If your cat is displaying some strange behaviors and habits that are similar to that of autistic behaviors humans display, you may be wondering – Can cats be autistic?
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as yes or no.
Yes, cats can show all the behavioral traits of an autistic person. But, diagnosing cats with autism is not something that vets and pet healthcare professionals can do.
What Is Autism?
In case you’re not sure exactly what autism is, I can explain.
Autism.org summarizes autism as follows:
Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.
There are no physical signs to look out for, and the spectrum is very broad. Which is why it’s often difficult to diagnose in humans, and makes it incredibly difficult to pinpoint in cats.
Cat Cats Be Autistic? (Based on How They Behave)
The key word here is that it’s possible. At the time of writing this, there is no clear test or way to be 100% sure if a cat is autistic.
There are also some other conditions and health issues that will cause a cat to exhibit similar behaviors further complicating the diagnosis.
Something I’m sure you’ll agree that we all love about cats is their individual personalities. Some cats behave in very mysterious ways, just because that’s their personality.
There are a lot of factors to consider here. If you want to take a closer look at your cat and see if they tick the boxes for autism in cats however, here are some of the following signs to look out for:
Symptoms of Autism in Cats
Poor social skills – Does your cat show no interest in interacting with you or other animals?
Unusual sleeping schedule – Cats are known to sleep up to 16 hours a day. Does your kitty sleep a lot less than this, or keep you awake at night?
Erratic and aggressive behavior – Does your cat suddenly lash out at you for no reason when you’re playing with them?
Noisy behavior – Does your cat make a lot of noise for no apparent reason? Like meowing at night.
Acting withdrawn – Does your cat act withdrawn sometimes, and even go from being happy and active to withdrawn some days?
There are just some of the general signs of how a cat with autism would behave. Like I said already, there is no way of really knowing the reasons behind their actions.
Do some research into the characteristics of your breed of cat too. Some breeds behave very differently from others.
Also, did you have your cat from a kitten? If there was some trauma or complications as a kitten then this can cause a cat to act in some of the ways highlighted above.
If your cat is displaying the behaviors that might you think they are autistic, maybe they are. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing for sure.
But, the bottom line is – does it really matter? Sure, it’s nice to know either way so you can care for your cat the way that’s more beneficial for them.
But we all love our cats and all of their individual quirks because, well, they are individual quirks that make our cats special.