Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | April 29, 2009

ADHD Cat???



Quinn the Helper

Quinn the Helper

 Dear Second Chance Pet Column,

Is there such a diagnosis like ADHD for cats?  My cat is very high maintenance and is always demanding more attention that I can give him.  Should I consider medicating him?

Sincerely, Harassed by Hyper House Cat

Dear Harassed,

First off – no – please don’t try medicating your cat to mellow him out – particularly since you don’t even know if it is a medical or behavioral issue.  I would wager it to be the latter.  Indoor cats tend to set their routines to that of the household, expending energy based on you and your family’s schedules.  Likely if you set up a video when you are not home you would discover that your “Hyper” cat is being rather lazy and calm.

When alone there is no one for your cat to follow about and be entertained by.  It is quite normal for them to be excited when you return home, ready to engage in social activity and play.  Following you about, jumping on your lap as soon as you sit, playing in the water as you wash up, laying on the newspaper you are attempting to read, walking across the keyboard of the computer – yup – all quite normal.

If you are away from home about 8-10 hours per day, your cat is likely inactive during this time.  Of course your cat is not going to be ready for bed in a few hours after you arrive – it is play time!!  The solution?  Dedicate time toward one-on-one energy releasing outlets for at least a half hour at some point in the evening.  Brushing, petting, snuggling, chasing toys, hide-and-seek, find out which outlets your cat best responds to.  After some high-energy play time, transition toward a more relaxing activity, such as grooming, to de-escalate your cat’s arousal levels.

Usually, however, when you lay down to sleep your cat should soon agree and join you but there are cats who defy the norm and appear to never sleep and this cat can be difficult to live with.  Is this just a high energy cat or is there some lurking underlying pathology involved?  This could be reflective of anxiety issues, typically in response to fearful stimuli.  If identifying the stimuli or triggers to the anxiety is not baring results a medical workup may be the next course of action.  This may reveal a physical ailment is causing the anxiety.

Although it is tempting to simply treat a highly active cat with some kind of tranquilizing medication it is most important to identify and address the source of the underlying stress and anxiety.  Examine your cat’s day very carefully and try to resolve triggers to any anxieties.  If his activity level marks a change in his behavior, have him examined by his veterinarian.

If your cat needs a supplement to the daily attention he receives from you, consider adopting a playmate to provide some additional companionship.  I know just the perfect candidate – me, Quinn!  I am young, playful, well socialized and ready to help out!  Come meet me at the Second Chance Shelter today!  (Although I can’t be a replacement for attention and affection that your cat seeks from you – I can certainly help…)

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online:  Direct Pet Column questions to:  Photo by Real Life Photographs.



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