Can Cats Be Bipolar?
Can Cats Be Bipolar? Although this may sound like a strange question, it is one that crops up all the time between cat owners. If you have found this page, it is very likely you have just asked the question directly yourself. The subject of bipolar in cats is something you will certainly find across many cat site forums.
So can cats suffer from a bipolar disorder? The answer is not entirely clear. In humans bipolar is a psychiatric disorder that sees those diagnosed as having deep depression, alternating with periods of mania or hysteria.
Cats can certainly show signs of this behavior. In cats ‘depression’ is often exhibited in reduced activity and responsiveness, however the cause, rather than being chemical, (as it is in humans) is mostly as a result of physical illness, or a reaction to a sudden social change.
For example, cats can become ‘depressed’ as a result of location change, bullying from another cat or the death of a housemate. They are very susceptible to changes in their environment, and this should be remembered.
Furthermore, the erratic behavior of cats, (a common trait across the entire family of cats) can also be misconstrued as signs of bipolar, even though many experts cite this as merely part of their evolution.
Large shifts in mood and energy is normal within cats. Even wild, big cats spend a large part of their lives sleeping, and then when awake, hunt with ferocious intensity.
We see our domestic house cats doing exactly the same, asleep for hours on end, and then when awake, literally climbing the walls with manic behavior, (or in some cases, turning aggressive). This naturally raises the question in pet owners: ‘is my cat bipolar?’
However, many would argue that the dramatic shift in behaviour, although difficult for many owners to accept, is just part of a cat’s nature.
Can Cats be Bipolar – Available Treatment
If your cat’s shift in behavior becomes so extreme as to be problematic, there are options available to you.
Whether you choose to go down the route of behavioral therapy is entirely up to the individual owner, here at Cats Can we are neither endorsing such methods nor condoning. We are merely reporting on what is available.
Such help is made available from what are known as qualified professional animal behavior experts. These include Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAAB or ACAAB) or board-certified veterinary behaviorists (Dip ACVB).
Firstly, said experts will review the specifics of your cat’s behavior problem, aiming to ascertain the route of it.
With this information, a behaviorist will create a behavior modification plan in order to change the negative behavior your cat is exhibiting.
In some instances, this may result in a combined behavior plan alongside medication.
To explain further: as bipolar is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, in humans treatment is often conducted through medication.
In some circles, the same rationale as been attributed to cats, with medication being prescribed in response to possible bipolar conditions. A specialist may suggest Prozac for cats, (at a much smaller dosage than given to humans) in order to combat against bipolar. Lithiam is considered too strong a drug for felines.
If an owner is willing to explore medicinal induced behavioural change for their cats, A vet may also prescribe other lesser-known anti-anxiety meds.
Many owners feel uncomfortable with the idea of giving their cat medication to combat behavioral problems, especially when you consider the point we have made above – erratic behavior is often very much part of a cat’s nature.
However, in extreme cases, some experts do believe that medication (alongside behavior therapy) can be resolved more quickly if medication is added to the treatment plan.
Only the individual cat owner, alongside the advice of their chosen specialist can ultimately decide on the route to take.