Cats can experience sadness or depression for a variety of causes, including sickness, the loss of a cherished family member, or injury. It's common for cat owners to miss signs that their feline companion is depressed, so it's crucial to keep an eye on your cat if they've changed their usual outgoing demeanor to one of reserve or quietness. Find out more about the most common causes, warning signs, and treatment options for depression in cats.
Signs of a Depressed Cat
A picture is worth a thousand words. So, is the look of your cat. Pay attention to some signs of possible depression in your cat.
- or changes in vocalization: Your cat may meow more or less than usual. These are very audible indications that your cat may be unhappy. These unhappy noises are usually low-pitched, mournful yowls. do not always indicate happiness and an unhappy kitty might also purr more as a way to comfort themselves as well. Other cats that are normally vocal , while quiet cats can turn up the volume.
- Body language: Sometimes your cat’s body language can clue you in on their unhappiness and there are many , , fur, and body positions that can indicate this. Ears held back, tail tucked, hair standing on end, and other body signs are all forms of silent communication that your cat may be sad.
- Aggression or fear: Sad cats tend to be more reactive and act out with aggression or fearfulness. If you notice behavior changes that result in your cat being scared or abnormally aggressive then they may be sad.
- Clingy or hiding or changes in personality: A sad cat may lose interest in the activities that used to engage him, become reclusive, and hide. More quiet cats can become clingy or demanding and the that all cats seem to share can become heightened when a cat is sad.
- Excessive sleep: Cats normally sleep a lot but sad or depressed cats sleep even more. If there have been changes in the location of a favorite nap spot this can also indicate sadness.
- Poor grooming or changes in grooming: This can be a sign of unhappiness and ill health. Cats that do not feel well or are depressed often stop grooming themselves leaving very unkempt looking coats.
- Not eating or change in appetite: If your cat has stopped eating or you've noted a sudden change in appetite, it may be unhappy about something. Sad cats may snub foods they previously enjoyed and may even lose interest in their favorite treats.
- Spraying or changes in bathroom habits: A sad cat may use their own scent to feel better by urinating in inappropriate places. There are many reasons for urinating outside of the litter box but stress, depression, and sadness are high on this list. Your cat may urinate in high-value areas such as lookouts, your bedroom, or places where the scent of a deceased pet or missing human lingers in order to spread their own scent. Also, if your cat soils outside of the litter box, this should raise a red flag.
- Excessive scratching: If your cat is sad or depressed, it may start scratching objects more so than usual to relieve stress and mark its territory.
Reasons Why a Cat Gets Depressed
A cat may get depressed for a variety of causes. Cats are capable of feeling sorrow. When the dynamics of a relationship are gone, they might grieve and form bonds with both human and non-human family members. Whatever the cause, be sure to give it more consideration and time until its degree of happiness increases. Take your cat to the vet if discomfort is the cause of the behavior.
Your cat may not feel well and may experience discomfort as a result of an illness. If it aches for the cat to move around, it might not be as lively as usual. The sickness may cause the cat to feel nauseous, not want to eat, have a hormone imbalance, or have little energy. Serious health issues that might impair your cat's pleasure include fatty liver disease, FIV, FeLV, upper respiratory infections, diabetes, hypothyroidism, dental disease, and other conditions. Make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible if you think your cat is depressed because it is ill.
Your cat may no longer be able to enjoy some activities due to injuries. Additionally, discomfort from an injury might prevent your cat from being as joyful as it usually is. Make sure you are according to your vet's advice on pain medication, or if your cat appears to be in agony, make an appointment to have it examined. Even previous operations and traumas might leave your cat with persistent pain or discomfort and necessitate the prescription of chronic pain medication.
Loss of a Loved One
Everyone affected by the loss of a family member finds it difficult, and your cat is no different. Your cat could feel sad and unhappy when a family member—human or animal—dies or leaves. Usually, this is only a passing phase, and your cat will return to normal after some time. Your cat can benefit from making a new cat buddy if they are feeling down because another cat in the home has passed away (or they may not). Avoid bringing in a new roommate too soon for the family. Major family member changes often respond best to time, but pheromones and nutritional supplements are examples of natural treatments that might make your cat happier while you wait.