Depression is more than just the feeling of sadness. It is a serious condition that needs to be immediately taken care of and one nobody should overlook. Unfortunately, what most people do not know is our beloved feline friends can suffer from it as well. And just like humans, cat depression should be treated as soon as possible because if it worsens, their prior activities and behaviours may lead to death.
Whilst they may be able to tell if their owners are feeling down, cat parents, on the other hand, still struggle to find out if their cats are being themselves or are actually going through the blues. So how do you recognise depression in cats? What are the possible symptoms? And most importantly, how can you cheer up your depressed cat? All that and more, so read on to find out.
Symptoms of Cat Depression
Here are the possible symptoms of depression. However, keep in mind that this may also be a sign of another health concern or medical problem. If you notice one or a couple of signs exhibited by your cat, it is best to get her professionally checked.
- Lethargy or changes in personality
- Aggressive behaviour such as scratching, biting, or hissing
- Not eating or overeating
- Undergrooming or overgrooming
- Excessive amount of sleep
- Hiding, crouching, or avoiding affection
- Vocalisation such as meowing or crying more than usual
- Litter tray issues
- Not enjoying the same things he or she used to like
- Withdrawn behaviour
Possible Causes of Depression in Cats
The following are the potential reasons that may trigger depression in cats. Cats are perceptive beings, thus they are easily affected by the events in their surroundings, may it be leading to positive reactions or negative ones.
- Loss of an owner
- Left alone for too long
- Family-related issues, such as divorce
- Losing another pet companion
- Arrival of a new pet or introducing a new family member
- Not enough or loss of daylight hours, especially during the winter
- Changes to its routines or daily activities
What You Can Do to Help
This should not even be an option; this should be an instinct. The first person you have to report to when you notice an unsettling change in your cat’s behaviour should be the vet. A cat’s anxious nature can be easily misdiagnosed, The symptoms of cat depression can be symptoms of other medical problems as well. Fortunately, veterinarians will be able to conduct check-ups and examinations professionally to rule out the possible causes of your concern, provide an accurate diagnosis, and give proper medication.
For the same reason they love climbing up your shelves, cats love looking out the windows. If loss of daylight triggered your cat’s depression, it is best to provide your sad cat with a window perch or space for them to have a good view of the outside. Cats fancy windows because they can enjoy light, the sight of the events outside, the weather, the birds, and the rodents, and they may even just like to hang around the curtains or the blinds.
Involve them in stimulating activities such as scheduling a regular exercise and playing more with them. Buy them toys, scratching post, or just about anything that will keep them active. An active lifestyle will stray them away from boredom and loneliness, which may lead to depression. Getting them at least thirty minutes of physical activity every day will surely make a difference.
Catnips are naturally alluring to cats. After smelling catnip, cats will almost react immediately by demonstrating so much playfulness and energy. This is a good way for your cat to be active. However, do use this with caution. Too much catnip may make your cat overly excited and aggressive.
Medication is a good option if the depression is a result of a chemical issue. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you through the procedure in dealing with cats and medicine. Just make sure that you are well aware of the possible side effects of the medication by conversing with the veterinarian.
The best way to prevent your cat from getting depressed is by providing her with a stress-free environment. Schedule your cat for a regular visit to the vet for a routine check-up to avoid any medical issue and to make sure that your cat is healthy. Remember, a healthy cat is a happy cat!
Know more about preventive measures prior to different cat health concerns here!