Does Your Cat Have OCD?: The Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Posted on: 16 November 2016

While you may be aware that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can affect humans, you may not know that it can also affect your cat. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about how OCD can affect your cat and how the condition is treated.

Causes of OCD in cats

While it can be difficult to identify a particular trigger which has caused your cat to develop OCS, there are some common situations which increase the risk that your pet will develop the disorder. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Being confined to a small space for extended periods of time
  • Long-term illness
  • Mistreatment by a former owner

Symptoms of OCD in cats

Most pet owners are usually alerted to the fact that their cat has OCD because of changes in their behaviour. Below are some behaviours and actions which indicate your cat could have OCD or an associated anxiety condition.

  • Obsessive grooming: You may notice that your cat repeatedly licks or bites part of their fur or body, causing the area to become bald and sore.
  • Tail chasing: While tail chasing may at first seem playful and fun, it could also be a sign that your cat is starting to perform behaviours which serve no useful purpose.
  • Eating non-food items: If you cat begins to chew and eat fabric and other soft furnishings, this could be a sign that they have OCD.
  • Loss of Interest: You may also notice that your cat loses interest in activities such as going outside or playing with their favourite toy.

Treatment options

If you suspect that your cat may have OCD, you should take them to see a vet. The vet will examine the cat and carry out a blood test to rule out any other physical causes of the symptoms, such as a brain tumour.

If you cat is diagnosed with OCD, you vet will work with you to develop a treatment plan. They will explain how you can carry out behaviour modification therapy with your cat to help to break the pattern of harmful actions. 

Behaviour modification therapy uses a system of rewards and desensitisation exercises which will encourage your cat to cease negative OCD behaviour. Your vet may also prescribe a sedative medication to deal with any anxiety which may be fuelling any OCD behaviour in your cat.

If you have any concerns about the health and well-being of your cat, contact a vet today.