It will not be an exaggeration to call cats the most adorable creatures humans have ever domesticated. We love their mischiefs and their antics, and pretty everything coming from them. At times, they reciprocate our love, but at other times, they might try to stay aloof, preferring only to be themselves. Touch them, and they will give you a grimace of discomfort.
These, and many such other behaviors, may get owners into thinking if their cats have autism. But wait, can cats have autism? Are autistic cats even a thing?
To understand if a cat can have autism, let’s first understand what autism is.
Autism: A Developmental Disorder
Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental abnormality. The American Psychiatric Association defines it as “a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors.”
This condition has a variety of problems, ranging mainly from communications and behavioral issues. But this is in humans. If you wonder that “can cats be autistic?” or “it’s just a myth,” then you are in the right place. In this article, we will discuss everything regarding cats and autism.
Can Cats Have Autism: Reality, or a Myth?
Till date, no research has proved autism in cats. Autism is not just a single condition. On the contrary, it encapsulates a range of behavioral issues, some of which may be found in our cats, which is why it is called autism spectrum disorder. When cat owners worry about autism in their cats, it is because they display some of the traits found in the autism spectrum.
How Do Autistic Cats Behave?
Some of the typical autistic cat’s behavior is as follows. But, as we mentioned, it is not autism. In fact, autistic cats is not a real thing. Call it cats just being cats.
Cats have this tendency to show cold behavior to their owners, the way autistic people do to humans around. We mistake their anti-social trait for autism.
However, science explains that cats are trainable the way we want. The anti-social or cold behavior of the cats suggests that they have an issue with their training. There is a saying that you can’t teach a new trick to an old dog. Similarly, cats can not learn social skills once they are adults.
If you want your cat to be social, you must train them for socialization at an early age.
Absence of Vocalization
Like autistic people, communication is also a significant factor in thinking about autism in cats. Most of the time, cats might throw tantrums or be standoffish, especially towards strangers. That does not explain autism in cats, however. Proper socializing is vital to make the cat comfortable with strangers.
Most cats do meow and chirp when they are in their comfort zone. If they cannot do it in their personal space, they require social training skills.
Most autistic humans may face sensory abnormalities. Similar to autistic people, cats sometimes show such signs. If cats find it hard to walk or jump properly, or they tend to miss the surface and trip off, it’s not a sign of autism. Instead, these conditions indicate some other health issues your cat may be having.
Usually, such issues arise when cats have liver or kidney problems. It will help if she is taken to a vet to find out the exact issue.
Super-Focused and Hyperactive
Just like autistic people, sometimes cats are super-focused on certain things. This particular trait makes a lot of pet owners think as if they have an autistic cat. However, this is not the case. Cats can be super-focused and healthy at the same time.
Not all cats are the same. Some are lazy and show impertinence towards their owners, toys, or other activities happening around. Some are hyperactive, attentive, and take a keen interest in whatever is taking place in their home. Much depends upon the nature of the cats and the particular environment they are raised in.
Sensitivity to Lights and Movements
Some pet owners also suggest that they have autistic cats because they are fascinated with light and movements or show sensitivity to the former. But, again, this is not a sign of autistic cats. It is how they were evolved.
Are Special Needs Cats Autistic Cats?
Cats with disabilities—difficulty in walking, vocalizing, missing limb, blindness, deafness, any neurological disability—are called special needs cats. Needless to say, they require special care and treatment (in cases where possible).
That said, a cat with special needs does not suggest that she has autism. It is a sign that they are special ones who require special needs. Some cats even have down syndrome sort of symptoms. Such conditions also require proper attention and treatment.
An Autistic Cat: A Complete Guide for Pet Owners
So far, we have understood that cats can not have autism, but still, if pet owners think they have autistic cats, this will be the complete health guide for them. If the cats show these signs and symptoms, they are sound and healthy.
- They are perfectly alright if they have any physical condition or lack interest in other animals.
- Healthy Cats can show keen focus and attention for a more extended time.
- Cats are not empathetic towards everyone. Like other animals, they can be happy in their comfort zone.
- Cats can have sleepless nights.
- They may be lazy and super active at times.
- Cats may also show tantrums to you when they want to.
- They may be less vocal at times, keep checking their health.
- Keep monitoring their behavior if they act differently, consult a vet for timely treatment.
Can Cats Have Autism? The Final Verdict
Hopefully, this article helped you find the answer to “can cats have autism?”
To this date, not even a single vet has concluded that there are autistic cats. Moreover, there are no scientific findings that support autism in cats. Nevertheless, there are several similarities between people with autism and cats’ behavior. Cats are adorable, innocent, and mood-relieving creatures. Whether they are super fast, lazy, focused, less attentive, or even have any physical or mental disability, they are still outstanding and fantastic. They may display some autistic behavior, maybe, because they know that they will be pampered, no matter what?
Despite having similar behavior as autistic people, we can not say that cats can have autism. They may show, but they do not have it!