Do cats have mental health issues?

Do cats have mental health issues?

Can cats be crazy? 

Do cats suffer from mental health issues? 

What! Such absurd questions and how to know whether they are having mental issues? 

When you look at a cat, she seems so quiet, so at peace with herself, and is always contended to be relaxing or lazing away. But it may happen that after some incident which can be an encounter with a stranger or having spent a few hours on the tree or her favorite perch, she must have been shocked or terrified.

Lately, she has been meowing a lot, even hissing instead of purring, or yowling at the top of their voices. Well, an abnormal behavior at times does not count to cutie-cat having 'mental illness.' 

But yes, cats can be a bit mentally ill. Let us understand how.

What exactly is this mental illness?

The Mayo Clinic explains that mental illness may refer to a vast range of mental health conditions or disorders that can affect the mood or thinking or behavior of a person or an animal. Some examples of mental illness are anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and becoming prone to addiction. Though mental health illness can be treated in the long run, peoples how up from time to time with their concerns about mental health. 


Signs of mental illness in cats

It is challenging to recognize the signs of mental disease in cats as it depends on the condition we are trying to confirm. One needs to be well-acquainted with the cat's usual behavior and pattern or lifestyle and must be alert for any abnormal or extraordinary changes in its behavior.

1) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in cats

Observe whether the cat engages in a repeated or exaggerated behavior without any reason like over grooming to the point of irritation or scratching itself to the extent of exposing its bare skin. Also is involved in continuous pacing, continuous yelling or whining, overeating, chewing, or sucking on fabric or plastic. It seems that your cat has an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. Some breeds like Amy's or Asian breeds of cats are more inclined to OCD.

2) Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS) in cats

A rare condition where cats react to any physical stimulus that may cause pain with a peculiar movement of the skin and muscles on the cat's back when the pain does hit. This condition is called FHS or a 'rippling skin disorder.' Additionally, there may be signs like excess of salivation, wild meowing or whining, yelling, and uncontrolled urination. Some other signs may resemble OCD behaviors. This kind of condition is often seen in mature cats.

Medications as well as avoiding scratching your kitties back so that there are no muscle spasms and distrust behaviors will help your poor Kitty in this condition.

Learn more about what Cornell Vet says about Feline Health Topics >>>

3) FDS or Senility in Cats

Elderly cats over the age of 15, sometimes show a complex disorder. They show signs like confusion, aimless wandering, litterbox problems, getting stuck in the corners, and an inability to recognize even the familiar faces of the family. These are the symptoms of Feline Cognitive Dysfunction (FDS), also called senility.

In addition to these the above symptoms, there is fear, anxiety, tremors, loud vocalizing, disrupted sleep cycles or reversed sleep cycles, licking the floor or objects continuously, and a change in the interaction with family or other pets in the family. Medications have found to be of great help in such cases of Feline Dementia.

4) Mental illness caused by trauma in cats 

Cats can suffer from trauma due to any untoward incidents that happened with them like an accident or severe injuries, being strangled, operate, attacked by any other animals, hit by a car, shot, or caught in car engines. Though they are highly adaptive animals and respond well to treatments, they happen to the signs of fear that grips their mind and makes them lose their patience or quietude leading to mental illness. 

A cat may show weird behaviors like running away or hiding in unknown places or aggression or biting or scratching or arching back and swishing the tail and flattening the ears. They may even freeze in a spot.

If your cat is suffering from trauma, try to create a calm and safe environment around them, play calming music to drive away those harsh sounds from them, and see to it they have a peaceful atmosphere around them. 

Dealing with mental illness in cats

How to deal with mental illnesses and cats? Though a bit difficult, it is not impossible to bring your cat out of its mental illness. Some helpful tools like puzzle toys, mental stimulation toys, and entertainers like bird feeders can keep the cat mentally alert. Also, playing around with your cat-like hiding treats around the house so that they can hunt or place tall posts in the house so that they can perch or climb high or even leashing your cat to take her for walks for any outdoor stimulation.

The cats need their space, some entertainment, a place that is safe for them, and high perches to make them genuinely happy. 


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