Can Cats Have Mental Problems?

February 19, 2020

Can Cats Have Mental ProblemsIt’s pretty accurate to say cats can have mental problems. Otherwise, how can you find and read about so many jokes about cats having obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD for short or or suffers from bipolar disorder online.

If and when cats are anxious, bored, in pain, or even scared, they may exhibit certain behaviors that are considered abnormal or excessive.

These behaviors, according to researchers allow pain-relieving chemicals in the brain to be released. These chemicals, in turn will help to temporarily ease a cat’s feeling of anxiousness, boredom, pain or fear.

Causes of mental problems in cats
It is very difficult to determine what actually causes cats to develop such mental issues. It can be a single cause, or in many cases a combination or accumulation of various events. For example, if your cat lacks activities to stimulate it both physically and mentally, or if you do not give enough attention to your kitty, it may develop behaviors that may be classified as mental problems.

Type of behaviors associated with mental problems in cats
These are some of the more common behaviors atypical of a cat having mental problems. Even though your cat may develop one or more of the following behaviors, it does not necessarily means that your cat is having mental problems. However, if your cat is displaying these behaviors more towards obsessive levels, it may mean that your cat is really having some sort of mental issues.

Chewing of fabric
If you find your cat chewing or sucking fabrics, there may be some underlying health issues such as hyperthyroidism involved. It may also be due to lead poisoning or a deficiency in thiamin.

Compulsive pacing
This is a harder behavior to recognize as it may be due to normal sexual behaviors or simply frustration at being confined. Typical underlying health issues may include chronic pain, hyperthyroidism, lead intoxication, liver disorder, metabolic and hormonal disorders, nervous system disorders, seizure after effects, thiamin deficiency and vitamin deficiency. In serious cases, it may be due to brain lesions from tumors or trauma, or even kidney failure.

Excessive grooming
Cats are compulsive groomers. It is in their nature to groom. However, excessive grooming behaviors may be due to some underlying health issues such as bacteria dermatitis, food allergies leading to allergic dermatitis, external parasites, fungal dermatitis, skin rash or in worst case scenario skin cancer.

Excessive meowing/vocalization
Meowing is a normal cat behavior. When it is time for cats to mate, they tend to be very vocal, in many cases it is deemed as excessive by people. However, if the cat is not in heat, it may be due to other underlying issues such as hearing loss, hypertension, hyperthyroidism or lead poisoning.

Any behavior that is out of the ordinary can be signs that your cat is having mental issues. Hoping that your pet can ride out these irrational behaviors may not be the best option in many cases. If you are concerned about your cat’s well being, it is best to seek out your vet for further diagnosis and treatment if necessary.

Image Credit
Photo by rhibiki.geo - CC BY 2.0

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More information here. does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help cat owners better understand their pet cats. However, the content on this site is not substitute for veterinary guidance.

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