Why do cats get depressed? Can cats die from depression? Cat-lovers are commonly interested in these questions and often ask them if they see something strange or unclear happens to their pets. So cats can actually be sad and they also get depressed just like people. Cats have more in common with humans than you even sometimes realize!
Of course, no one wants to make the cat unhappy, but sometimes pet owners don’t know or don’t notice that their cats suffer from depression. Cat depression can be really difficult to diagnose and it may be triggered by a number of reasons. For example, changes in food, moving to a new flat as well as the loss of the beloved companion may cause a depressed mood of the pet. But it’s really important to be able to spot the signs your cat is depressed and intervene appropriately to help your furry friend.
1. Cats Can Lose Their Appetite or Eat Too Much
Cats are the creatures that seldom change their habits and that should be necessarily taken into consideration if they change their daily routines because such behavior may lead to serious problems. Well, if cats have stopped eating suddenly, or conversely, they have started overeating, this is the best indicator that they`re unhappy about something or feel stressed. Thus, melancholy cats usually eat less or more and lose or gain weight as a result. So as a cat owner, you have to monitor your cat’s eating habits and weight to prevent depression.
2. Cats Can Vocalize More Often or Less Often than Usual
Sometimes depressed cats become a lot louder than usual, especially at night, you may hear excessive vocalization of your cat when the whole house is trying to get some sleep. Or it may happen that your normally loud cat is quiet and it means that it`s time to call your vet! Remember, changes in your pet’s vocal behavior are commonly the surest sign that something is wrong!
One of the main signs of cat depression is avoidance of company, namely, human company. Of course, this sudden change in behavior can be caused by different reasons, but you shouldn’t ignore it because everyone knows that cats are social animals and the desire to have a hiding spot or stay away from you all the time cannot be considered as the normal cat’s behavior. If your four-legged friend is depressed, you can notice that more often your cat hide in a hard to find place where no one can see her suffering!
4. Cats Can Change Their Sleeping Habits
Cats usually sleep a lot, they are known as big sleepers, but sad or depressed cats can sleep even more! The activity level of depressed cats may decrease, they may lose interest in play and seem withdrawn. All these conditions are real symptoms of depression! So if you realize that your little friend seems to be sleeping much more than she commonly does, this might be a real sign of cat depression. Moreover, if your pet has changed the location of her favorite nap spot, such behavior can also indicate sadness and unhappiness.
5. Cats Can Stop Grooming or Start Over-Grooming
Grooming is an important part of the cat`s daily routine! Cats adore to groom themselves! And if cats deviate from their usual habits and stop grooming themselves, leaving very unkempt looking coats, ignoring their litter box or they can begin to over-groom themselves like licking completely bald areas on their body, you have to visit the veterinarian immediately!
One more sign of unhappy cats is their aggressive behavior. Unhappy cats can be more reactive and act out with aggression more often, even if they are in their comfort zone. So when your cat is abnormally aggressive, it`s time to call the vet because such an atypical behavior indicates most commonly cat depression.
Even if the vet diagnoses depression, don`t panic! Please, understand that nothing has happened yet and cat depression can be cured with the proper treatment! The treatment of cat depression is not so difficult as it may seem at first glance. Your vet can prescribe some antidepressant medications to your pet, but in addition, just try to spend more time with your furry friend, provide new toys and play with your cat at least 30 minutes a day (in no case, less than 30 minutes!). During cold and dark month make sure that your cat has some extra light, try to pull back the shades and open the blinds during the day.
And above all, the thing that cats who are grieving need the most is to be loved by their owners. Moreover, they need extra compassion and care from their humans, and if they feel that they`re loved and not alone with their problem, with time they can recover from the signs of depression and be happy and playful four-legged friend!
Remember, you have to show your cat to the vet at least once yearly even if your cat seems to be pretty healthy. And if you notice that your cat’s behavior is showing signs of depression or stress, call your vet right now, try to figure out the reason of this problem and be more attentive to your furry friend in future!
Guest Post: Linda Mathews is an editor of https://catspurfection.com/ Animals have always been a passion of hers. She enjoys animal science, animal husbandry, training, and market animal research.
Linda watches everything like a hawk!