or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Can cats have PTSD?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Do cats get psychological issues like PTSD from witnessing bad things happen to their owners?

My sister's cat, who I live with part-time, is very stressable. As a kitten he got a very severe concussion but recovered well. He hides in the basement all the time if anything changes, like if I come home or if someone moves the furniture or paints the walls or really anything. I know lots of cats are skittish, it is deeper than that though. He is an emotional eater and is overweight because of it. He also randomly attacks. Like, I was sitting on the couch watching TV and he woke up from a nap, his pupils got real big, and he ran across the room at me and flew at me, scratched my face, and then ran away. He only does this rarely, but there are no real triggers-- except it is always at someone besides my sister and her husband.

I am also worried about my cat-- I got her while still living with my abusive ex and sometimes it seems like she... I don't know, Zissou would fit the DSMIV classifications for PTSD but obviously you can't apply human psych to cats. She doesn't do anything troubling except still sometimes playing the 'attack your feet' thing, but she is usually playing more than anything. I'm mostly just worried and is there anything I can do to help her? I'm afraid it's impossible for me to give her much of a routine, since mine changes on a daily basis, but she seems okay with that for the most part at least.
post #2 of 4
Hi there, yes I do think cats can get PTSD, I don't know if we would call it that or not, I don't see why not though. Cat's learn the same way we do, through association. If we touch the hot burner on the stove, we learn to associate the stove with pain and learn to avoid it, the same applies to kitties. As far as your kitty attacking your feet, a good play session before bed should cure that, and after the play session make sure to feed him a big dinner, something that is his favorite. That should resolve that, if it still continues, like all hours of the day, then you might want to consider getting another kitty as a playmate for your kitty.
As for your sister's cat, cats absolutely hate change. In the wild change causes a threatening of resources such as food and territory, so it is totally normal that he freaks out over any type of change, whether it be to his routine or to the colors of the walls. One way to help him over come this is to help him form a positive association with change. So when you arrive home, as soon as you get in the door toss a few treats to him, before you know it after a few weeks he'll be greeting you at the door! And the same goes for guests, have them toss treats when they arrive. As far as the kitty attacking you, were the house windows open? I've known this to happen when a cat catches sniff of a stray cat outside, their senses become heightened, they get on edge, and next the tend to attack the first thing in sight (also known as redirected aggression) which is sometimes you. In this case it is best to leave the room and close the door behind you leaving the cat time to calm down, if you over react it will more than likely stress the cat out even more, which could aggrevate the situation. I hope I that answered your questions, good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
Do cats get psychological issues like PTSD from witnessing bad things happen to their owners?

My sister's cat, who I live with part-time, is very stressable. As a kitten he got a very severe concussion but recovered well. He hides in the basement all the time if anything changes, like if I come home or if someone moves the furniture or paints the walls or really anything. I know lots of cats are skittish, it is deeper than that though. He is an emotional eater and is overweight because of it. He also randomly attacks. Like, I was sitting on the couch watching TV and he woke up from a nap, his pupils got real big, and he ran across the room at me and flew at me, scratched my face, and then ran away. He only does this rarely, but there are no real triggers-- except it is always at someone besides my sister and her husband.

