Cats often act silly, and sometimes they don’t understand what we want them to do. This often leads to the question in curious owners’ minds: Is my cat mentally challenged, or can cats be retarded?
Your cat may have a brain disorder. A low level of mental ability, such as learning and problem-solving skills, is called “mental retardation.” Brain damage, Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia (a disease similar to cerebral palsy in humans), and other conditions can affect a cat’s brain in measurable ways.
Keep reading to learn more about cat disabilities and how you can test if your cat suffers from retardation.
Can cats be mentally retarded?
Mental retardation can be very difficult, making it challenging for those suffering from it to do simple everyday tasks like putting on clothes or walking. So, if our cat shows difficulty with daily tasks, does this mean it has developed a form of mental retardation?
Probably not. A cat who seems confused or has trouble listening could be suffering from several different neurological disorders, including seizures and strokes—and any one disease is unlikely to cause such symptoms consistently.
But there is more to it than that. Although we can’t test the intelligence of cats, scientists have yet to understand how mental retardation works in them or what potential neurological conditions they may suffer from. However, there is still proof that some cats become less intelligent after nine due to Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). Let’s take a look at all the reasons why this happens:
What causes mental retardation in cats?
Although you can’t define a cat as being mentally retarded, some felines will display less intelligence and slower mental development than others. Fortunately, research suggests that we may be able to understand and partially reverse the effects of aging on cats. To learn more about this topic, read below:
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is a form of mental retardation that becomes visible in felines after age 10. It is similar to Alzheimer’s, and cats with it will display symptoms such as:
- Alteration in the sleep
- Reduced desire for playing
- More Litterbox incidents
- Cannot follow prior training
- Slower intellectual capacity
- Poor grooming
Most cats older than 15 years will develop some form of cognitive dysfunction. Although there is no cure or prevention, you can manage the symptoms with some help from your vet once a diagnosis has been made.
The vet will probably recommend you give your cat supplements or food with omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin E to improve cognitive functioning. You can also establish routines for your cat, such as feeding times, litterbox use, etc., so they feel safe and secure in their environment.
A possible explanation for your cat’s behavior is that it has an extremely sensitive spot around its tail end. When this area of the cat’s body is touched or scratched, it suddenly causes that animal to become aggressive and act oddly.
When you pet a cat on the head, it will probably bite or scratch your hand. It may also urinate in that area. When the scent glands are stimulated, a cat may start to drool, its pupils will dilate, and it may try to chase its tail.
This condition is not as severe as some other feline mental disorders, and most cat owners report that their pets return to “normal” after a short time.
Vets believe that Feline Hyperesthesia is a neurological disorder because it causes seizure-like symptoms. An extruding disc, arthritis or parasites in the area usually cause the condition. Most cats with Feline Hyperesthesia can live happy and healthy lives provided treatment for their symptoms—though there is no permanent cure for this syndrome.
Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia (FCH)
A feline cerebellar hypoplasia is a developmental disorder of the cat’s nervous system, causing delayed brain growth and poor motor skills and coordination. Though we cannot measure the intelligence of cats with FCH, they show signs like behavior regression when performing basic tasks.
To be more specific, FCH is typically caused by an infection with the feline panleukopenia virus in a pregnant cat. Normally found in the intestines or fetuses, the virus damages quickly proliferating cells in the body. When kittens are born, the virus remains in their bodies and targets their brain, specifically their cerebellum.
As a result, the cerebellum cannot grow normally, resulting in future difficulties with gross motor abilities. This syndrome causes kittens to walk with a jerky or shaky gait and to swing back and forth. They may also experience head and intention tremors just before performing an action.
Kittens with FCH can have a normal life but diminished motor skills. Due to their lack of hindquarter and jumping control, it may be necessary to restrict their access to elevated areas. However, they can live just as long as any other cat with love and care.
Do cats have Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is one of the people’s most well-known mental disorders; thus, it is natural to presume that cats can also have it. This hypothesis became especially intriguing in 2000 when a white tiger named Kenny came to the public’s attention. The tiger results from inbreeding between two siblings who had offspring with facial deformities and other health problems.
Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 10 due to cancer. The unknown is if he had Down syndrome or another genetic issue, but there is a general answer for cats.
The answer is No. Due to the lack of the 21st chromosome, cats cannot have Down Syndrome. Cats have only 19 pairs of chromosomes, while humans have 21. Because felines have fewer chromosomes, they can’t develop the same disease as humans with Down Syndrome.
Why are there still cats with Down syndrome-like characteristics? Because cats exhibit a wide variety of physical characteristics. There are more than 100 breeds worldwide, each with distinct physical characteristics. Some individuals have flat faces, protruding tongues, and other distinguishing features, but this does not necessarily indicate Down Syndrome or another genetic disorder.
Consider the Persian breed as an illustration. All of them have a flat or “punch” face, which may make them appear malformed, but it is characteristic of their breed. Like Scottish Folds, Siamese has abnormally small heads, while Munchkins are diminutive. However, none of them have a mental illness or intellectual disability and live healthy lives.
Can cats develop Autism?
Enjoying their own company, being very concentrated, and being terrified of loud noises are characteristics shared by all cats. But when you realize that autistic people have the same features, you may begin to question your cat’s mental health.
Autism is a spectrum of behavior that differs from the general population. A preference for solitude, intense organization, a fear of loud noises and flashing lights, and an obsession with particular activities characterizes Autism. It is a chronic ailment that can be controlled with family support. Individuals with Autism may also have great brains and an inventive spirit.
Fortunately, cats cannot also be autistic. Cats cannot be diagnosed with this hereditary disorder because they lack humans’ genetic variety and intelligence. Your cat’s occasionally peculiar behavior is inherent to its nature.
Cats frequently become infatuated with particular pastimes and their owner’s devotion and can endure rapid mood swings. Many of these behaviors fit under the autistic spectrum, but they may reflect your cat’s character.
If you detect any atypical signs and symptoms, such as intense grooming, drooling, and biting, it is recommended to get your cat evaluated for neurological diseases by a veterinarian.
Conclusion: Can Cats Be Retarded?
Despite the rarity of cognitive dysfunction syndrome-related mental impairment in cats, your pet may have this ailment.
However, your cat cannot be autistic or otherwise unique simply because it engages in behaviors that you find odd or even foolish. Cats are peculiar creatures that appear to have adopted humans many thousand years ago when we could not control our pest problems. Most human features are not shared by our pets, while a few, such as the ability to meow after reaching maturity to ‘speak’ to people, have arisen in our pets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can cats have mental disabilities?
Cats, like humans, can have mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Determine how to recognize your cat’s emotional distress and what to do about it.
Is it possible for a cat to have Autism?
Cats cannot be diagnosed with Autism, but they can have other illnesses, and like humans and other animals, some cats have specific requirements. Some cats with special needs have mental disabilities due to congenital abnormalities, illnesses, or accidents. Some cats even exhibit indications of Down syndrome.
Can cats have developmental disabilities?
Some cats are born with a disability, while others acquire one due to an accident, illness, or the degenerative effects of aging. Cats are typically adept at adjusting their lifestyle to accommodate a disability, allowing them to maintain a high standard of living.
What are the signs of an autistic cat?
Cats cannot be diagnosed with Autism, but they can have other illnesses, and like humans and other animals, some cats have specific requirements.Several cat habits resemble those of autistic humans, including:
- Avoidance Of Eye Contact
- Doing The Same Thing Repeatedly
- Unwillingness to be held or touched