There’s no denying that cats can be moody creatures. One minute they may be rubbing up against you purring contently, and the next they may be hissing and hiding under the bed. But what happens when a cat’s moodiness goes from being a temporary attitude adjustment to something more serious? A lot of cat parents ask themselves “Is my cat depressed”?
According to feline experts, depression in cats is a real possibility – and it can have a significant impact on your cat’s quality of life. If you think your cat may be depressed, here are some signs to look for, as well as some possible causes and treatments.
What are the signs of depression in a cat?
While it’s normal for cats to have their off days, there are certain behaviors that may indicate a more serious problem. If your cat is exhibiting any of the following signs on a regular basis, it’s worth considering the possibility of depression:
Loss of appetite: A decrease in appetite is one of the most common signs of depression in cats. If your usually food-loving feline has lost interest in eating, it’s worth taking notice.
Sleeping more than usual: If your cat is sleeping more than normal, it could be a sign of depression.
Hiding: Cats typically like to have a hiding place where they can go to feel safe and secure. But if your cat is spending an excessive amount of time hiding, it may be a sign that they’re feeling depressed.
Lack of grooming: A depressed cat may neglect their personal hygiene, resulting in an unkempt appearance.
Loss of interest in toys and play: If your cat used to enjoy playing with toys but no longer seems interested, it could be a sign of depression.
Avoidance of people: A depressed cat may start to avoid contact with people, even their favorite humans.
Excessive meowing: Some cats become more vocal when they’re feeling depressed, meowing excessively or crying out for no apparent reason.
Lethargy: A cat who is depressed may be less active than usual and have little energy.
While many of these behaviors can be caused by other health problems, if you notice multiple changes in your cat’s behavior that last for more than a week or two, it’s worth considering the possibility of depression.
Do indoor cats get depressed?
Yes, domesticated cats that stay indoors do get depressed. There are a number of different things that can cause depression in cats. Here are some of the most common causes:
Loss of a loved one: The loss of a human or animal companion can be very traumatic for a cat, and may lead to depression.
Moving to a new home: A change in environment, such as moving to a new house or apartment, can be stressful for cats and may cause them to become depressed.
Lack of social interaction: Cats are social creatures who need regular interaction with their humans. If a cat isn’t getting enough attention from their people, it may lead to depression.
Boredom: A lack of stimulation can also lead to depression in cats. If your cat isn’t getting enough exercise or playtime, they may become bored and depressed.
Pain: Chronic pain can cause Cats may become depressed if they are in pain, even if the pain is not severe enough to be obvious to their humans.
Poor nutrition: Cats who are not well-nourished may become depressed. This is often seen in cats that are allowed to free-feed, as they may not be getting the nutrients they need.
Illness: Depression can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as kidney disease, diabetes or cancer.
How do you cheer up a depressed cat?
There are a lot of ways by which you can make your cat happy again.
1. Play with your cat
One of the best ways to cheer up a depressed cat is to play with them. Cats love to play, and it can help them get out of their funk. Get some new toys or make some homemade ones. Try playing games like fetch or hide and seek. Your cat will have a blast and you’ll both feel better afterwards.
2. Give them lots of attention
Cats thrive on attention, so give them plenty of it when they’re feeling down. Pet them, brush them, talk to them… just make sure they know that you care. They’ll appreciate the extra love and attention, and it will help lift their spirits.
3. Feed them their favorite foods
Who doesn’t love a good meal? If your cat is feeling blue, try feeding them their favorite foods. Whether it’s tuna, chicken, or something else, they’ll be sure to enjoy it and feel better in no time.
4. Take them for a walk
Cats love to explore, so take them for a walk around the block or in the park. They’ll love getting fresh air and seeing new things. Just be sure to keep them on a leash so they don’t run off!
5. Give them a comfy place to sleep
Cats love nothing more than a cozy spot to sleep. If your cat is depressed, make sure they have a comfortable place to rest. This could be a sunny spot in the house, a cozy bed, or even your lap. They’ll appreciate it and feel much better in no time.
There’s nothing like coming home to a happy cat. And you can be the one to make them happy. Just by being there for them, spending time with them, and showing them love, you can bring joy into their lives. So next time you’re feeling down, remember that your cat needs you… and there’s nothing more rewarding than making your furry friend happy.