If you are wondering, can a cat be depressed? The answer is yes.
Cats are the star of any home they live in, yet sometimes it can be difficult to find out if they are upset inspite of their playful nature. Cats sleep for a huge chunk of the day which makes it challenging to understand your cat’s issues if no particular symptoms are present. However, if you see some changes in your feline baby’s behavior and routine, look out for these signs that tell your cat is depressed.
The most prominent factor that can help you understand your cat’s emotional condition is their body language. You may feel a specific sadness on their face or observe other signs on their body that indicate that they are not happy. Some of the common indications are tucked tail, held back years, and standing hair along with other changes in their gestures.
It is also common for cats to lose their appetite during mental or physical distress. Mostly, you may observe your cat lose interest in their favorite food, eat aggressively, or eat less. A change in appetite is a critical behavioral change that must not be ignored as it may be a result of a physical health condition as well.
We understand that cats purr and meow to comfort themselves, but sometimes they can also help you understand their emotions better. Observing an evident change in your cat’s vocals like meowing shows emotional issues. You may also observe your cat making mournful, low-pitched voices, it could also be a sign of a mentally or physically troubled cat.
Sleeping more than usual is an important symptom of depression in humans. But did you know that cats tend to depict the same kind of behavior in depression?
Yes, cats also show changes in their sleep pattern when they are depressed. It is usual for cats to sleep more than their normal routine when feeling sad.
As already mentioned, cats do not always lose their energy when depressed, but also get hyperactive and aggressive, or express fear. It is possible that your cat might cry when sad, or express their sadness through an abnormally aggressive or scared behavior that does not feel like depression. Every cat shows their mental state in a specific manner, and yours’ might show different than others.
Cats love to be around their parents to show love and affection, yet if you see changes in the frequency of their sticking around you, there could be a problem. Your depressed cat may show less interest in activities that they liked previously. They may also be repulsive to new people that visit your house.
An unhappy or ill cat might be seen scratching itself aggressively or ignoring grooming at all. Sometimes depressed cats are seen to ignore their grooming while others scratch themselves and other things more.
Besides the lack of interest in eating their favorite treats are sleeping more, depressed cats like staying in more than going out. You can observe this change in your cat more prominently if your cat loves to stay out more.
Why Is My Cat Depressed?
If your cat is showing these signs, there are chances that it is depressed and your vet can assure you of the situation. There could be numerous reasons behind your cat’s upset behavior including:
The above-mentioned signs and symptoms may also be an indication of an underlying physical illness that your cat is not able to communicate. Cats face similar issues like loss of appetite and a decrease in the will to go out when they are suffering from a disease like a kidney, liver, respiratory or dental issues.
Another reason behind suppressed activity or aggressive behavior can be old age and relating issues. While cats experience a decline in physical activity when aging, they also sometimes suffer from arthritis making it difficult for them to move.
Your cat might be feeling sad due to nutritional deficiencies in their diet. Feline babies need an adequate amount of carbs, fats, proteins, zinc, and other nutrients in the food they intake to make sure that they do not suffer any dietary problems leading to other issues.
If your cat lives with other animals in the house or interacts with them when going out, there are chances that they might be causing trouble. An annoyed cat may also ultimately slip into depression when they find no other way.
Moving houses adds to the environmental stress and your cat may not feel happy with the change instantly. Cats take time to adapt to the environment and changing houses makes them feel strange. However, it is not something serious as your cat will go back to its routine after a few days.
Loss of a Loved One
Cats are one of the most clingy and attached pets. They are more or less social depending on their experiences and the people they have lived with. Some cats are incredibly close to other pets in the house or family members and feel separation anxiety and grief the same way as us. They feel anxious and may stay quiet for a few days when a family member or a fellow pet leaves the house suddenly.
When to Visit a Vet?
While the above-mentioned signs can help you spot depression in cats, you cannot confirm it until a veterinary doctor confirms. Any of the symptoms could be an expression of some other underlying issues that you may miss. So, if you suspect your fur baby to be depressed, it is best to take them to a vet at the earliest.
The Bottom Line
Depression in cats is difficult to identify, yet you can take the mentioned clues and see if they tick most of the boxes. A cat may express depression in one way or many ways depending on the environment. If your cat is sleeping more, eating less, or shows changes in body language or voice, it is best to get them evaluated for depression or from the vet to help them feel better as depression may lead to broken heart syndrome.