Instigator / Pro

Cats have/portray/display/pertain the majority of symptoms of autism. Autism, in human diagnosis terms, is in fact the 'neurotypical' state of a cat's mind.


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More details
Publication date
Last update date
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Characters per argument
Contender / Con
~ 2,180 / 5,000

Cats are not 'all types of cat' if we go into wild forms. I am referring to the creature that is smaller than a big dog and is generally domesticated or feral but lives in bushes. Lions and all such 'wild' variations of cat are not relevant to the debate. Any cat brought up by Pro or Con has to be the size and shape that is what people mean when they describe a 'pet cat', even if some of that physical type are feral.

examples of cat:

When I say symptoms of autism, this includes:

they may not understand or appropriately use:
Spoken language (around a third of people with autism are nonverbal)
Eye contact
Facial expressions
Tone of voice
Expressions not meant to be taken literally

Additional social challenges can include difficulty with:
Recognizing emotions and intentions in others
Recognizing one’s own emotions
Expressing emotions
Seeking emotional comfort from others
Feeling overwhelmed in social situations
Taking turns in conversation
Gauging personal space (appropriate distance between people)

Restricted and repetitive behaviors vary greatly across the autism spectrum. They can include:

Repetitive body movements (e.g. rocking, flapping, spinning, running back and forth)
Repetitive motions with objects (e.g. spinning wheels, shaking sticks, flipping levers)
Staring at lights or spinning objects
Ritualistic behaviors (e.g. lining up objects, repeatedly touching objects in a set order)
Narrow or extreme interests in specific topics
Need for unvarying routine/resistance to change (e.g. same daily schedule, meal menu, clothes, route to school)

There are a couple more potentially but that covers what I will argue that cats have the majority of.

Round 1
In order to present you a case here, I need to predict specifically where my opponent will point out how cats don't meet the criteria of 'autistic'. One way I predict he will do this is to point out that they do socialise but... Autism isn't 'antisocial' it is 'I want to somewhat socialise, really I do, I just got no clue how so I'll learn by mimicking others and observing'.

The fundamental difference between a person with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) (sociopaths and psychopaths) and a person with autism spectrum disorder/s (ASD) (unless they have both) is that ASD revolves around wanting to get along with others but being unable to whereas ASPD revolves around having zero intention of genuinely getting along with others but in fact being very capable of doing so if the ASPD person is high-functioning (with ease, too).

The antisocial type genuinely resents people and other beings, it wants them to feel agony; the autistic type doesn't mean any harm yet by nature would call a fat person 'fat' until they realise the pain it causes them and how to estimate that.

Cats, with how autistic they are, can be contrasted to just about any domesticated mammalian pet and be seen to blatantly be the most socially awkward and clueless ones with how to empathise with human beings. Unlike dogs, who can literally bite on a toddler safely, knowing exactly what harm it can do and being sure to barely harm it (unless the dog is very severely mentally disordered), a cat will very likely lash out at toddlers because also the way they react to toddlers annoying them actually entices the toddler to keep doing so.

The reason for this is similar to how autistic people extremely unintentionally both attract bullies and react strong to bullies making them unfortunately ideal victims for the type of bullies who enjoy appearing to not really be initating the conflict. Let's say a young child pokes a cat, the cat has next to 0 iq by nature, it only learns this manually through experience. It believes in a very simple idea; it will tap the hand back with its paw and hope the child understands the warning. This tends to work perfectly vs other cats and the only cats it wont work against are intentionally attacking and provoking the cat with full understanding of the scratching and biting that can and will ensue if it keeps going. This is extremely akin to how autistic people, despite how extremely unique and different they can be to each other, tend to appreciate each other's blunt and blatant ways of making clear when they're upset and specifically what is upsetting them.

The problem is that humans don't. A young human child is not only quite sadistic and selfish (despite this 'we are all born innocent' mantra, we are in fact much more selfish when young, those who are antisocial don't outgrow that. It sees that it's annoying the cat and that the cat really predictably reacts with pushes, meows and eventually hisses. It's like a fun stuffed animal that actually reacts. This scenario is not just an example of cats having no clue how to handle someone who enjoys annoying them but also is an example of sensory overstimulation resulting in rather severe reactions from cats.

