I Have Diagnosed My Cat with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Last Updated on May 30, 2021

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:

  1. Restlessness or feeling on edge.
  2. Being easily fatigued.
  3. Difficulty concentrating or the mind going blank.
  4. Irritability.
  5. Muscle tension.
  6. 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.

taking things one step at a time

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.

“please go away”

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.

um what’s that? what is that

And when she’s not anxious or scared, her mind just goes blank…

Cleo in a trance-like state.

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.


  1. Craig J Golbach

    “Dr. Rocky”, I would concur with you on this diagnosis. I would begin immediate homeopathic therapy. 🙂 I love this. Can you come have a session or two with my two dogs?
    You have never failed to keep me on my toes. Thank you.

      1. Craig J Golbach

        That would be two English bulldogs that I “re-homed”/adopted from the L.A. area. Perhaps it may be issues with missing there motherland? 😉 Maybe if I hang a picture of the queen above their water dishes they’ll assimilate? Hahaha

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The Rocky Safari