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How To Know If Your Cat Is Depressed

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Increased Appetite And Overeating

How to Tell if a Cat Is Depressed

On the other hand, some cats may begin overeating as a result of depression. This is rarer than a loss of appetite, but it does happen in some cats. If your cat suddenly begins to act like he is hungry more often or begs for food more frequently, or if you notice he is suddenly overeating in the case of free-fed cats, it may be a sign of depression. You may notice your cat starts to gain weight, especially if he is suddenly less energetic in addition to wanting to eat more. Again, discuss these symptoms with your cats vet to rule out all possible causes of these changes in behavior.

Depressed cats may sleep more than usual.


Ask Yourself: Is My Cat Depressed

Have a think about your cats circumstances and the chances of them developing depression.

One of the many things we love about cats is their independent spirit. Cats choose who they love and receiving their affection is a great honor. This is an example of how cats like to be in control.

Cat behaviorists explain that depression occurs when a pet experiences events beyond their control. This might be moving home, the loss of a companion, or an owner returning to work.

Any stressful event that affects the cat can trigger the blues, including:

  • Arrival of a new pet
  • Loss of an owner
  • Owner going on vacation
  • Building work in the home

Any stress may trigger depression, which also includes a cat not being able to do catty things. A cat unable to climb, hunt, play, or claw can become frustrated and depressed.

Do a quick risk assessment on your cat. Has their life changed recently in an unsettling way?

What Human Food Can Cats With Kidney Disease Eat

Consider introducing your cat to low-phosphorus, fresh dietary foods like watermelon, apples, bananas, green beans, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and blueberries. Avoid high dietary portions of cereal grains or animal products known to include a higher ratio of phosphorus, such as rawhides, jerky treats, and real bones.

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How Do You Know If Your Cat Is Traumatized

Signs of Emotional Trauma in Cats and Dogs Trauma can also manifest as shaking, hiding, urination and/or defecation when the trigger attempts to interact, howling, pacing, excessive vocalization, and panting, says Pia Silvani, director of behavioral rehabilitation at the ASPCAs Behavioral Rehabilitation Center.

Can Cats Get Depressed

Recognizing the Signs of Depression in Cats: How to Know ...

Unlike people who can share their depressive feelings and triggers, cats rely on us to pick up their body language and symptoms. Changes in cat behavior can be caused by numerous things, from a stressful home environment to diseases.

In cats, depression is less of a chemical change in the brains neural circuits and more a symptom of a deeper issue. Finding a cause for depression in cats requires a little investigation by your veterinarian.

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Depression In Cats Is A Real Thing

Recognize your cats normal play behavior and look for changes. If youre out at work, this can be tricky, but not with Petcube.

Petcube is a window into your cats activities. Check what theyre up to, whether thats play or excessive sleeping . Petcube allows you to reassure your pet remotely and watch their reaction. And, best of all, play laser games with your cat to lift their mood.

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How Does A Cat Cope With The Loss Of A Companion

Some cats seem completely unaffected and, indeed, a few may even seem to be positively happy when their housemate disappears. Others may stop eating and lose interest in their surroundings, simply sitting and staring they seem to become depressed. A few cats undergo personality or behavioral changes when a companion is lost.

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Excessive Meowing And Other Vocalizations

If your normally quiet cat suddenly starts meowing or making other sounds more than usual, they might be suffering from depression. Depressed cats often cry, yowl, or hiss in response to mild stimuli. They may also vocalize at random times throughout the day. Your cat may be meowing or making other noises in an effort to communicate that there is something wrong. If your cat is usually talkative, you dont need to worry much about excessive meowing, especially if they are making happy-sounding sounds.

Sudden aggression may be a sign of depression in cats.


Are There Cat Therapists

Q14 – I Think My Cat is Depressed, What Should I Do?

There are people who advertise themselves as cat therapists or psychologists. These folks may be well-meaning, but their titles dont indicate that they have the skills or training necessary to help your cat.

Always consult your veterinarian first who can refer you to an expert such as a veterinarian with advanced training, certified as a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

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Reasons Your Cat Gets Sad

Cats get sad for specific reasons. Your cat may become sad when the expected relationship between you and them is lost. It is important to spend quality time with your cat to keep both of you happy.

The following are other reasons why your cat may become sad:

Loss of a loved one. Just like you, cats grieve at the loss of a loved one. Your cat may have developed a bond with your dog over time, for example. If your dog dies or leaves your home, you may notice the cat looking sad and depressed. This is a temporary behavior, and your cat will recover.

Injury. Your cat may get injured when playing, taking a walk, or just being a cat. If your cat is unable to do things they once enjoyed, sadness may be inevitable.

