I have posted before about animals with a big social media presence – giraffes, guinea pigs, hippos, and of course dogs have all gotten their due. But I don’t think I’ve ever come across an animal to which I responded so immediately and so strongly. I’m obsessed with this little guy. This is Phineas Tyrion Holly, the ginger cat with cerebellar hypoplasia. The condition affects his balance and his motor control. He’s not in any pain, but he has a devil of a time getting around, eating, and playing. Phin doesn’t let that slow him down, though. He has learned to use his tail and the walls to help keep him upright and moving forward.
“What makes Phin… Phin? He has a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia, which generates something called ataxia… Phin’s dad actually focuses much of his academic work on the cerebellum, the part of the brain affected in Phin’s condition. The cerebellum doesn’t generate movement, but it’s very important in enabling proper coordination. The cerebellum takes a lot of inputs and compares the desired goal for a movement to what is actually occurring. This is a challenging task, and Purkinje cells are powerhouses that integrate lots of information to create a precise output through the deep cerebellar nuclei to help the body move in a coordinated fashion. Sometimes these Purkinje cells will die, and that can cause all sorts of motor coordination issues. In Phin’s case, the entire cerebellum didn’t fully develop, so this major computational network — some aspects shown in the middle of the main image! — just isn’t able to do its job fully… [Phin] was born this way and doesn’t understand that his motor function could be any different. He just continues to be a happy cat with a great life.”– Phin’s People
Young Phin has got a really solid following, which is not surprising, since he seems to be entirely filled with joy (and treats. He really, really loves his treats). I suspect you’ll want to follow him, too.