Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Cats: Makisig’s Story

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

Would you adopt a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia?

If you answer no, I understand. Hearing the words cerebellar hypoplasia for the first time can be very intimidating. However, that didn’t deter Anna Sumayod, the proud fur-mom of Makisig. Makisig has cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition that affects how he moves about.

cerebellar hypoplasia

“Maki came to us last April 7, 2014. We really thought he [would] die – actually, he looked dead when we saw him,” Anna shared with me how she found Makisig, whom she and her partner rescued.

“He and his 3 siblings were left hanging from [the spokes of our] gate.” Anna heard them meowing at two in the morning.

“He was breathing but he was definitely having a hard time. He looked like he was struggling for every breath.”

Conquering fear

The first time she saw Makisig and his siblings hanging from their gate, there were thin wire nooses around their necks. She suspected that whoever left them there had attempted to kill them.

Sadly, attempts to harm differently-abled animals are nothing new. While some do it out of pity (“He will just suffer if we let him live!”), others do it out of fear (“Do I have what it takes to care for him?”).


“I didn’t have second thoughts [about adopting Makisig and his siblings] but I was really scared,” Anna confessed. “All newborns… still unweaned!”

When Anna took Makisig to the vet, he took one look and said, “No need for MRI. All the classic signs and symptoms of CH are obvious in Maki's condition.”

Now that he’s all grown up, Makisig can do everything except climb down from high places. “He has very strong front legs. He can scale walls and trees.”

Anna said Makisig didn’t have special health needs. A fiercely proud fur-mom, she couldn’t help but add, “He looks like a rock star because he walks all wobbly!”

Featuring Makisig at Animal Scene

I’m so happy to share that I had the privilege of featuring Makisig’s story in Animal Scene Magazine’s May 2015 issue! Let me share with you the first few paragraphs.

“Maki has his own rhythm. He walks (and jerks) to his own beat.”

Maki. It’s the nickname that 43-year-old construction company manager Anna Sumayod lovingly picked for Makisig. Although a doting fur-mom to Makisig, Anna was quick to add that it was Jeselyn Papa, an English online instructor and Anna’s partner, who first rescued and cared for Makisig.

Having 23 cats and one dog, Anna and Jeselyn were no strangers to rescuing animals. However, with Makisig, things were different. Anna noticed that the kitten seemed paralyzed.

At the time, she didn’t know Makisig had cerebellar hypoplasia (CH).

“When he was really little, he couldn't even lift his head, couldn't nurse from a bottle well, and was so plagued by spasms that we thought he wouldn't make it.”

Anna recounted the time she tried to resuscitate Makisig. “We wrapped him in a blanket and kept him warm with hot water bottles. [I gave] mouth to mouth and [did] gentle massages to his chest.”

She didn’t allow her fear to get the best of her. “I was crying all the time, [fearing] that I might do something wrong. But I couldn’t stand seeing him in pain.”

Want to know what happens next to Makisig?
Grab a copy of Animal Scene’s May 2015 issue!

Animal Scene magazineHere’s how you can get yourself a free copy of Animal Scene.

In this month’s Animal Scene issue, I had the pleasure of featuring Saab, a black kitten who won the hearts of many after having fought a brave battle against feline infectious peritonitis. Even after having lost the battle almost two years ago, Saab remains a winner in our hearts.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.