Illness. A sad cat could also point you toward an underlying condition that your vet should check for. Some of the diseases and infections that can affect the mood of your cat include fatty liver disease, dental disease, upper respiratory disease, ringworm, and cancer.

Changes In The Familys Schedule

When your work schedule changes and youre absent for longer periods of time, your cats mental state may be affected. Also, when you go away on vacation and your cat is either left with a pet sitter or sent to a boarding place, your cat has no way of knowing that you will come back for them, so they may experience depression.

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Wariness Or Fighting Around Resources

Cats are territorial creatures and can often get intimidated by other cats, especially if they share the same house or owner.

the cat seems hesitant to approach cat-doors, food and latrines. When they are in these locations, they may seem very nervous. Hissing and spitting may be seen when other cats approach, he said.

Cats Can Suffer From Mental Illness Too

3 Ways to Tell if Your Cat Is Depressed

Though depression and mental illness are usually thought to be uniquely human problems, other animals including cats can also suffer from this disorder. The brains of humans and cats are remarkably similar, especially the part of the brain that controls emotions. The thinking patterns of cats are very similar to those of humans, partially because of the similarity in neurotransmitters in both species. Because of this, cats can suffer from many of the same mental illnesses as humans. It is important for pet owners to understand the signs and symptoms of depression in cats so that they can get their feline friends the help they need.

Cat’s can suffer from depression, just like humans.


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Remove Stressors And Create Routine

If there is no medical reason for concern, you may need to investigate the environmental factors causing anxiety in your cat. For a sudden household change, do what you can to ease their anxiety until they adjust. Maintain a routine with added toys, snuggles, and treats to make your cat feel like they can overcome their grief.

Some Of The Ways To Minimize Separation Anxiety In Cats Are As Follows:

  • Leave the radio or TV on a station that is often on when youre there
  • Keep arrivals and departures low key
  • Create a nook, safe haven, or refuge for your cat that is their safe space
  • Provide plenty of toys and/or puzzles for playtime while you are gone
  • Channel prey instincts by hiding food in toys that make them work for it
  • Start with shorter absences first
  • Provide a perch or catio so that your cat can see their favorite views
  • Consider a room diffuser or pheromones to provide a calming scent for your cat
  • Remove departure cues put your keys in your pocket a few minutes before leaving)
  • Provide plenty of cuddles and playtime once home
  • For more serious cases, consider having a sitter coming for 1-2 play sessions during absences

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of checking with your veterinarian when you see any change in your cats behavior before you chalk it up to separation anxiety, as early treatment of illnesses is crucial to cat wellness. For example, some cats go outside the litter box when they have urinary tract infections.

In extreme cases, medication may be an option, but your vet will usually leave that as a final alternative. As the ASPCA notes: “Sometimes for cats, veterinarians will advise using pheromones or calming treats before prescribing medication. Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your dog or cat any type of medication or supplement for a behavior problem.”

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Hiding Or Avoiding Affection

Most cats have an innate sense of “stranger danger” and dive under the bed for cover when friends come to visit. But if your cat begins hiding constantly, even during the times they would usually socialize with you , there may be something in their environment that is causing them to be depressed or even stressed.

Are There Any Other Symptoms That Are Abnormal

How to tell if a Cat is Depressed

It is not normal for a healthy cat to have any discharge from the nose, debris in the ears, excessive salivation, bad breath, or unusual odor from other parts of the body.

Vomiting, particularly vomiting of clear foamy fluid or bile-tinged material, is cause for alarm.

Gums, skin, or eyes that are pale may indicate anemia, while a yellow tint may indicate jaundice, and a bluish tint may indicate a lack of oxygen. Delaying treatment for these disorders, even by a few hours, can be fatal.

“If you have any concerns or questions about your cats health, visit or call your veterinarians office.”

Because signs of illness can be very subtle, if your cat does not seem right to you, err on the side of caution and to make an appointment for a veterinary examination as soon as possible. If you make it a habit to give your cat a general once-over on a regular basis, you will have an idea of what is normal and will be more likely to catch minor problems before they become major health issues. If your cat will not eat for more than 24 hours, or if you notice any breathing problems, straining in the litterbox, or abnormalities in eyes, seek immediate veterinary attention. If you have any concerns or questions about your cats health, visit or call your veterinarians office they are your best and most reliable resource to ensure your pets wellbeing and health.

Contributors: Tammy Hunter, DVM Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH

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What Is Depression In Cats

Cats are known for being particularly moody pets, which can make it difficult to tell the difference between a moody cat and one in emotional distress. While depression is something we’re becoming more aware of in people, you might have never thought of it as being something that your cat can have.

Unfortunately, it is a very real possibility that your cat could have depression. Depression in cats can have a variety of causes – like a change in their environment, a lack of attention, or losing a fellow pet.

