthen your and your cats’ bond.
Check their limbs for scratches and wounds often
Cats with disabilities are more prone to get themselves hurt. You as their owner should always be attentive to them and try to keep them away from situations where they would get hurt.
It isn’t always possible to be around your feline friend, but you should try to examine their paws and forearms for any wounds or scratches whenever they return from playing outside or in the backyard.
If you spot any wounds, you must disinfect them the right way to make sure that your cat doesn’t get an infection.
Keep indoors as much as possible
This is easier said than done, especially if your cat loves interacting with other cats outside your home.
If you keep your cat inside, you are aware of the atmosphere and are around to supervise it. Your cat is less likely to conjure any injury at home.
However, if your cat is to go outside, then it is exposed to all kinds of dangers without your protection. also if it gets any kind of scratches then it can also get infected easily.
Convenient products to suit your cat
To cater to your cat, you should try to keep convenient products that will assist its disability.
For example, there are products for disabled cats like a flat food tray where the cat won’t need to use its legs to lean forward and eat the food.
Similarly, there are also litter boxes available that are specifically made for disabled cats.
Get these for your cat, it will thank you for it.
Keep away from heights
This is a no-brainer, you want to protect your height and sharp objects.
Specifically, stairs, because while cats with normal legs and arms are typically very good at ascending and descending stairs, a cat with radial hypoplasia could have trouble because its legs just aren’t made for it.
You can put a barrier at the beginning of the staircase so your cat doesn’t try to climb or jump over the stairs.
In conclusion, if your cat has radial hypoplasia, then there’s not a lot to worry about because it’s a genetic disorder.
Your cat will most probably adapt to it by itself, and in the future, you can consult about getting your cat surgery to fix the disorder.
In the meantime, you should accommodate your cat in the best way possible by providing it with disabled-friendly products, and limiting it from going outside unnecessarily to keep it safe.
Lastly, your cat will be just fine! Even though radial hypoplasia is a rare disease, most cats overcome the hurdles and manage to live an almost normal life just like other cats.