Can Cats Be Autistic? (Everything you need to know)

Autism impairs the ability of a person to form social connections and interactions. It also affects communication both verbal and non-verbal. Autistic people display anti-social behavior because they don’t grasp the concept of social interaction.

Cats are different from humans. They do not have the same social understanding as humans. Their perceptive of the world and the way they interact with their surroundings is different from that of humans.

Is my cat displaying autistic characteristics?​

However, cats can also portray similar characteristics as human. You might notice autistic characteristics in your cat. There are a number of reasons to why this could happen; it doesn’t mean your cat is autistic. Infectious diseases, physiological abnormalities, and even poor nutrition could make your cat portray autistic-like behaviors.

The way a cat behaves varies within breeds or just as an individual. Persian cats are quiet while Siamese is typically vocal. Knowing your cats helps to distinguish normal behavior from abnormal based on your cat’s standards. If a cat that usually likes to cuddle suddenly avoids you, it is likely trying to tell you something is wrong.

There are a number of reasons that would make a cat portray autistic-like behaviors. Some of these include physiological abnormalities, poor nutrition, and infectious diseases.

Watch out for the following characteristics

Sensory abnormalities.

The sensory abnormality is a sign of autism in humans. However, if your cat happens to lose focus or express diminished responsiveness, it doesn’t mean your cat is autistic. These characteristics could be a symptom of organ failure, infected wounds, depression or other health issues.

Lack of social interaction

Cats are independent animals who like to spend a good amount of them on their own. They cherish some time away from humans and other animals. A cat’s antisocial behavior is not an indicator of autism so if your cat is uninterested in your company or that of other animals, don’t crack your head worrying about it unless your cat is usually a very social cat and is now hiding from everyone.

Vocalization

Lack of proper communication is the most obvious symptom of autism in humans. Certain breeds of cat are naturally more talkative while others are rather quiet animals. Know your cat well and if your notice sudden change in their purring, chirping or meowing, find out what could be the cause.

Intelligence and level of focus.

Birman and Abyssinians cats are just a few examples of cat breeds with high brain capacity. Intelligence is not a sign of autism in cats neither is your cat exhibiting an intense interest or focus on a particular thing. The intense focus on a particular toy or picture could simply mean that it is its favorite toy.

​Conclusion

You cannot put all cats in one pool. Each cat is unique in its own way so we cannot definitively determine which behavior is common for cats and which ones are not. Observe your cat, know them and if you notice an abnormal and sudden change in their behavior consult your vet find out if your cat health both physically and mentally. When it comes to autism, it is not possible to get a diagnosis.

  • Jenny
  • Updated November 5, 2018
Jenny
 

Jenny is an avid animal lover and enjoys spending time with her two adopted cats and one dog who lost one leg in an accident. Inspired to blog about pets by her dad, a retired veterinarian, and veteran.

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