The Truth About Cats and ADHD: Can Cats Have ADHD?

You may have heard that ADHD is a human-only disorder, but that’s not the case. Cats can suffer from ADHD too. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what ADHD is, how it manifests in cats, and what you can do if you think your cat might have it.

What Is ADHD?

You’ve probably heard of ADHD attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It’s a condition that affects both children and adults and can make it difficult to focus and stay on task.

People with ADHD may feel restless and impulsive, and they can have a hard time sitting still or staying quiet. Some people with ADHD also have trouble with organization and planning and may be more easily distracted than others.

Can Cats have ADHD?

Yes, cats can have ADHD, although it is not as common in cats as in humans. Cats with ADHD may be more active than other cats or constantly scratching or licking themselves. If you think your cat has ADHD, the best thing to do is to take him to the vet for a diagnosis.

What Are the Symptoms of ADHD in Cats?

It’s essential to know the symptoms of ADHD in cats, so you can get your feline friend the help she needs. Here are 8 of the most common symptoms:

  1. Excessive activity
  2. Biting and clawing furniture and people
  3. Inability to focus or concentrate
  4. Ignoring commands or instructions
  5. Destructive behavior
  6. Excessive meowing or vocalization
  7. Urinating and defecating outside the litter box
  8. Hyperactivity

What Causes ADHD in Cats?

There are a few things that can cause ADHD in cats. Here are six of the most common ones:

  1. Genetics: If your cat has a family history of ADHD, there’s a good chance it will develop it too.
  2. Poor Nutrition: Cats who don’t get the proper nutrients can have ADHD.
  3. Infections: Several infections can lead to ADHD in cats, including toxoplasmosis, feline leukemia, and feline infectious peritonitis.
  4. Exposure to Toxins: Cats exposed to toxins like lead or mercury can develop ADHD.
  5. Brain Injuries: If your cat has suffered a brain injury, there’s a good chance it will develop ADHD.
  6. Mental Disorders: Cats with anxiety or stress disorders are more likely to develop ADHD symptoms.

How Is ADHD Diagnosed in Cats?

How is ADHD diagnosed in cats? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question since the diagnosis process can vary depending on the symptoms exhibited by the cat. But here are six common ways that veterinarians diagnose ADHD in cats:

  1. Physical exam: Veterinarians will look for physical clues that may suggest ADHD, such as tremors or an inability to focus.
  2. Medical history: They’ll also want to know if the cat has any other health conditions since ADHD can often co-occur with other mental health issues.
  3. Owner observation: The vet will ask the owner to closely monitor the cat’s behavior and note any patterns they see.
  4. Interview: The vet may also ask questions about diet, lifestyle, and whether there have been any changes in the home environment recently.
  5. Behavioral assessment: This test usually involves observing the cat’s behavior in a controlled setting, such as a lab or clinic.
  6. Blood tests: Sometimes, vets will order blood tests to rule out other medical conditions that could be causing the symptoms of ADHD.

How Is ADHD Treated in Cats?

You’re probably wondering how ADHD is treated in cats. The good news is that several treatments are available, and veterinarians will work with you to find the best one for your kitty.

The most common treatments include medication, behavior modification, and environmental changes. Let’s take a closer look at each of these:

  1. Medication

Just like with humans, medication can be effective in treating ADHD in cats. Veterinarians may prescribe stimulants, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications.

  1. Behavior Modification

This treatment focuses on changing the cat’s behavior through positive reinforcement. This might include things like training and play therapy.

  1. Environmental changes

If your cat’s environment triggers ADHD symptoms, making simple changes can help. This might mean adjusting the litter box placement, adding a new play area, or changing the type of food you’re feeding your cat.

  1. Stimulants

These work by increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which can help to improve focus and concentration.

  1. Dietary changes

Making sure your cat gets enough exercise and eats a healthy diet can help to reduce symptoms of ADHD.

  1. Non-stimulants

These work by affecting different chemicals in the brain, which can help to improve focus and concentration.

  1. Supplements

Some supplements have been shown to help with ADHD symptoms in cats. Examples of such supplements include omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and probiotics.

Talk to your veterinarian first if you’re interested in trying supplements to help your cat’s ADHD. They can help you choose the right supplements and ensure they won’t interact with your cat’s other medications.

Whichever treatment or combination of treatments you choose, the important thing is to work with your veterinarian to find what works best for your cat. With the right care, cats with ADHD can live happy and healthy lives.

Are there any Natural Treatment Options for ADHD in Cats?

There are several natural treatment options for ADHD in cats. One option is to use a pheromone diffuser. Pheromones are chemicals released by animals and can affect the behavior of other animals. Cat pheromones have been shown to calm cats and reduce stress. Another option is to give your cat supplements. Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and zinc help reduce symptoms of ADHD in people. You can also try feeding your cat a raw diet. A raw diet includes meat, organs, and bones. This diet is thought to be more natural for cats and can help reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Managing Your Cat’s ADHD

You can do a few things as an owner to help your feline friend if they’re displaying signs of the condition. If your cat is constantly running around, climbing walls, and generally seems to have a lot of energy, it’s essential to give them an outlet for all that excess energy.

A good way to do this is to make sure they have plenty of toys to play with and plenty of places to scratch and climb. You should also ensure they have a lot of space to run around. If you have a small apartment, this might mean regularly letting them out into a safe outdoor area.

In addition to giving them plenty of exercises, you also need to ensure they’re getting enough mental stimulation. This means playing with them regularly and providing them with many opportunities to explore their environment. If you think your cat might have ADHD, talk to your veterinarian about ways to help them live a happy and healthy life.


Yes, cats can have ADHD. And just like humans, there are various ways to help cats with ADHD. If you think your cat may have ADHD, talk to your veterinarian about treatment options.

Thanks for reading! We hope this article has helped you learn more about cats and ADHD.

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