Are Cats Autistic?

I read this:

http://open.salon.com/blog/wskrz/2008/08/02/my_cats_are_autistic

The person who wrote this said that her cats behaved in an autistic way. This goes with the idea that all cats have Asperger’s, but I really don’t believe that ALL cats do. My cat, a Somali, doesn’t. Here’s the questionnaire for autism with answers about my cat.

  • Fails to respond to his or her name: if you’ve quarreled with him, he pretends to ignore you. Otherwise, he’s aware when someone is talking to him or even about him.
  • Poor eye contact: no! my cat stares into people’s eyes and you can stare back at him. And he can outstare anyone.
  • Appears not to hear you at times – yes, when he’s angry with someone.
  • Appears unaware of other’s feelings – ok he’s not extremely compassionate, but when something aches he comes and tries to comfort me. I once fell asleep with a headache and the cat came & started to lick my head at the very spot that ached most. And he understands if we’re angry with him or happy or whatever.
  • Develops specific routines and rituals – everyone does this, including neurotypical people. Yes my cat has a couple of rituals but he doesn’t care very much when he’s not allowed to perform them (unlike autistic people who DO throw terrible fits).
  • Moves constantly – no, he mostly sleeps, eats, watches TV and licks his private parts.
  • Becomes disturbed at the slightest change in routine or rituals – no.
  • Displays a lack of interest in toys – has a lot of toys, plays with them, remembers where he’s put each of them. Has a toy chicken and loves “hunting” it and biting its throat. Capable of symbolic play (plays with pieces of cheese as if they were mice).
  • Happier to be alone – no, always wants to have someone else in the room. When you leave the room, he follows you.
  • Repetitive use of languageMeow can have a dozen intonations (meow? meow! sad meow, furious meow, pleading meow, happy meow…). Sometimes meows in long sentences (can’t find another word for it). Besides, it looks like he’s made up a word for cheese. When he says a very short meow, it always means “give me cheese”.
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