If you own a cat, then most likely you know that cats often develop “human-like” diseases (think of diabetes, cancer, asthma..). While this may be true for many conditions, it’s not true for all. One instance is autism. Can cats be autistic?
We often receive questions from our followers. In response, we try to write an article to share the answer with the whole Fluffy Kitty community. So today we will briefly discuss cats and autism and why it’s unlikely for them to be diagnosed with autism.
Autism: What is it?
Autism (or autism spectrum disorder) is not to be confused with down syndrome, as many people ask if cats can have both.
In brief, autism is a mental condition that may make it difficult for a person to form social relationships or to develop connections with other people.
There is no physical sign of autism, unlike down syndrome.
An autistic person may have difficulty relating to others, picking up on social norms or cues, and interacting with the one’s environment, among other difficulties or challenges.
The causes for autism may be due to an imbalance in chemicals in the brain or a difference in brain structure or shape.
Can Cats Be Autistic?
Cats may show behaviors that may suggest signs of autism. However, diagnosing a cat to have autism is unlikely. There are many other factors for cats to show traits that mirror those of typical autism.
Just a few examples of the plethora of reasons that may cause a cat to have autistic-like behaviors:
- Poor nutrition
- infectious diseases
- physiological abnormalities
- among others
It is possible that cats may develop a disease that is similar to autism, but it is difficult to test cats for autism.
Oftentimes, a kitten in a litter will show signs of weakness or difficulty functioning. These kittens are called “poor doers” because they lag behind the rest of litter in terms of physical development, social function and activity.
Fading Kitten Syndrome
Hereditary defects, infectious diseases, inadequate nourishment, trauma and hypothermia are a few examples of causes for kittens to develop “fading kitten syndrome” or “failure to thrive.” FKS and poor doers often affect only young kittens between 2-9 weeks of age.
Final Thoughts: Can Cats Be Autistic?
As mentioned above, there are other reasons for a cat to display autistic-like traits. If your cat is displaying signs of social abnormality or function, then a trip to the vet may be necessary. Your vet will be able to identify the cause for your cat’s behavior.
Do not worry if your cat seems uninterested, or seems to not want social contact. Most of the time the diagnosis will require a simple fix (change in diet, for example).
Also, don’t rule out the possibility that your cat just may lack in social skills. A cat’s personality varies greatly from another feline, and there’s nothing really wrong with that! You may just have a cat who likes to be a loner.
Sometimes our Yoda just needs his space, away from all my cuddles and kisses, and that’s okay. 😉
Thanks for reading and continue to send us your questions!!