Cats are curious creatures that a lot of people find difficult to understand.
Because their behaviors are often very different from other animals like dogs, some are quick to label cats as cold or aloof or even sometimes cruel when the truth is, cats are just as affectionate and loving as every other animal – they just show it in different ways.
However, no two cats are alike and sometimes, you will find a certain cat who acts so uniquely to others.
This has prompted many people to wonder if their cat is displaying behavior associated with other human conditions like autism – so can cats be autistic?
Let’s take a closer look at autism, what it is, and if it is possible for your cat to be diagnosed with the same condition.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that has a range of symptoms, making it very difficult to diagnose as everyone with autism often displays it in different ways.
It mainly affects a person’s communication, making it difficult for them to understand how other people think or feel.
This can mean that people with autism can sometimes take things literally and don’t always understand things like sarcasm, or laugh at inappropriate things.
However, these are just a few ways autism can affect a person – there will be people with autism who use sarcasm themselves and others who just don’t get it at all.
Autism can also make unfamiliar situations very stressful and overwhelming.
A person with autism may find it difficult to adapt to changes, or need situations to go exactly how they planned, meaning that they cannot go off-script.
Going to the store or school can be seriously stressful for those with autism because they do not know what’s coming.
Sometimes, people with autism can also find certain things overstimulating.
This can be brightness, sound, or even tastes – meaning that people with autism can be very sensitive to loud noises or bright lights.
It’s important to note that autism is not an illness or a disease.
What it is is a condition that means that the person’s brain works in a slightly different way.
It is something that you are born with and cannot be ‘caught’ or ‘given’ – this means that there is no ‘cure’ or ‘treatment’.
There is no medicine to help reduce the symptoms of autism – it just means that situations have to be adapted and extra support must be given for a person with autism to thrive.
Everyone with autism is affected differently. Some can go through life with very little support while others need daily care.
It is a spectrum that also means that a lot of people can live their entire lives without a diagnosis – this is because it affects everyone in different ways, meaning that there are a range of symptoms, making it difficult to pin down and diagnose.
Can Cats Be Autistic?
Autism is a condition diagnosed in people and is borne from our understanding of humans and their general behavior.
This means we cannot look at an animal like a cat and compare their behavior to how humans act – because they are two different creatures entirely!
A lot of people assume that because cats like their alone time, or are spooked by loud noises, or are highly intelligent animals, that they must be autistic because their behavior is similar to how humans with autism act – but this is not the case.
Cats just behave this way because they are cats.
Comparing how a cat behaves to how a human behaves is unfair because they are two completely different creatures with brains that function in very different ways.
So, it’s impossible to call a cat ‘autistic’ because they are not human, therefore they cannot be placed on a spectrum that looks at human behavior and how it varies.
Understanding Cat Behavior
Each cat behaves differently and while there are patterns that we can use to further our understanding of cats, it is important to remember that not all cats will fit into every box.
Some will be very playful, others will be more aloof. Some will be more aggressive, while others are more affectionate.
These behaviors can be affected by breed but ultimately, each cat is its own cat.
They will have their own unique personality and react to situations in their own way.
A lot of people assume that their cat must be autistic because they can get overstimulated in certain situations.
While this is a sign of autism in humans, this is basically just how cats are – their senses are sharper than humans who while a noise might be fine to our ears, it can be very loud to cats and other animals.
Their reaction may be to run away or come to you to seek comfort – let them and don’t force them to stay where they are not comfortable.
Cats also have a bad reputation for being aggressive or aloof.
This is because they are often compared to dogs but this is not the case – some cats are shy, some cats just don’t like other creatures, and some cats are very needy and love constant attention.
Just like how some people can be introverted or extroverted, cats can range from preferring their own company to always wanting someone near them.
There is nothing wrong with a cat that prefers to be alone and there is nothing wrong with a cat that follows you from room to room – they just have different personalities and different behaviors.
So, cats cannot be autistic because autism is a condition based on human behavior.
It’s not fair to compare a cat’s behavior to that of a human or dog – each species is different and behaves in different ways.
Each cat is unique.
Some are playful, some are more aloof, others are skittish and others can be bold and confident.
Basically, no cat is the same and each has its own personality that is unique to them.