Spinal muscular atrophy is an autosomally recessive inherited neurodegenerative disorder that has been identified in Maine coon cats, and is similar to human spinal muscular atrophy.
Affected cats first show signs of disease around 3–4 months of age and show signs of:
- Fine muscle tremors and fascilculations
- Progressive muscular weakness and instability
- Abnormal posture
Affected cats remain mentally normal but the signs are somewhat progressive. The disease is not painful or fatal, but is disabling and affected cats have to be cared for indoors.
A gene test is available to detect both affected cats and carrier cats.