Over the years, mental health research and awareness has seen tremendous success. More people are now aware of many mental health issues, but that has come with more questions.
As we know more about mental health for our loved ones, the same has shifted to our pets. Autism has taken center stage of mental health for years.
Many people are now aware of autism and its symptoms.
What happens when you notice the same signs in your Kittie?
Does this mean your cat is autistic?
The answer is NO.
We tend to categorize the pets in our home with human-like traits; they love us, understand us, care for our well-being, and miss us when we are not around. We indeed share strong bonds with cats, but that doesn’t mean they see the world from our perspective point of view.
Cats are still animal’s no-matter how much we see human-like characters in them. They see the world differently from how we see it and socialize differently. Some traits may seem too similar to us, but that does not mean cats with signs of autism are autistic.
Do Cats Have Asperger Syndrome?
Cuts are not human, and we cannot categorize them with human characters. Cats do not have Asperger syndrome that is a link to autism in people.
Your cat may get nervous when you change your furniture, your routine, or make adjustments your cat is not used. It does not indicate that your cat has Asperger disorder; they are probably on high alert from the changes and may feel unsafe.
Here are the signs that you might see in cats, and they are very similar to symptoms of autism in humans. These signs are:
- Poor social Skills
- Poor Eye contact
- Difficult in Understanding their vocal tone
- Very sensitive to smell, light, and taste
- They feel discomfort when touched.
- Awkward in expressing their emotions
- Prefer routine
- Can focus on one thing for long
- Preference of one toy
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How do Cats Display Autistic Behaviors?
From the above list of autism symptoms, it’s clear why many people are worried their cats may have autism spectrum disorder. Many cats display at least one of the symptoms as their normal behavior. You will notice four behaviors with almost every cat, socialization, vocal, intelligence, and sensory sensitivity.
Autism and Intelligence
Many people with autism are very intellectual in some aspects, like math. This aspect of autism has been one of the talks on many television shows. These people may lack super skills, but some may do well in others.
Cats are generally intelligent animals, and some breeds are more brilliant than others. Birmans and Abyssinians breed are more knowledgeable and often mistaken for autisms. Cats are curious, and they might focus on things for long.
They have excellent skills in solving their problem. For example, a cat may want something, but it appears very far or challenging to get it. They will find a way to climb and get whatever they want.
If your feline shows an intense focus on a particular object, it focuses on a specific toy. It merely means it finds the toy more interesting than the other toys. Some may even concentrate on playing with a string rather than the toys. Don’t panic and rush your cat to the vet, it’s perfectly fine, and it’s part of a cat’s normal behavior.
Poor Social Skills
It is another excellent sign attributed to autism. People with autism have poor social skills and prefer to spend most of their time on their own. The same goes for some cats.
Cats that tend to have poor social skills, a cat that doesn’t like playing with other animals, are likely to have poor social skills since they were kittens. If a kitten is raised alone and does not get to see other kittens, chances are they will grow with poor social skills? It doesn’t imply they are autistic.
Cats are also very close to a person who feeds them regularly. They are likely to follow you anywhere if you are the one who feeds them periodically and excludes other family members. They may also hide when you have guests. These are natural cat behaviors. Unless you notice your cat has changed its tune, a very social cat suddenly becomes antisocial or hides from everyone. I recommend taking the pet to the vet for a physical and emotional checkup.
Autism and Sensory Sensitivity
While intelligence is seen as a sign of autism, the same goes for lack of focus. Sensitivity to smell, light, and sound are clear signs of autism in humans. However, when you notice your cat is getting disoriented and not responsive to your calls, don’t think that your cat is suffering from sensory overload.
Cats have been susceptible, and a change in smell, different lighting, or a sound it has never heard before can keep it on its toes. These come mostly from the instincts as cats lived in the wild before they were domesticated.
Don’t associate these symptoms with autism in cats. If you notice your cat is acting disoriented and there is no change in the house, your cat probably suffers from health issues like organ failure, depression, and or infection. You should take your cat to the vet for a checkup. For some, it may be nothing just acting out. Nevertheless, your cat does not have autism.
