Think humans are the only living creatures that get the blues? Think again, because cats too can suffer from depression.
The problem is cat depression can be challenging to detect. In most instances, owners have no idea why their feline friend is acting sad. Luckily, a little self-learning is all it takes to be able to identify depression in cats, and with a few easy measures, you should be able to make most sad cats happy.
Read on to learn the telltale signs of a depressed feline and what you can do to bring the joy back in their life.
Signs of Depression in Cats
Excess sleep and lethargy
We all know that felines are incredible sleepers. According to Catster, cats can sleep as much as 16 hours straight. However, if your furry friend is sleeping more than usual, she might be depressed or ill.
Depression is one of the leading causes of lethargy – a lack of enthusiasm and energy. If your cat has depression-induced lethargy, you will notice inactivity, drowsiness, and loss of interest in things that a feline would usually enjoy.
Disinterest in grooming
Happy cats pay special attention to their appearance. It’s common to see their fur looking shiny and well-groomed. Sad cats may avoid grooming altogether or groom less effectively. Cats who usually keep their coats smooth may begin to develop knots and dandruff. If your feline suddenly stops grooming and doesn’t have any limitations that could be affecting this, she may be depressed.
Happy felines move their tails in a smooth, wavy motion. Sad or depressed cats do the opposite, issuing sudden, hard strikes with their tails.
If your cat suddenly begins to meow or make other sounds more than usual for her, she could be suffering from depression. Depressed felines often yowl, hiss, or cry in reaction to minor stimuli. Some also vocalize throughout the day. Your furry pal might be making noises in an effort to convey that something is unusual.
Common Reasons Behind Cat Depression
There could be several reasons why your kitty is feeling low, but the most common ones include:
An illness can prevent your cat from being its playful self if it hurts to perform an activity. The cat may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance, hypothyroidism, fatty liver, upper respiratory disorder or dental disease. All of the conditions mentioned above are serious health problems which can affect the happiness of your cat and land her in a spiral of depression and pain.
Injuries, like illnesses, can adversely affect your cat’s ability to perform activities it once liked. In some instances, feline depression is caused by injury-related pain and suffering. Even previous surgeries can produce a lingering pain in the cat’s body, which is something to discuss with your vet.
Separation or death of a loved one
Losing a loved one is hard for humans and animals alike. If a close family member is no longer around, it can become tough for the cat to absorb the aftermath. However, this is a temporary phase of grieving, and she should return to normal.
Time is usually the answer for major changes in the family, but there are also nutritional supplements and remedies like pheromones that can help your feline be joyful in the meantime.
How to Help Your Feline Friend Be Happy and Playful Again
If you suspect your feline is depressed, here are a few simple measures you can take to help her bring back the old version of herself.
Play with her
Play with your cat for at least 15-20 minutes a day. Any game is good as long as you’re both involved in it. You can also try giving her toys she can play with by herself as well as toys you could use together.
Imagine how wild cats hunt for their prey in the open. They leap in the air, stalk, pounce, and more. Playing a game that enables them to imitate some of these behaviors should keep them happy and entertained.
Visit the Vet
As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of despair in cats can mirror those of chronic health conditions, including pancreatitis, diabetes and kidney failure. Your cat’s discomfort could take a toll on her mental and physical health, so it makes good sense to visit the vet to rule out anything life-threatening.
Get in touch with a professional
If the above steps don’t help to get your feline out of the funk, it may be time to seek help from a professional. A board-certified veterinarian may be able to help your cat overcome depression through behavior modification and other treatments, such as homeopathic courses, acupuncture, and trigger-point therapy.
Remember that cat depression doesn’t need to last forever. Talk it over with the vet and make a genuine effort to make your feline feel loved and appreciated. Talking to, grooming, petting and playing with your cat are some of the basic things you can do to help them kickstart their recovery.
You should also ensure that your cat’s diet is full of all of the vitamins and minerals that she needs for optimal well-being. If you think she’s lacking, high-quality cat vitamin supplements can go a long way in supporting mental and physical health.