Every cat is unique, they each have individual personalities meaning some cats are outgoing while others are more reserved. They can be independent and even aloof at time, but do they ever get sad?
Cats can get sad and depression in cats is real. A key sign that your cat is feeling down or depressed is a change in their behavior, particularly becoming withdrawn and not participating in activities they would normally enjoy.
If you’re worried your cat is sad there are ways you can help lift their mood from developing routines, increasing playtime and reducing competition in multi-pet households.
Cats can be quite sensitive to changes in their home environment, this could be anything from changes in the family such as a new family member arriving to changes in the home such as building work or moving house.
Cats could also seem sad due to illness or injury as these can limit your cat’s ability to do things they enjoy. There are a wide range of stressful events that can trigger a cat to feel sad or depressed, the signs below can help you identify when your cat is feeling low.
Signs of Cat Depression
There are a few key behavioural changes that can indicate your cat is feeling under the weather. The main sign is they are withdrawn compared to their usual selves.
Keep a look out for the following signs:
- Loss of appetite
- Sleeping more than usual
- Lack of grooming
- Withdrawal – including withdrawal from affection
- Altered habits
- Weight loss or gain
- Loss of interest in toys and playing
- Low-pitched yowls
- Increased aggression or fear
These are general signs and they can also be associated with a wide range of medical problems so it is important to take your cat to the vet if you see these signs to first rule out sickness and injury.
What You Can Do to Help
Helping your cat to overcome stress, anxiety and depression can involve lots of small actions. Identifying and eliminating the cause of the stress can help resolve and improve your cat’s symptoms.
Below are the top 4 ways you can help your cat feel better:
- Develop a Routine
As cats are particularly sensitive to changes, try not to make big changes to their day to day routine. Avoid moving her bed/food/litter tray around and make sure the litter tray is away from food and water bowls.
- Provide Safe Spaces
It is important to provide good hiding spots around the house so your cat doesn’t feel exposed with nowhere to hide. A platform that allows your cat to observe the house from a safe vantage point can help increase their feeling of control over the situation and environment too.
- Increase Play Time
Interactive time with your cat can make a difference. Play with their favourite toys, hide toys around the house for them to find or give them a puzzle feeder to provide mental stimulation. If you are out at work during the day, you can try these 5 tricks to keep your cat busy while you’re out.
- Reduce Competition
If you have more than one cat, you can add more feeding areas and litter trays to help reduce competition and stress within the house. You may also need to consider separating cats if they are not getting along.
- Speak to a Vet About Medication
If your cat is experiencing a severe case of stress, anxiety or depression and they are refusing to eat or engage in regular activities then a veterinarian should be consulted. If necessary, a vet can prescribe medication to help reduce the anxiety.
Cats are an important part of our families and lives and we want them to be happy. If you’re still looking for advice, check out these tips to keep your cat happy.