Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: July 22, 2023 by Crystal Uys

Burmese cat face before pounce hunting to toy mouse

Can Cats Have ADHD?

When you look up the definition of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,) some of the signs of the condition bear a remarkable resemblance to some of the words we use to describe our cats. While there is no such thing as an official diagnosis for cats, if your cat shows any of the symptoms described below, she may just have a touch of ADHD.

The 7 Signs That Your Cat May Have ADHD

1. Short attention span

Does your cat get easily bored or distracted when you play with her? Ruby was the original ADHD kitten: she would play with one toy, then something else caught her attention, and she’d move on to batting that toy around. Humans with ADHD tend to be easily distracted by the “next shiny thing.”

2. Ability to hyperfocus

Have you ever watched a cat watch a mouse? That is practically the definition of hyperfocus, a common trait of people with ADHD.

3. Lack of self-awareness

Cats think the world revolves around them. They think it’s okay to interrupt whatever you’re doing by lying on top of your keyboard or your papers. They see no reason not to wake you at 5 am so you can feed them breakfast right NOW! People with ADHD can get carried away with excitement over something they feel needs to be done right here, right now, and they can’t filter out that now may not be the optimal time for others.

Blue golden shaded british shorthair cat with green eyes
Image Credit: Anna Azarenko, Shutterstock

4. Not listening

When was the last time your cat actually listened to something you wanted her to do? People with ADHD are often accused of not listening, although sometimes, that may just be because they’re busy with something else, and they know that if they’re interrupted, they’ll never come back to what they were originally doing.

5. Mood swings

If you’ve ever had a cat with petting aggression, who goes from seemingly enjoying being petted to lashing out at you, you know how quickly a cat’s mood can change. Mood swings are common for people with ADHD.

6. Curiosity

Cats are curious by nature. So are people with ADHD. They are often charming, gregarious, and interested in what is going on around them. Highly social cats exhibit the same traits.

cat hunting bird
Image Credit: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova, Shutterstock

7. Hyperactivity

Is your cat a senior, but still races around the house like a kitten? If you pay attention to people with ADHD, you’ll often notice that they seem to have more energy than the average person. Peter Shankman, who has spent the past twenty years starting, building, and selling companies, as well as writing best-selling books, and teaching hundreds of thousands of people how to improve their personal and professional lives, created a website titled Faster Than Normal, which focuses on unlocking the gifts of the ADHD brain.

While ADHD in cats may not be treatable, and may, in fact, be an integral part of the feline personality, it is highly manageable in humans, especially when viewed as a gift rather than an affliction.

Do you think your cat has ADHD?

Featured Image Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin, Shutterstock

About the author