Location: Hertfordshire, England
We first got Kristen and her sister Nana when they were 10 weeks old from our neighbour across the street. On their first night in their new home, Kristen was instantly confident and behaved as if nothing had changed and we’d had her all along. Nana, on the other hand, went into the situation with much more caution and didn’t actually come out from under the sofa until the following morning.
Upon meeting our two oldest cats, Yuna (10) and Michael (2), both kittens were extremely excited at having new older ‘siblings’. However, their reactions were very different. Naturally, Yuna and Michael wanted them put in their place so they both received a gentle but warning smack in the face. Whilst Nana never approached them without their ‘permission’ again, Kristen was already climbing on top of them within seconds of her smack. No matter how many times the older cats would hit her, Kristen would get back on her feet and lopsidedly run up to them again through lack of awareness.
One day, Michael was at the top of the stairs when Nana came rushing up behind him. Out of sheer panic and shock, Michael pushed Nana down the stairs. Kristen then followed suit and ran behind Michael and quickly received the same fate. However, whilst Nana instinctively put her claws out to grab onto the top step so she didn’t fall down them, Kristen continued to fall the entire way down to the bottom. It demonstrated a real lack of basic instinct.
Another thing that became quite apparent was Kristen’s lack of spacial awareness. She would often fall down the stairs, run into things, bang her head and have quite nasty accidents.
As time has passed, Kristen has grown increasingly attached to me and I to her. We have formed a very strong bond over a very short period. During our time together, Kristen will lick my face until it’s raw to the extent that I have to physically move her or else my skin will start to peel. She has also developed a rather unhealthy obsession with trying to breast feed from me. She will physically climb under my top and desperately try to get to my breasts. When I remove her, she’ll suckle my chin instead.
She also suffers severe separation anxiety from me. Whenever I leave the room, Kristen will begin to cry out frantically and try to follow. Her cries are not that of a normal kitten but rather a squeak type sound that almost sounds as if she’s saying ‘ma, ma, ma.’ Her separation anxiety got so bad at one point that she would even have to sit on my lap whilst I’d go to the toilet.
Sometimes I wonder if Kristen has some form of ADHD. She will fidget 24/7 and can’t seem to settle even for a cuddle. Her excitement seems to overwhelm her and her purring becomes warped. In fact, one of her major quirks is her kneading. All cats and kittens knead, but Kris will knead as she walks to the extent that she ends up tripping over herself.
Kristen also quickly showed she’s unable to physically clean herself. Luckily, Nana seems to have caught on to that and will hold her down whilst cleaning the sleep from her eyes and giving her a general wash, all the while Kristen will struggle and make her little squeaks. Even Yuna, our old little rescue, takes an extremely maternal role over Kristen and will also take shifts in cleaning her and making sure she’s safe.
Over time, Nana has grown and matured. Whilst Nana has formed the appearance of a small young cat, little Kristen doesn’t look particularly different to when she first arrived.
Given all of these circumstances, I decided to google ‘special needs in cats’ out of sheer curiosity as both my mum and I had started to realise Kristen’s behaviour was not only abnormal but that she wasn’t going to change. After searching and searching for any possible conditions she might have, we finally came across ‘mental retardation.’ At first, I brushed it off believing Kristen couldn’t possibly be that severe but when I started to read the signs and symptoms, I realised this was our little girl in a nutshell.
After much debating, both my mum and I agreed to not take her to the vets for an official diagnosis. This is for several reasons. The most important being- it’s a waste of money because whether she does have this condition or she doesn’t, her life will be abundant with love, stimulation and excitement.
Despite not taking her to the vets, we have had her IQ done. She came out at a mere 61 deeming her completely mentally retarded.
Regardless of anything, little Kristen Stewart (named by my mother, the biggest Twi-hard I know) will always be our special little girl. I wouldn’t change her for the world.
To become a ‘fan’ of Kristen, you can ‘like’ her fan page here – www.facebook.com/kristenthespecialcat
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