Guest Blogs

An Animal’s Sixth Sense About ADHD

One mom says her daughter’s affection for the family cat often end in nips and yowls. But Smokey Joe comes back for more. Perhaps he knows that his attention helps her ADHD?

Aaron holds you upside down.
Natalie holds you way too tight.

Daddy doesn’t hold you at all.
Mama holds you just right!

Smokey Joe, our fat gray cat, loves Natalie, and Natalie loves him. And being Natalie, with her ADHD, she shows her love – sloppily, vigorously, exuberantly…

…and often! In fact, every single time Natalie spots him – whether he’s asleep on a bed, or walking over to the window to look for birds, if he enters Nat’s line of vision, she impulsively attacks.

Does “attack” sound like a strange choice of words to describe Natalie’s snuggle-style? If Smokey could talk, I think he’d concur with my description. Nat grabs him, scoops him up, and squeezes. She baby-talks words of love in his ears as she rubs her sticky hands and face and slobber on his fur. She scratches him ultra-vigorously under the chin and on the tummy.

She’d never hurt him on purpose, but she hurts him “accilly-dently” most every day. His yowls prove it.

Still, he rarely runs away. He hunkers down, ears back. He stares at me as if whispering, “Help?” If she gets too rough, he nips her.

But even when I wrench apart her vice-grip arms to free him, he doesn’t run away. He flops down and waits for more. He opens his eyes wide, rolls on his back, and kicks his back legs.

Why does he put up with – even invite – Natalie’s un-tempered ADHD-style attention? No one else could get away with treating him like she does.

I think Smokey views Nat as an extra-feisty kitten. Possibly even a kitten with special needs. I really believe that, on some level, he understands where she’s coming from … and, that she loves him.

How does your child with ADHD interact with your pets?