ADHD makes life really hard especially if you don’t know how to deal with it because it is not treatable. But how about cats? Can cats have ADHD, too?
Cats are known to show many behaviors that are seen as ADHD symptoms in humans. These behaviors are a natural part of feline behavior so it is a rather controversial topic. So can cats have ADHD? Some experts think that ADHD is possible in cats and some others think that cats showing ADHD symptoms are just a little handful and don’t need any treatment.
Can cats have ADHD?
It is not easy to answer the question “can cats have ADHD” because there are no studies showing that cats can have ADHD and experts still trying to figure out if the human ADHD symptoms seen in cats should be interpreted as ADHD or natural feline behavior. Although it is hard to diagnose ADHD in cats, it is clear that some cats show these behaviors more intensely so some experts think that ADHD in cats is possible and diagnosable.
What are the ADHD symptoms in cats?
Since the studies on ADHD are focused on humans and these studies need months of close observation of the patient, it is not clear whether ADHD in cats are exactly the same as seen in humans however it is generally accepted as the symptoms seen in humans can be adapted to cats as they are and can be used as a diagnostic tool. The symptoms are as follows:
1. A Senior Cat With The Energy Of A Kitten
It is known that some cat breeds act like kittens well into adulthood and even into senior years but if your cat is not one of those breeds and act like a kitten in its senior years, it may have ADHD because cats are very energetic when they are kittens and this high level of energy decrease over time. Senior cats generally become lazy, prefer to lie in the sun all day long and are really not into playing. If your cat is still an energy bomb in its senior years, it is possible that it has ADHD because ADHD does not disappear with time.
2. Rapid Mood Swings
Mood swings are a common and characteristic symptom of human ADHD and it is expected to observe the same symptom in cats with ADHD. This symptom comes suddenly hence the name rapid mood swing. One second your cat lies on your lap peacefully and suddenly with no reason it attacks your hand or your feet. Although this behavior can be seen in many cats especially with the independent cat breeds, if this is rather frequent it may be considered a symptom of ADHD.
3. Sleeping More Than Usual
We all know that cats sleep a lot. Sometimes they may sleep up to 16 hours a day so this symptom is a little tricky to observe. In order to determine if your cat sleeps more, you should pay special attention to its sleeping pattern. Cats are creatures of habit and they generally like doing same things at the same time of the day. If your cat is truly hyperactive at nights, so much that it doesn’t let you sleep but sleeps all day long, it may be another symptom of ADHD but again, this one is very hard to determine because cats naturally do have kind of behavior anyway.
4. Impulsive Behaviors
Humans with ADHD can be impulsive which is also connected to rapid mood swings. You may realize that your cat jumps from one activity to another in an instant. It may play with you joyfully with a full focus on you or its toy and suddenly it may stop playing and go eat some food from its bowl. If this is a frequent behavior, it may also be another symptom.
Cats with ADHD tend to hyperfocus which is when cats ignore everything else and completely focus on one task or object. The reason for this is ADHD prevents the cat to focus on one task or object because it is always stimulated bye the environment. So, in order to focus on something that draws its attention it ignores everything else which is odd for a cat because any sound coming from the environment tends to draw its attention.
How To Deal With A Cat With ADHD?
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns that ADHD medicines are dangerous for pets in general and veterinarians receive a lot more calls when schools start due to increased medication given to school kids with ADHD. Even a small amount of ADHD medication can cause serious issues for your kitty so do not give any medication to your cat without consulting your regular veterinarian.
The best thing to do if you suspect your cat having ADHD is increasing the playtime and letting it spend the extra energy it has to allow it relax a little bit.
Can Cats Have ADHD? – Conclusion
Let’s ask one more time. Can cats have ADHD? Although there are no studies conclusively determining if cats can have ADHD or not, the data at hand shows that some cats may indeed be suffering from ADHD. If you think that your cat may have ADHD, please observe it carefully, try to capture videos of its mood swings or impulsive behaviors to show to your veterinarian and always consult your veterinarian before taking any action.