Here’s a controversial question commonly asked by thousands of cat owners and feline fans all over the world: can cats have autism?
We’re all familiar with the cool and distant demeanor of cats. You might have even seen a grumpy cat meme once or twice while browsing the internet or via social media. While a cat lover may gush at how silly and cute a cat’s quirks are, other people may perceive their behavior as problematic and to some extent, a call for concern.
The distinct and unusual behavior of cats are quite similar to symptoms of autism, so it’s no surprise if some pet lovers believe that cats may also be autistic. Let’s take a look at why people seem to link cats to autism. Below are some similarities between indicators of autism and normal cat behavior:
The Most Common Autistic Behaviors In Cats
Lack of Social Interaction
Anti-socialism is considered to be an example of autistic tendencies. Cats aren’t just cold and mean to humans; they appear to be aloof towards their fellow felines! But what most of us don’t understand is that cats are respectful towards the personal space of other cats. Most cat breeds are independent, and they like to be left alone.
Cats know this, and it seems to be a common understanding among them. It’s perhaps one of the reasons why you don’t often see them interacting with one another.
No Eye Contact, Please
Eye contact is perceived as a threat in cat body lingo which is why you probably won’t be locking eyes with your dear pet cat any time soon. Persons with autism also have difficulty keeping eye contact with other people. Moreover, most autistic patients feel stressed by eye contact. The reason behind it is still unclear and is still undergoing some research.
Can Cats Have Autism?
So with all that said, can cats have autism? The simple answer is maybe. There’s still a lot of things we have yet to learn about autism. Medical experts are still studying all about it, so it’s hard to conclude even for human patients.
While it’s true that cats may display similar traits to autistic human patients, we should keep in mind that cats and humans do not share the same genetic profiles. That said, we can’t officially diagnose a cat with autism based merely on human criteria.
On the other hand, we should not also discount that cats have all the required physical systems that autism can impair. They have a brain just as humans do and they also have all the five senses just as you and I have. There’s little to no reason why autism in cats is not possible. But again, there is no definite answer to this question.
The Link Between Cats And Autism
However, here’s what we can conclude about cats and autism: they make great companions for kids who have autism. According to a study recently published on the Frontiers in Veterinary Science, cats can be quite affectionate to kids with the autistic spectrum disorder. This is why some experts would often recommend a pet cat to families with children affected by autism.
Who knew that despite their aloof and standoffish behavior, they have a soft spot for children who may display similar behavior as they do? This goes to show how unpredictable and mysterious these creatures as but that’s one of the reasons why we love them so much, right?