In contrast to this, dogs (which are potentially the single least autistic pet animal there is) will rapidly catch onto the notion that this young human either wants to play or is being mean for a reaction on purpose (they'll assume the former, once the latter is clearer if that's the case, they'll adopt a very unreactive state and if the child still continues they will slowly move to the parents hoping they stop the annoyance). Also in contrast to this, when other beings like dogs get overstimulated, while they can react hostile, they tend to simply try and somehow lessen their suffering or 'get used to it', cats actually are smarter in a way because they will directly either try and work out how to stop the overstimulating thing but as soon as it seems too confusing they will then try and just escape the situation. 

Cats have routine and are one of the single most curious pets out there. On their own, neither of these are autistic per se but let's just see how unusual this is for other animals.

I challenge Con to find me another animal that on its own (it can literally be out in the garden) develops the ability to know based on sun rising vs setting, approximately when the owner will not only return from work but feed them and pet them. It also knows just around when the owners will wake up, when they will leave (and unlike a dog the cat won't get too sad about this, they'll instantly know its time to be independent and get ready to be on their own), they even can learn phrases. Unlike dogs and many other mammalian creatures, cats don't respond to tone of voice appropriately at all, they just manually learn to associate phrases and ways of saying things based with the direct outcomes. Cats hate very loud noises so yelling does scare them but doesn't make them realise they did anything 'wrong', just that the yelling isn't pleasant.

If you get angry with most mammalian pets when they do a certain thing, they learn to not do it literally because it angers you. Cats do not work this way at all, they work by associating the outcome of you either yelling or overstimulating them by getting too close with them doing what they did. The moment you are out of the house they may literally disrespect every single 'rule' you set, yes that includes climbing on the kitchen table. In contrast, pets such as rats which are somewhat on the autistic spectrum I'd say (milder than cats) would obey a rule like not going on a surface even when the owner is away (confirmed with footage).

Cats are one of the only pets deemed truly domesticated that is absolutely only ever trainable if it feels like being it. All other pets are able to be trained against their direct will based on food, tone of voice, petting etc. Cats are indeed treat-oriented of course but are also likely to misinterpret treats as an entitled food item.

It is dangerous to overuse food as the motive when training cats (which can't be done if the cats doesn't want to be trained) because they rarely ever assume what they did in action caused you to give them the treat. In fact they just assume you're curious if they like the treat or not (totally unrelated to the context of what they just did) and it takes around 20 tries at something before they really get a clue that you are giving the treat for the action. This is a very autistic way to interpret the scenario. Other untrainable animals just tend to totally lack the mental capacity to link what they did with the reward vs punishment, cats can do that but go 'na, no way I just sat on the ground and they gave me a treat it has nothing to do with me sitting that's a ridiculous assumption.'

If you think I am exaggerating here or misportraying either autism or cats, then I recommend to find a source to prove me wrong.

I have many sources and many more points, I just don't want all rounds filled with many chars, 30k max lets us be flexible for longer warfare later on in the debate, we needn't do it so much earlier (or at least I won't this Round).

A couple of things to also consider, cats not only pick up on the routine of their owners better than any other animal (dogs do it by linking owners moving or acting a certain way with the outcome, cats categorically memorise daily routine and even weekly alterations in routine and time their entry through the cat flap into the house precisely for when they predict their human companion will arrive home and be ready for interaction each day. Unlike other creatures that like to be stroked or don't, cats have huge variation depending on their mood. Almost all dogs love to be stroked and almost no reptiles enjoy prolonged stroking. Rats and hamsters etc either like it or dislike it and tend to have rigid preferences in that department. In contrast, cats can go from very purry and stroke-hungry to suddenly biting (yes, brutally biting) their owner depending specifically on if the owner happened to randomly touch a place the cat dislikes. Sure, this is very rare, they'd usually push the hand away with their paw as a warning but what I want to point out is that this is very akin to how autistic humans have specific moods and times they want to be hugged and touched and times where they want your body several feet away or they feel their personal space is invaded (especially when they're angry or scared).
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Round 2
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Round 3
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Round 4
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