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Obsessive-compulsive disorder in cats: how do they express themselves?


Like humans, cats can also suffer from mental illnesses. One of them is obsessive-compulsive disorder. If your domestic tiger shows repetitive, conspicuous behavior, this can be symptoms of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Wild walking around can also be a symptom of OCD in cats - Image: Shutterstock / Marythepooh

If you notice in the behavior of your cat for a long time that your pet tends to seemingly senseless but repetitive activities or makes strange noises, you should be aware. It can be symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. This mental illness also affects people who, for example, are constantly washing their hands out of panic fear of illnesses or who have to check umpteen times due to a compulsion to check whether they really have locked the front door.

Of course, a cat does not have such complex fears and thought structures as those experienced by obsessive-compulsive disorders - in the case of velvet paws, the disorder manifests itself primarily through its external behavior.

Symptoms of OCD in cats

The symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder are derived from natural cat behavior. However, the actions of the Stubentiger are repeated so often that they can be classified as pathological. Signs of OCD include, for example:

- Constant meowing or other vocalizations
- Excessive cleaning
- When the cat chases its own tail over and over again
- Sucking wool, pieces of fabric or a person's finger
- Eating objects that are actually not edible
- Very often running around and chasing invisible objects

These behaviors often occur when the cat is under stress, for example in a conflict situation or when the environment changes suddenly.

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder: what to do?

If you suspect that the behavior of your house tiger is no longer part of the natural cat eccentricity, but could be compulsive, it is best to contact a veterinarian or cat psychologist right away. The veterinary examination does not rule out that a physical illness such as a worm infestation, a back illness or dementia is the cause of the strange behavior of your cat. If the obsessive-compulsive disorder is diagnosed, the veterinarian can treat it with medication that relieves the stress and anxiety that can trigger the compulsive behavior. In addition, as a cat owner, you can help yourself to minimize the stress levels of your fur nose and thus help it to overcome its obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It may also be that the vet or animal psychologist decides that the compulsive behavior of the cat does not cause serious physical harm and acts as an outlet to relieve stress - in such a case, it may actually be cheaper if the animal can continue to behave without being stressed by constant visits to the vet and therapy attempts.