Skip to Content

Can Cats Have ADHD? 12 Symptoms That Help You Figure It Out

Can Cats Have ADHD? 12 Symptoms That Help You Figure It Out

The question “Can cats have ADHD?” still remains a mystery but more and more experts are agreeing that this is a possibility. However, it would be a difficult task trying to recognize such behavior in our felines.

All pets are individuals and will act according to their instincts and personalities. So you really have to know your cat and general feline behavior to try and determine if your pet is suffering from this condition.

What does ADHD stand for?

Can Cats Have ADHD? 12 Symptoms That Help You Figure It Out

ADHD is short for the term Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s a condition where a persistent pattern of hyperactivity or inattention affects the development or functioning of a person, or in this case, cats.

This implies that someone with this condition might have a hard time focusing on their tasks or generally fails to pay attention. A person with ADHD will often do things in a careless manner, not thinking about the consequences.

Next to some more serious tasks, those affected with ADHD will even have a hard time keeping their focus during fun activities, such as playtime. They often appear to be absent-minded because they don’t pay attention to the situation at hand.

Also, they may find it difficult to properly organize and follow through with any rules and instructions. Both usual and strange distractions can impact their focus and they may lose their concentration and get lost in their thoughts.

On the other hand, people with ADHD might appear to be rather nervous than inattentive. Hyperactivity implies a lot of fidgeting and squirming in one’s seat. They may seem on edge because they might constantly leave their seat to walk around the room (due to their restlessness).

The feeling of restlessness might be followed by the feeling of discomfort, especially if seated in one place for a longer time. To many people, this behavior might seem hard to keep up with because it seems they’re always on the go.

A person with this condition might also be labeled as rude because they might often interrupt others. They aren’t able to always wait for their turn to speak up. Because of their impatience, people with ADHD might intrude on others’ activities, join a conversation or take something without permission.

But can cats have ADHD?

Now that you’re more familiar with this condition, you might wonder “can cats have ADHD?” We know that felines and humans can share a lot of conditions, such as Down syndrome.

But when it comes to this disorder specifically, experts can’t really come to a solid answer. However, many believe that felines can definitely exhibit certain behaviors that resemble those of a person suffering from ADHD.

There are many symptoms that can help you determine whether your cat has ADHD. For inexperienced cat owners, this might be harder than it looks.

Felines are unique creatures and every individual will have their own quirks and behavior patterns. Therefore, we picked out some of the most generalized symptoms that might help you with figuring it out.

1. Hyperactivity

This is probably not a trait of many cats. Felines are known to be quite lazy. All they do is just lay around all day and snooze off in their comfy beds.

I believe my pets’ only activity is running down the hall when they hear the treat bags open. They’ll sometimes jump up at the window if they see something interesting, such as birds or squirrels.

But other than that, they’re pretty much couch potatoes that just whine all day for more food and pets. On the other hand, there are some felines that enjoy being active better.

If you have a rambunctious pet that likes to be all over the place all the time, it might be easier said than done to determine whether they have ADHD.

However, you can still monitor your pet and try to see if anything is out of the ordinary. Maybe your one pet usually calms down after being done with playtime.

On the other hand, your other cat doesn’t think it’s ever the time to settle down and call it quits. If your feline is acting hyper, she might be suffering from ADHD.

In her younger years, you probably thought of it as some kitten phase because you only saw a young cat with all the pent-up energy. But, as time went by, you notice that she was not settling down much. Maybe it’s just her personality? She’s a bundle of joy all day, every day?

Honestly, I doubt it could be the case because as they grow older, cats usually slow down and rest more. Therefore, if your feline friend still hasn’t calmed down, it might be something bigger than just a quirk of hers.

2. Sudden mood swings

Can cats have ADHD? Perhaps the sudden mood swings will help you figure it out.

I know that we’ve all been there and done that, especially women. You know how one moment you’re feeling like you’re floating on cloud nine, and then the next one you feel like screaming?

These sudden mood changes can also affect your pet. If you notice your cat acting strange lately, you might become worried. Cats that have ADHD will exhibit sudden outbursts, just like humans.

For instance, one moment, you’re cuddling together on the sofa, scratching her belly and she’s enjoying it. The next thing you know, she licks you and clamps down on your hand hard.

You might not give it much thought at first. Perhaps you think that it’s just the way she plays with you. However, over time, she keeps repeating these behaviors and you notice that there’s something strange about that.

It’s considered normal behavior if she does it ever so often during playtime. However, when she begins to repeat that behavior constantly and change the force of her bite, it can really get you thinking. You might even think about how your cat’s bipolar.

But if she has any of the accompanying symptoms that might resemble hyperactivity or inattention, it’s likely your cat is suffering from ADHD. If your cat licks you and then bites you, it could be a clear sign of this disorder.

3. Youngster behavior

Can Cats Have ADHD? 12 Symptoms That Help You Figure It Out

Every cat goes through the kitten phase in life. If your pet’s been acting spoiled lately and asking for attention, she might be exhibiting pure kitten behavior.

This type of behavior might include scratching and biting you and the furniture. It almost resembles the teething period where your cat’s teeth were only starting to grow out.

Your pet might be unable to use her litterbox the right way. So, you might find all those little presents all over the house and even behind your couch.

This isn’t considered normal behavior when it comes to adult felines. Kittens are fast learners and it takes little time for them to figure out how to use the litter box. Therefore, if your pet’s a grown-up who’s having accidents all over the house, it might indicate a much bigger problem.

Most commonly, it’s something related to her physical health. However, it’s possible that urinating all over the place might be somehow connected to your cat having ADHD.

4. Lack of focus

Can cats have ADHD? One thing that characterizes ADHD is a short span of attention. Cats suffering from this disorder might not be able to focus on one thing for too long.

