Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects human beings of all ages, but can cats have autism? There is no proof that cats can have autism, yet feline behavioral eccentricities may resemble the signs of autism in people. Indeed, cats occasionally display behaviors consistent with those seen in autistic persons. That doesn’t necessarily indicate that something is wrong, though. Some cats experience overstimulation, which is indicative of an autism diagnosis. Dilated pupils, flat ears, and biting movements indicate overstimulation. Aggressive cat hissing is frequently caused by overstimulation.
Most scientists in this field believe that cats have autism, and some say that cats’ behavior may even be more “high functioning” than humans. However, there is currently no way to scientifically show whether or not Cats have autism or any other autism spectrum disorder. For this reason, the condition is often referred to as “shared incongruence of interests and behavior” or sometimes “Cat-like autism.” This means that cats may have these symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, but other people and other species don’t. To answer that question, we must first define autism and its symptoms.
WHAT IS CAT AUTISM?
It is sometimes believed that cats may be autistic because their abilities have been overlooked. They theorized that cat owners have been overly tolerant of cats’ behaviors and have low standards for cats’ abilities, especially compared to other animals. A cat’s only motor abilities include bending its ears, removing hairballs, scratching the floor with its paw, and catching bugs. However, more advanced cat behavior displays a lot of similarities to autistic children, and this is what we’ll explore today.
Autism describes the various disorders in the autism spectrum. This spectrum includes conditions that affect behavior, language, interests, and learning ability. The autism spectrum is the range of traits and skills a person with autism can exhibit at one time or another. Autism diagnosis is based on a person’s sensory abnormalities and communication problems and lacks behavioral, emotional skills, or typical social behavior. However, like many others, cats are less likely to be diagnosed than autistic people.
Most cats are also incapable of self-soothing, scratching an object or acting as if something is attacking them or communicating a complex thought showing interest in things such as screws or dog food). There are many physical clues with cats that could indicate autistic tendencies, but it’s most likely that the majority of cat parents will overlook them.
Most Cat breeds could be considered “high functioning” due to their unique characteristics and can only display minimal behaviors. They can, however, still have very intense and eccentric behaviors. While cats may lack many obvious “autism” symptoms, this does not mean they are unaffected by any disorder. Cats’ behaviors and communication result from repetitive behaviors, sensory and communication difficulties, and learning disabilities. Therefore, the behaviors and sounds that cats may display can be compared to that of a child with autism.
In other words, many cats may have autism but do not suffer from the full spectrum of autistic symptoms. They may only display occasional autistic behavior that leads their family members to this conclusion.
Common Traits Of Autistic Cats
While there’s no one definitive symptom of autism in cats, there are some common traits that may indicate your cat is on the spectrum. For example, autistic cats may be uninterested in social interaction, prefer to be alone, or have difficulty communicating with other cats. They may also exhibit repetitive behaviors, such as excessive grooming or meowing. One social deficit cats may notice is a lack of social interactions with people and other animals. It is worth noting that some cats do have social interactions. An affectionate cat has been known to play, groom or cuddle with other animals.
But if your cat regularly goes off to be by itself, this anti-social behavior could indicate that you have an autistic cat. Does a quiet cat seeking time away from other family members sound familiar? Cats living with most children of a young age do this for their sanity, but an autistic cat may simply enjoy its own company and is experiencing sensory abnormalities, much like an autistic child.
Some cat owners report that their cats enjoy being petted by other people. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it proves that not all cats are not as “isolated” as we sometimes assume. While cats have been known to have social interactions, these do not necessarily qualify as full-blown autistic behaviors. Be sure to seek veterinary guidance about treatment options if you think your cat may be autistic.
However, be aware that even veterinary medicine doesn’t fully understand the scope of autistic cat behavior, similar to how we’re always discovering new information about autistic humans.
What other symptoms can cats display?
