Do Cats Get Autism? (Vet Answers!)

Are you wondering if your cat is Autistic? Your cat may not be learning as quickly as your other cat or seem like they are not understanding where things are located in the house.  Some cats can have developmental issues and not learn as quickly. This is usually seen as neurological and abnormal walking. 

Can My cat be Autistic?

No, your cat cannot have autism but there are other diseases that they can have that will cause them not to fully develop neurologically.

Your cat can have symptoms that would lead you to think that they have Autism, but these are usually just normal cat behaviors

Feline behaviors that resemble Autism

These are a few signs in your cat that would resemble Autism: 

Anti-social Behaviors

Many cats are shy and like to be alone. Not because they do not like their humans, but they just rather spend time alone. Autistic people also tend to be more introverted and spend time alone. If your cat tends to spend time alone, they are most likely just shy.

While there are some cats that love people and attention. These cats have most likely been raised in a house with many people always visiting.


One main reason cat owners think that their cat is autistic is that they are very vocal. Some people with autism will be very vocal usually toward one person. When your cat is very vocal around a certain person, this is totally normal behavior.

Certain breeds of cats such as Siamese or Bengals tend to be very vocal. Some cats have even trained their owners trained to give them treats when they make certain sounds.

If your cat is not normally vocal and they are suddenly more vocal this usually means that there is something wrong. Some male cats can have urinary tract infections and bladder issues and will sit and meow while in the litter box.

This is the first indication of pain and an issue in your cat that would warrant a vet visit.

Fascination with lights and movement

Most cats are very fascinated with lights. If you have ever played with a laser pointer with your cat you would see this very clearly. This is not because your cat is autistic, but they have a tendency to hunt and attack anything that is moving.

Sensory Abnormalities

A characteristic of a person with autism is sensory abnormalities. If your cat has sensory issues or abnormal gait causing them to be clumsy this could indicate an underlying medical issue.

Kittens can develop a disease caller cerebella hypoplasia. This condition causes the brain not to properly develop. These cats will have a stumbling gait and may even seem neurologic.

Other issues that can cause sensory abnormalities are:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver Failures
  • Certain toxins
  • Diabetes
  • Brain tumors

If you notice any sensory issues in your cat, it would be best that your cat sees your vet right away. Your vet can help determine the cause of these issues and start treatment right away if needed.

Strong preferences

Autistic children usually have a strong preference for a certain toy or food. They may even have strong preferences for certain people. Cats can be the same way and only like to play with certain toys or be very picky eaters.

Some cats may bond with only one person in the house and be aggressive towards other people in the house. This is not because your cat is autistic it is just normal cat behaviors.

Usually, with a little time your cat will learn to tolerate everyone in the house and even eat other types, and shapes of food.

Do Cats Get Autism? (Vet Answers!)

Final thoughts

While cats can show signs that would indicate that they are autistic but there are no studies that have proved that autism exists in cats. Keep an eye on your cat and make sure that they seem healthy.

If they ever seem off it would be best to see your vet to help, make sure that your cat lives a long healthy life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats have special needs?

Yes, your cat can have special needs or have learning disabilities just like people do. Certain things can cause your cat to not develop properly causing gait and neurological issues.

These will require that your cat sees your vet very often and may even require lifelong medication.

Can cats have mental illnesses?

Yes, your cat can have a mental illness. Things like feline cystitis due to stress, anxiety obsessive-compulsive disorder are all seen in cats.

There are things that you can give your cat to help them remain calm. Your vet can help diagnoses and prescribe medications to help keep your cat healthy.

What to do if my cat has special needs?

Many cats with special needs can live a long and normal life. Sometimes you may have to make slight adjustments such as putting food and water bowls in a lower spot in the house. Other cats may need ramps so that they can get on and off the furniture easily.

If your cat has special needs, it would be best to discuss these things with your vet. They can give you advice on the best things that you can do to help keep your cat healthy