Cats and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

by catfood

You may be familiar with the phrase obsessive-compulsive disorder, but did you know that it may also afflict cats? Your cat may have an obsessive-compulsive disorder if it displays such behaviors. The habits, however, may not actually matter in comparison to other behavioral or health issues.


What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Commonly abbreviated as OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder is a behavioral disorder that causes a cat to engage in certain “rituals” for seemingly no good resinceon. These are generally abnormal, repetitive, and exaggerated behaviors that do not seem to serve a practical purpose.

There is no specific known cause of feline OCD, but it does seem more prevalent in certain cat breeds. Feline OCD may be genetic, but this is uncertain.


Symptoms of OCD in cats

Cats with OCD often engage in one or more compulsive behaviors. While some cats display a variety of odd behaviors, others only have one core compulsion.

  • Overgrooming is one OCD symptom that is frequently present. Cats with OCD tendencies may lick or chew their fur to the point where there is significant hair loss.
  • Some cats may have an infatuation with fabric and lick, suck, or gnaw on it. This is referred to as “wool-sucking” frequently.
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors include self-mutilation and/or tail-chasing.
  • Regular vocalization or pacing are two more possible OCD signs in cats. But these behaviors could mean a number of different things.
  • Feline Feline hyperesthesia syndrome may be seen in cats with OCD. It is unclear what causes this illness, also known as rolling skin syndrome, twitchy skin syndrome, and rippling skin within syndrome. It frequently involves vocalization, sensitivity to touch, and “twitching” back skin.

At first glance, all of these behaviors can seem to be your cat’s regular, irregular routines.

Alternately, the acts might be brought on by environmental or physical conditions. Over time, the behaviors could become fixed and stop needing external triggers to begin. Hormones in the brain that reduce pleasure and pain may support obsessive-compulsive behavior. The last behaviors may even be a cat’s coping method for worry or a challenging situation.

Be aware that sometimes treatment plans may need to be changed. Be sure to let your veterinarian know straight away if your cat’s behavior changes.


How to Spot a Cat with OCD

There isn’t a specific test that can detect OCD. A pattern of behavior is typically enough to rule out OCD. Supplements that can help you relax include tryptophan, L-theanine, vitamins, and botanicals. Consult your vet first if your cat is displaying obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

The veterinarian must initially rule out medical causes of your cat’s actions in order to diagnose OCD in cats. For instance, excessive grooming might point to a skin condition. Your veterinarian will enquire about your cat’s past experiences and current behavior. You may help the doctor by playing a video of your cat acting strangely. There will be a physical examination to check for any anomalies. In order to rule out issues that an examination alone is unable to identify, the veterinarian may also advise lab tests.

Even if all tests are negative, your veterinarian can nevertheless conclude that your cat has OCD. The vet and you will talk about your treatment options. Your veterinarian may suggest a veterinary behaviorist if the situation is severe.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder in cats: treatment

Although there is no recognized treatment for OCD, there are some that can lessen or even get rid of the symptoms.

First and foremost, try your hardest not to comfort, calm, or praise your cat when she engages in compulsive behaviors. By doing this, you can be encouraging your cat’s bad habits and making them worse. Instead, concentrate on maintaining a regular schedule for your cat. Maintaining a regular daily schedule will reassure your cat and ease tension.

Your veterinarian might suggest nutritional supplements or herbal treatments to assist lower your cat’s stress level. Depending on how severe your cat’s OCD is, you may use these in addition to or instead of prescription drugs. Before making a diagnosis, it is crucial to rule out alternative behavioral factors.



Even now, some veterinarians are starting to suggest CBD (cannabidiol) derived from hemp for anxious pets. You should be aware that this is NOT marijuana-based, as cats can be poisoned by it.

Cats with moderate to severe OCD frequently need prescription medication. To lessen stress and alter the pattern of disordered behaviors, these medications change the chemistry of the brain.

If your cat has OCD, be sure to keep your veterinarian updated on your cat’s development. Without first speaking to your veterinarian, never switch or stop taking any medications.

READ NEXT: How to Solve Behavior Problems in Cats


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