Prancer the cat is home for the holidays

Prancer the cat with her new family on a couch
She has a condition that makes her wobble as she walks, but it doesn’t keep this jolly kitten from living life to the fullest.
By Christina London

Just like Santa’s trusty reindeer, the Prancer we know and love spreads joy wherever she goes. She just wobbles a bit while she does it.

Prancer the pink-nosed kitten

Prancer, along with her mother Vixen and littermates all named for Santa’s reindeer, landed at Best Friends from a shelter in Utah when the kittens were just 1 day old. In the first few weeks of their lives they battled panleukopenia, a virus that can be deadly to kittens, and giardia, a nasty parasite. The whole family went to stay in a cozy foster home, receiving all the medical care they needed along the way.

Luckily, these magical kittens turned a corner. They started gaining weight slowly but steadily. Prancer was thriving and growing as expected in every way except for one: She seemed to wobble when she walked. A visit to the veterinarian revealed that Prancer has cerebellar hypoplasia, or CH, a congenital condition sometimes called “wobbly cat syndrome.”

[Wobbly kitten gets by with help from his friends]

There is no cure for CH, so Prancer will always be off-balance. But saving her was possible for two reasons: first, because the shelter where her pregnant mama landed partners with other organizations to assist animals who need extra care and second, because of wonderful people who step up to foster pets. These are just some of the keys for all shelters to reach no-kill by 2025.

While the rest of the cats in the family all got adopted (and one went to a foster-to-adopt home), Prancer settled into a new foster home where her merry and bright personality really began to shine. She was social, easygoing, and affectionate. Her foster volunteer would even carry Prancer around in a sling, her little gray-and-white head poking out. When she visited the Best Friends Lifesaving Center, staff members took her on walks as she sat alert in the stroller. Prancer just wanted to be a part of the world, even if she moved through it differently.

’Tis the season for cozy homes

When Allison and Matthew met Prancer, they fell in love with her instantly and decided to adopt her. The couple understands Prancer’s condition and works with her to improve mobility. They provide her with regular exercise — including water therapy in the bathtub — to build muscle and strength. Prancer works hard at it, too. She might need a little help with the basics in life, but she never gives up (especially when it comes to getting every last bite of food).

Today, Prancer’s life is filled with playtime and cuddles with her family, including a dog. Allison and Matthew will tell you that this special kitten has been a gift in their lives.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

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You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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