It’s unlikely that your cat could have chronic depression, where they are in a depressed mood for no apparent reason, though it is possible. Instead, most cases of cat depression have a noticeable cause and are temporary changes in emotion – though they can last for weeks and even months.

What Changes Would I See In Overall Appearance

Cats that are not feeling well may just look a little off. The cat might sit in a hunched position, might not move as gracefully as before, might not lift its head properly, might have a head tilt, or might carry its tail in a different way than normal. Sometimes there is not any one thing that stands out, but instead a variety of subtle changes.

Dehydration is a common problem in cats that are not well. To see if your cat is dehydrated, gently grasp her skin near her shoulder blades, pull it up and away from her body, then let go. The skin should snap back into place right away skin that does not snap back into place, but stays tented up usually indicates dehydration, a condition that needs to be treated right away.

Cats that have some sort of chronic illness may develop slow and subtle weight loss that is only obvious when you actually run your hands along the ribs and spine. Cats that suddenly lose weight, particularly if they were previously overweight, are usually suffering from some sort of metabolic disease such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

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How To Recognize Unhappy Cat Behavior

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Unhappy cat behavior is sometimes obvious. Hissing, fleeing, cowering. But sometimes your cat might give more subtle signs that they are displeased or not feeling well. Understanding cat behavior is a crucial part of cat care. As a pet owner, its important to recognize these signs so you can learn how to know if your cat is depressed or otherwise perturbed. That way you can pick up on these cues and provide the best life possible for your four-legged friend. Read on to learn the telltale signs of an unhappy cat!

While Every Cat Has A Different Personality The General Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Felines Are:

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Depressed
  • Excessive meowing, crying or moaning
  • Eating too fast or not eating at all
  • Excessive self-grooming
  • Elimination outside the litter box
  • Destructive behavior
  • Excitement upon returning from home thats out of the ordinary
  • Vomiting food or hairballs
  • Trying to escape
  • As veterinarians and pet owners, we know that some of these things can be frustrating, particularly the elimination outside the litter box. Many cat owners have gotten the gift of defecation on the bed, in a shoe, or on an item of clothing. Its important to remember that this isnt necessarily a sign of spiteful behavior but can often mean that your cat is looking to mix their scent with yours. Cats believe they are also helping you find your way home. Instincts run deep!

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    Do Cats Have Emotions

    It is difficult to assess what those mournful eyes mean since our feline friends cannot tell us what they are feeling. Even though cats cannot verbalize that they are happy or sad, astute pet owners interpret their pets emotions based on behavior. With these interpretations in mind, it is commonly acknowledged that cats do feel happiness, sadness, possessiveness and fear. They also get angry and nervous. And despite the fact that cats are often aloof, they are social animals that form attachments to two and four-footed family members. And they do indeed mourn.

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    Other Signs Of A Stressed Cat

    You may notice your cat sits differently, their facial expression changes or they exhibit strange behaviours.

    • Often crouching and looking tense indoors
    • Ears rotate backwards frequently or flatten downwards
    • Wide open eyes with very dilated pupils which makes their eyes look black
    • Staring at the floor with a fixed, glazed expression
    • Rapid frequent grooming that usually lasts around five seconds, starting and stopping quite suddenly
    • Frequent head shaking
    • Rippling, twitching skin on their back
    • Exaggerated swallowing and quick flicks of their tongue onto their nose

    Top tip

    One of the best ways to protect your cat against possible stress is to try to anticipate the sorts of things that might cause them stress in the first place . Once you have identified possible sources of stress, you can then manage the situation or environment in a way that helps reduce the chances of your cat suffering.

    How To Help A Depressed Cat

    Q18 – What to Do if My Cat is Feeling Depressed?

    First, you should visit your veterinarian to rule out any underlying illnesses. They can also help determine the best approach to helping your cat, which could include anti-anxiety medication. Other things you can do to help a depressed cat include:

    • Stick to a routine. Cats are not fans of uncertainty, so having steady times for meals, cuddles, and playtime can help them feel more comfortable and relaxed.
    • Play with them. A depressed cat may not be inclined to play, but its worth trying to engage them with a favorite toy or activity.
    • Shower them with love. If your cat isnt seeking you out for attention, go find them. Approach them gently and see if theyll accept a good scratching behind the ears.
    • Enhance their meals. If your cat isnt eating enough, ask your veterinarian for advice on enticing them with added chicken broth or tuna water. These options also add liquid to your cats diet, which can help prevent dehydration.
    • Turn on the tunes. Your cat may enjoy the calming sound of classical music, especially if their depression is coupled with anxiety. Or perhaps something livelier would spark some energy and encourage them to play.

    While you may be able to cheer your cat up, you may not be able to shake them out of their depression completely. They may still need time to process a life change or recover from the event that triggered their sadness. Dont hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian with any concerns.

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