Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a medical term used to describe hyperactive young children. It is classified as a medical condition although sometimes I doubt whether it actually is.

AHHD cats
Cute but full of the wild cat ancestor’s character. Photo copyright Helmi Flick. Words: Michael
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There appears to be a similarity in the behaviour of a young person with ADHD and the behaviour of a cat who is not yet adult. I’m talking about cats in the 2 to 8 months of age group and wider than that. This is based upon my experience.

Cats in this age group are extremely active in the morning and in the evening. This is normal. These are the hours of hunting. They demand play from their human caretaker. By ‘morning’ I mean from 5 am to around 11 am.

A cat in this age bracket will often not be neutered (meaning ‘fixed’ – spayed or neutered). You can’t let a cat go outside even if it is safe outside if your cat has not been neutered. This is common sense because all he or she has to do is meet up with another cat who has not been neutered and you are going to have kittens.

Therefore the young cat who is highly active in the morning and evening is going to need a lot of attention during these times. Some people, even experts, might describe this attention seeking as an over-dependence upon the human guardian but I wouldn’t call it that. It is simply the normal behaviour of a young cat who needs to express his or her natural desires and the circumstances dictate that those desires can only be expressed with the help and interaction of the owner.

I believe that this is where a lot of problems come from with respect to so-called “bad cat behaviour”. The most popular type of cat for adoption is a kitten. Often the adopting person lacks experience in looking after a cat. The kitten grows up and becomes hyperactive in the early hours demanding attention which means demanding play-hunting.

A lot of experts say the cat should be ignored or be prevented from expressing these desires through all manner of means. I disagree with that. It is demanding to satisfy the play-hunting requirements of a young cat who is essentially confined to the home but personally I don’t see any alternatives.

If a person adopts a kitten they should be prepared to spend a lot of time satisfying their young cat’s requirements for play. To ignore and suppress these demands is unfair in my opinion.

I don’t think a lot of people are able to adequately cope with a young cat which results in them being relinquished perhaps back to the shelter where they came from or abandoned on the excuse that the cat had behavioural problems.

The reality is that kittens look like really cute as “objects” but are not so cute in their natural behavior which is all about hunting and sex. This is the true cat. Not a cute ornament adorning the living room.

There is probably an overlap between cat and human with respect to drug treatments. Many ADHD kids are wrongly treated with calming drugs. Cats are also sometimes treated with these drugs if their normal behavior is unsuited to the owner.

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