Discomfort while Touched
Probably your cat does not like to be touched, especially by other people around the house. Cats have strong bonds with specific people, especially if you happen to feed them regularly. Your cat may act up when you want to bath them, especially not at particular times.
Like humans, cats like routine, feed a specific time, let them out to play the same time daily, give their bath, and cut their nails at a particular time. Doing the above may come with resistance from them; many people tend to translate it into autism.
Like humans, cats love routines and feel uncomfortable when you change their times of doing certain things.
The most common symptom of autism patients lacks excellent verbal communication. Some autistic patients may have very low verbalized, while others may have very high vocalization. The same goes for cats, and some cats can be very quiet while others are exceptionally verbal.
The most crucial factor to consider is the cat’s breed. Some breeds like Oriental Shorthair are very talkative by nature, while others will rarely vocalize. If you notice your cat is purring, chirping, or meowing when it’s close to you, it does not mean it’s autistic.
Once you notice a sudden change of behavior change, you can visit a vet for advice, but if you have a quiet cat or a talkative one, there is no need to make any assumptions that something is wrong.
Poor Eye Contact
Animals, especially cats, do not like making eye contact for long. In their mind, you may seem like a threat if you make eye contact for long. To avoid upsetting your cat, make brief eye contact, and look the other way fast. If you find yourself in prolonged eye contact with your feline, slowly turn your head to avoid it becoming aggressive.
Ability to Focus
Cats like humans have unique abilities to focus on one thing for a long time. You might probably wonder how they can be able to concentrate for that long. They still have the wildly hunting instincts that need them to focus on getting their prey.
Can Cats Have Autism?
Once more, the answer is no. There are many similarities of autism in humans that you can see in cats. But, that doesn’t mean they are autistic.
Cat’s personalities are less social as compared to humans. They love curling and spending time alone most of the time. Cats are more sensitive to light and sound that may seem very familiar to us; that’s why they are always alert to any music of strange fire. They are also hungry predators, and that’s one trait that makes them stay alert at all times.
Breaking a cat routine and taking it to some great locations will make your cat aggressive and cause anxiety because it does not feel safe like it does on its comfy, safe place around your house. The same goes if you take it around many people while used to having few people around. It can make your cat disoriented.
Can Cats Help Children with Autism?
It’s almost certain that cats aren’t autistic, they do have a link with autism. New research has shown that cats can be of great help to children who have autism spectrum disorder.
Pets, especially cats, are considered helpful to children with autism, they suffer isolation. Animals are less judgmental as compared to other children hence provide the best companion. In a new study, they have found cats to be better companions than dogs, even though dogs give a sense of security.
The research findings suggest that cats bond well with children with autism than any other family member. Cats that were very affectionate with children with autism spectrum disorder were less affectionate towards other family members.
The researchers have suggested that finding the right cat for a child with autism is crucial. Here are few things to keep in mind when getting a cat for an autistic child.
- Cats brought in as kittens had a solid bond with autistic children. They were protective and very affectionate.
- A significant interaction between a cat and a child with autism was hugging. The research found out that most of these children did not interact with their family cat.
- It’s important to now the cat is supposed to provide a companion to the child, and it has to be affectionate, social with very low aggression.
- While a cat may display all autistic characters, it will be of no help if it rejects the child.
- Let the child have control of the relationship with the cat. Give them space and let them build their relationship together.
- Choose what type of breed is perfect for your child. Choose a breed with predictable behaviors. If you get a kitty or young cat in your house, they will likely adapt quite well. You can add some additional training as well.
Cats can act like they have autism due to the many similarities they share with autistic people. Nevertheless, this does not mean your feline is autistic, and there is something wrong with them. Each cat is unique in its way, and there is no way we can categorize each cat out there.
Researchers have found no link to autism in cats, even though the research is still in its early stages. They have discovered that cats can be aggressive. No study has found cats to be autistic, but there is a suggestion that dogs can have a form of autism spectrum disorder.