They’re usually restless and will always seem as if they’re on the go. For instance, one of your pets might have been able to sit still for hours on end, watching the world go by through the window.

However, you’ve recently found out that your other cat hasn’t been able to keep her focus on the window or anything outside that window. First, you guess that she’s just a carefree spirit and not many things can get her attention.

But as time goes on, you begin to notice that she lacks the focus to do anything. For instance, you may give her a new toy to play with and just when you think she’s having a blast, she’ll get distracted by something else.

Maybe your pet is a guzzler and won’t say no to any kind of food. She chomps down on the food you give her like she’s been starving. However, sooner rather than later, her attention is drawn to some kind of reflection or a sound.

Before you know it, she’s off into the distance chasing whatever made her ears perk up. You can’t believe she left her food behind because nothing is more important to her than her kibble!

This isn’t something that can impact your pet in a really bad way. However, there are still some drawbacks to having a lack of focus.

Imagine your feline climbing all over the house and doing all kinds of stunts. All of a sudden, she loses her focus and decides she’s had enough. Imagine if this happened while she was high on some shelf and she heard some weird noise…

5. Lack of self-awareness

Most of the time, cats that suffer from this disorder will be totally unaware of themselves. They’re completely immersed in their surroundings.

Just like any other feline, my pet is obsessed with herself. Needless to say, cats are big princesses and spoiled furbabies. Therefore, they live away happily in their own bubble.

Honestly, I kind of idolize and envy them at the same time. It takes a lot of effort to not care at all! But what’s so different between self-centered and cats that have ADHD?

For instance, a feline that’s just spoiled will definitely have an attitude but probably knows where to draw a line. They’re clever little creatures, so she probably knows her limits. On the other hand, if you saw a cat with ADHD, you probably witnessed her obsession and persistence with doing something she likes straight away.

To illustrate, my friend’s pet (whom we believe is suffering from this disorder) will come to her room at ungodly hours of the night. She’ll demand her breakfast be served even if it’s 5 am.

Some pets are simply spoiled and ignorant and will keep doing this if they see a chance. However, you shouldn’t let that happen. But if it’s repetitive behavior and your cat kind of seems oblivious to anything that’s happening, she might have ADHD.

6. Food disorder

Unfortunately, many cays that have ADHD will develop some kind of food disorder. This implies an imbalance in your cat’s diet which might cause severe issues.

Felines require a nutritious diet that will provide them with all the needed health supplements to keep them strong and fit.

ADHD can affect your pet’s eating habits and she might develop eating disorders. Your feline might refuse to eat and that can cause her some great trouble later on.

With a weakened immune system, your feline is likely to fall sick quickly and suffer from serious health issues. If this is the case, you want to talk to your vet about it.

7. Being vocal

Can Cats Have ADHD? 12 Symptoms That Help You Figure It Out

I know that pet owners just love when their pets sing them the song of their people. We always like to think that they’re talking about something special.

Needless to say, some cats really have a lot on their minds and are willing to share it with us. While this might look and sound cute to some, in other cases, it can be quite concerning.

Cats that have ADHD can do the same thing and voice their thoughts out loud. However, if your furry friend is shouting at you for no apparent reason, it might be a good time to tell her the bad news.

8. Choosing when to be affectionate

There’s nothing really strange about this one. Felines are independent creatures and they don’t like being manhandled. They oftentimes like being left alone with their own thoughts.

They enjoy their free time and will usually come only when called. However, if you notice your pet’s really avoiding us, there might be something wrong with her.

For instance, she won’t come when called as her sister might do. You can call her name all you want but she chooses not to even come as near. Instead, she’ll make up her mind to wait somewhere in the corner, safe from everyone else.

9. Impulsivity

Cats that have ADHD can be extremely impulsive. If your cat suddenly rises from her seat to start running across the hall, she might be suffering from this disease.

We all know that felines are unpredictable creatures. However, they’re not very predictable. You can usually tell when your pets are about to go something and you see all the warning signs.

Still, the thing with these cats is that they can sometimes be so completely unpredictable, and you can’t know what their next move is going to be.

10. Sleeping problems

One of the things that you might notice with a cat suffering from ADHD is an irregular sleeping pattern. Perhaps your pet has been struggling to hit the sack lately.

Maybe you didn’t think anything of it until it started showing clearly that something changed in your pet’s routine.

Felines that have ADHD might have problems with falling asleep and unusual behavior mixed with that hyperactivity can deepen the problem furthermore.

Your cat might exchange the day for the night and vice versa. However, you wouldn’t like your pet keeping you up all night. Therefore, try tiring her but before hitting the sack.

11. Disobeying

Can Cats Have ADHD? 12 Symptoms That Help You Figure It Out

We know that felines mostly have a mind of their own. They don’t like to be bossed around and they prefer it’ll they could only have things their way.

This is the part where disobeying comes in. You know when you’re calling your cat for the hundredth time but she just refuses to answer?

Your feline continues to ignore you but you don’t think anything of it. However, you soon figure out that she’s totally disinterested in anything you have to offer.

Cats that have ADHD can exhibit such nonchalant behavior repetitively. Some might even label your cat as lazy and hard to train.

12. Unusual and high interest and curiosity

I know what you’re going to say. Cats are inquisitive creatures and it’s totally in their nature. Do you know that saying “curiosity killed the cat“?

If your pet’s been highly active lately, there might be something wrong with her. Once again, this doesn’t have to apply to all felines.

Maybe you’ve only mistaken her hyper and vigilant nature for a certain condition when she’s just having a blast and living life. However, if you notice that she’s been more inquisitive than before, it’s possible she might be suffering from ADHD.

Read more: Can Cats Have Autism? Here’s Everything You Should Know

Can Cats Have ADHD? 12 Symptoms That Help You Figure It Out