She’s fluffy, she’s soft, and more often than not, she’s a tense bundle of stress. Our cat, Cleopatra, has been with our family since she was just a kitten. Having previously owned two other cats, her behavior has always struck me as odd.
All it takes is the smallest little noise and bam: she puffs up, her pupils dilate, and she darts away for the safety of our basement. Literally, everything scares her.
Tap your foot- she runs!
Turn on a light- she cries.
Touch her fur- she’s tense.
According to the DSM-5, a diagnosis for Generalized Anxiety Disorder can be made when a
person [cat] with free-floating anxiety experiences at least three of the following symptoms:
- Restlessness or feeling on edge.
- Being easily fatigued.
- Difficulty concentrating or the mind going blank.
- Muscle tension.
- Sleep disturbances.
She’s always on edge. Even though our home is a calm and quiet place from one day to the next, she still enters each room with EXTREME caution as if some giant bear is going to jump out at her at any second.
When she’s finally calm and laying down, she’s so irritable. If you give her too much love (AKA more than 5 pets on the back) then up and away she goes! She’ll have none of that.
If she sees a bright light or a ball rolling across the floor, instead of chasing it as most cats would, she gets very tense and backs away. She’s always SO TENSE.
And when she’s not anxious or scared, her mind just goes blank…
All in all, based on what I learned in my Abnormal Psychology class at Rutgers (where I also diagnosed Sarah Winchester with Schizotypal Personality Disorder), I think it is reasonable to [unofficially, of course] diagnose my cat with GAD.
Revision (1/4/2014): Just to clarify, Cleo has been brought to an actual veterinarian numerous times and supposedly, she just has a highly sensitive and fearful temperament. This post was simply written because I’m intrigued by my cat’s personality.