The latest YouTube video to go viral on the Internet features a pair of kittens named Charlie and Spike. They aren't your average furry felines: they are afflicted with myotonia congenita, otherwise known as "fainting goat" syndrome.
At the slightest sound, the kittens respond by collapsing and falling into a rigid paralysis, which lasts about a minute, before they return to normal, according to their owners in a descriptive post that accompanies the video.
The Internet footage shows the young kittens as they navigate their environment unable to control themselves and flipping over on to the floor every few seconds. In the video the pair are seen trying to explore but then they suddenly hurl themselves to the ground. They are unable to run or jump but otherwise appeared normal, reported Metro UK.
The video has been viewed more than 1,250,000 times, in less then a week, by an audience that is divided into two groups, as the comments suggest: half thinking they are adorable and amusing and the other half finding it disturbing and sad.
A veterinarian who spoke to Metro confirmed the pair have the serious neurological condition called myotonia congenita, it is also called ‘fainting goat’ syndrome in some circles.
According to the vet, Pete Wedderburn, the disease is very rare and he has never come across this himself. "It’s a genetic disorder hence the pair of them in the same litter having it,’ he added.‘The condition causes stiffness in the esophagus which makes if difficult for the animals to eat or breath, It causes muscle cells to have too much sodium but not enough chloride. This leads to abnormal repetitive electrical signals from the brain, such as those associated with being startled.
Unfortunately there really isn’t much that can be done for animals with this condition, experts say.
One of the kittens, the black and white kitten, Spike, died on 27th October from respiratory failure, it says in the description on YouTube. Reports that Charlie has also succumbed to the disease are false say the kittens owners.
The condition the cats are suffering from is better known for taking a toll on some breeds of goats. Fainting goats have been featured on television programs and Internet websites for a few years.
The International Fainting Goat Association says they are dedicated to preserving the breed and estimate there are 10,000 of them in the world. Over the last twenty years the fainting goat's numbers have increased partially due to the efforts of the IFGA members.