I am also worried about my cat-- I got her while still living with my abusive ex and sometimes it seems like she... I don't know, Zissou would fit the DSMIV classifications for PTSD but obviously you can't apply human psych to cats. She doesn't do anything troubling except still sometimes playing the 'attack your feet' thing, but she is usually playing more than anything. I'm mostly just worried and is there anything I can do to help her? I'm afraid it's impossible for me to give her much of a routine, since mine changes on a daily basis, but she seems okay with that for the most part at least.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatPsych View Post
Hi there, yes I do think cats can get PTSD, I don't know if we would call it that or not, I don't see why not though. Cat's learn the same way we do, through association. If we touch the hot burner on the stove, we learn to associate the stove with pain and learn to avoid it, the same applies to kitties. As far as your kitty attacking your feet, a good play session before bed should cure that, and after the play session make sure to feed him a big dinner, something that is his favorite. That should resolve that, if it still continues, like all hours of the day, then you might want to consider getting another kitty as a playmate for your kitty.
As for your sister's cat, cats absolutely hate change. In the wild change causes a threatening of resources such as food and territory, so it is totally normal that he freaks out over any type of change, whether it be to his routine or to the colors of the walls. One way to help him over come this is to help him form a positive association with change. So when you arrive home, as soon as you get in the door toss a few treats to him, before you know it after a few weeks he'll be greeting you at the door! And the same goes for guests, have them toss treats when they arrive. As far as the kitty attacking you, were the house windows open? I've known this to happen when a cat catches sniff of a stray cat outside, their senses become heightened, they get on edge, and next the tend to attack the first thing in sight (also known as redirected aggression) which is sometimes you. In this case it is best to leave the room and close the door behind you leaving the cat time to calm down, if you over react it will more than likely stress the cat out even more, which could aggrevate the situation. I hope I that answered your questions, good luck!
Thank you so much for the advice, next time I go home I will definitely try the thing with tossing treats in the door. Although his brother-cat is a runner so it will be interesting to get Schmaltz to come to the door and keep Percival away from it
The new neighbors have an outdoor cat Sadie who is the sweetest thing you ever did meet, and Schmaltzin got freaked out by her because she would come visit Percival through the windowglass (my sister was trying to feed her, her owners were very neglectful and she was skin-and-bones, they've since started being better caretakers and she no longer does that!) and poor Schmaltz got a UTI. The vet said obviously to stop letting Sadie on the porch and try to give him more routine so he is less of a stressball.

But his rare attacks had nothing to do with her, he is a stranger-attacker... if you wear a hat or something he doesn't like or recognize he will attack you or be scared. I just realized, we always thought he didn't recognize us in different outfits (like a life jacket or a sun hat, etc -dramatic stuff not just a new tshirt) but do you think it is that he doesn't like the change?

As for Zissou, she attacks feet whenever, not at night usually, she goes to bed with me and wakes up with me or goes out and sits quietly in the window waiting for me to get up. Sadly I can't have another cat yet it feels too small for the two of us sometimes (I'm in college and have about 600 sq ft in my one-bedroom). I do try to play with her when she is bored, she loves fetch and going on walks with me (she's leash trained and likes the harness) and I know she's frustrated/bored when she starts ripping the toilet paper all over the place She just gets in these moods, usually she is very sulky and then she runs around digging into the carpet with those wild eyes and that's when she attacks. She doesn't break the skin for the most part, she's not trying to hurt me, I just don't know what it means. She is very affectionate when not in these moods.
post #4 of 4
Actually you are right, cats and most other animals do not recognize clothing as being something we put over our bodies, they perceive it as part of us. So when we change into something like a trench coat and a top hat, they will freak out sometimes. It just all depends on how well your kitty is socialized and how well they do with change, sometimes they handle it well, and other times they don't. But you're right he probably did have some trouble recognizing you in different outfits.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
Thank you so much for the advice, next time I go home I will definitely try the thing with tossing treats in the door. Although his brother-cat is a runner so it will be interesting to get Schmaltz to come to the door and keep Percival away from it
The new neighbors have an outdoor cat Sadie who is the sweetest thing you ever did meet, and Schmaltzin got freaked out by her because she would come visit Percival through the windowglass (my sister was trying to feed her, her owners were very neglectful and she was skin-and-bones, they've since started being better caretakers and she no longer does that!) and poor Schmaltz got a UTI. The vet said obviously to stop letting Sadie on the porch and try to give him more routine so he is less of a stressball.

But his rare attacks had nothing to do with her, he is a stranger-attacker... if you wear a hat or something he doesn't like or recognize he will attack you or be scared. I just realized, we always thought he didn't recognize us in different outfits (like a life jacket or a sun hat, etc -dramatic stuff not just a new tshirt) but do you think it is that he doesn't like the change?

As for Zissou, she attacks feet whenever, not at night usually, she goes to bed with me and wakes up with me or goes out and sits quietly in the window waiting for me to get up. Sadly I can't have another cat yet it feels too small for the two of us sometimes (I'm in college and have about 600 sq ft in my one-bedroom). I do try to play with her when she is bored, she loves fetch and going on walks with me (she's leash trained and likes the harness) and I know she's frustrated/bored when she starts ripping the toilet paper all over the place She just gets in these moods, usually she is very sulky and then she runs around digging into the carpet with those wild eyes and that's when she attacks. She doesn't break the skin for the most part, she's not trying to hurt me, I just don't know what it means. She is very affectionate when not in these moods.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: CatPsych Feline Behavior Advice