In general, cats have a low level of empathy. While many cat owners claim that their cats “feel” for their owners, this is not the case. As with all animals, cats are somewhat aware of what is happening around them. However, cats have a much more fundamental understanding of how emotions and thought processes work. This lack of awareness of how emotions work may explain why cats do not recognize when they are being looked at. They may not understand what it means to be “beautiful.” It has been noted that cats tend to follow in their owners’ footsteps.
If a cat’s owner is smiling, the cat will also be happy. If the owner is angry, expect a similar mirroring in cat behaviors. However, the cat’s reaction differs from a human’s response to these emotions. While cats have been shown to show emotional reactions to humans because they have been trained to deliver this behavior and will continue to respond this way to stimuli if the owners provide them with rewards.
Cat food is a big motivator of feline behavior, so when it comes to emotions, your cat may still have trouble relating and is more treat motivated than anything else. Autistic cats may also avoid eye contact and display compulsive behaviors similar to those in children diagnosed.
Many cat owners notice that the feline behavior stands out from the other cats in the house. A household of three cats can all be quite different in personality. Still, some compulsive behaviors or typical signs of autism spectrum disorder may stand out in one cat over the other two cats.
What kind of tests will be done to diagnose cat autism in my cat?
The first step is to take your cat to a local veterinarian for a physical examination, behavioral assessment, and veterinary advice. Your vet will also ask questions about your cat’s behavior and development. If your vet suspects your cat may have autism, they will likely recommend further testing with a veterinary behaviorist or animal behaviorist.
These specialists will use a variety of tests, including questionnaires, observation, and sometimes blood work, to diagnose autism in cats. The likelihood of your cat being autistic can sometimes be increased if you witness physical abnormalities, excessive vocalization, compulsive disorders, or any other social behavior that makes sense to the autism spectrum.
How is cat autism treated?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the treatment of cat autism will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the resources available to the owner. However, treatment options include behavior modification, medication, and environmental enrichment. But is this best for an adult cat? It’s important to remember that not all cases of cat autism are severe enough to warrant treatment, and your cat’s age may play a significant role in determining if treatment is even what is best for older cats.
As with humans, there is a broad spectrum of severity when it comes to cat autism. Some cats may only show mild symptoms, while others have more significant symptoms that need treatment or management.
Though there’s no scientific evidence that cats can have autism, some pet owners report seeing behavioral changes in their cats that may be attributed to the condition. If you’re concerned that your cat may display signs of autism, talk to your veterinarian about treatment options. Your cat can continue to live a happy and healthy life with proper care.
FAQS (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)
Q: How can you tell if a cat has autism?
A: Some cats become overstimulated and display signs of it, such as dilated pupils or flat ear posture. This can indicate that they are experiencing too much stimulation in their environment, which may lead to aggressive behavior like hissing at others nearby.
Q: How do I know if my cat has special needs?
A: Cats can have some fascinating behaviors that might resemble those typically associated with Down syndrome, even though they are not affected by the condition. This is because many special needs cats display traits similar in nature to people with this diagnosis. Their physical disabilities would be easiest to spot, whereas automatically assuming a cat’s behavior means you have an autistic cat can be a little more complicated. If you want to learn more, it’s always best for pet lovers to seek veterinary advice on the matter.
Q: Can cats be mentally disabled?
A: Cats are just like people in that they can be affected by mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, mental illness, mental disorders, or other mental disabilities.
Q: What disabilities can cats have?
A: Common and/or inherited disorders in cats include:
- Birth Defects
- Devon Rex Myopathy
- Manx syndrome (spina bifida)
- Niemann-Pick Disease (sphyngomyelinosis)
- Osteochondrodysplasia or Scottish Fold disease
- Hypokalaemic polymyopathy
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Polydactyl cats
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Glycogen storage disease type IV
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Hypertrophic muscular dystrophy
- Blood group incompatibility or neonatal isoerythrolysis
- Burmese Head Defect
- Pyruvate kinase deficiency
- Spinal muscular atrophy in Maine coons