What do cats with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have in common?
A recent study has found that cats with the condition can be “crippled” in the way they interact with people, even if they don’t exhibit symptoms of autism.
But the same goes for cats with schizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That’s because autism is more common in cats with mental health issues than in other cats, the study says.
What’s more, researchers have found that autism can be difficult for people to understand because the condition is often described as “mentally retarded.”
So what’s it like for cats to interact with humans?
While it may seem like everyone has to be on their toes to prevent a cat from getting into trouble, cats can also show great restraint.
“People are sometimes not sure how to react to a cat, and when cats do get into trouble they can be a bit shy,” said Dr. Scott W. Anderson, an animal behaviorist at the University of Southern California and author of the new study.
“If you’re not careful, they may not get the hint.”
For example, some cats with ASD may act differently when they are with people.
“Cats with autism often show different behaviors to different people,” Anderson said.
“Some may act aggressively towards people they perceive to be threatening.
Others may be quieter than normal and seem to be more relaxed.”
For this reason, you may need to be a little extra careful with your pet if they are behaving differently to you.
For instance, cats with ADHD or OCD may be more likely to be picky and won’t like to eat foods that they find unfamiliar.
“A cat who doesn’t like the food may start licking the food or moving it around, or they may become more vocal when they want to feed,” Anderson explained.
If you are unsure about a cat’s reaction, check out their behavior first, then get in touch with them.
“The more you learn about them, the more you can identify what they’re feeling and how they feel,” Anderson added.
In addition to the obvious safety issues, Anderson said that people can also be at risk for misdiagnoses of autism with the conditions.
“For example, if a cat is misdiagnosed with autism, there is a very high chance that it is actually autistic and that the person misdiagnosing the cat may be a person who has been in a relationship with the cat,” he said.
In cases where people think that a cat with autism is misidentifying as someone else, Anderson suggested that people consider talking to the cat’s doctor to help determine what they should do.
“That person should get to know the cat as well as the person who is mislabeling the cat, as this person may have autism or OCD and may be able to tell the difference,” Anderson told ABC News.
What do you do if your cat is acting strangely?
There are many ways to deal with this.
First, it’s important to keep your cat’s behaviors in check.
“This cat is very sensitive and sensitive cats are a bit more aggressive than other cats.
It’s also important that you don’t give them treats,” Anderson suggested.
You can also try to keep a calm and patient attitude.
“When a cat seems anxious or stressed out, you should just give them the food and watch them for a few minutes and see if they calm down,” Anderson advised.
“Then, if they seem like they’re not being very cooperative, then they should just be released.
If the cat doesn’t respond, then it’s time to get your cat evaluated.”
Finally, if you feel that you’re getting a little bit of a bad vibe from your cat, Anderson added that you can try to calm him down by offering some treats.
“There’s a certain way you can interact with cats, and you want to keep those behaviors that are good for the cat in check,” Anderson noted.
“You want to be very patient with your cat and not try to push them away, because they may be scared or angry.
You want to just let them be and see what happens.”
For more information on autism, go to the CDC’s website.