Tuesday, June 18, 2024

How To Tell If A Cat Is Depressed

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What To Do To Help Your Feline Friend

How to Tell if a Cat Is Depressed

You need to stick with a routine for your cat to feel comfortable and confident. Also, providing your cat a stress-free home its a good start. You need to focus on the following elements if you want your cat to be happy and loving again:

Play With Your Cat

If you stopped playing with your feline friend for any reason you need to start spending time with your kitty again and play with it every day.

Your feline friend needs desperately to play every day, your cat has lots of energy that should be spent hunting outdoors but as he cant do that, he needs to do it by playing.

Play with your feline friend at least 15 minutes every day. Your cat will really appreciate this playtime and he will feel so good being a cat. The importance of playing with cats is usually underestimated and this is not fair to our feline friends.

Spoil Your Cat

You can relax your cat by doing a massage to its body . Brushing and grooming your kitty also its a very good idea. Cats, as people, have a sense of relaxation and pleasure through things like this. Do it with your cat and you will see amazing results.

Provide A Stimulating Environment

If you are out of your home for most of the day you can make it easier for your cat to be alone. Your cat needs to have a window to look outside, this is very important. Contemplating the wildlife outside keeps cats visually connected with the outside world.

Cat Tree Or Perches

Adapting Your Cat To The New Member Of The Household

Encourage Your Cat To Play

Sometimes the signs of cat depression can be a manifestation of boredom, says Neely. If you engage cats in enriching play theyll be healthier and happier.

Imagine how cats hunt in the wild for their prey. They stalk, pounce, climb, leap into the air, all the while using their keen senses of vision, smell, and hearing, she says. Allowing them to imitate these behaviors indoors will help keep them entertained and happy.

Give your cat toys they can play with by themselves as well as toys you can use together. Electronic cat toys that move on their own and/or mirror the appearance of prey are all great tools for engaging your cat.

Laser lights, such as the Ethical Pet Laser Exerciser, are also fun, says Morgan, but be sure to give your pet something to catch. Chasing a light constantly with no reward can make a sad cat even more frustrated.

Change In Food Or Litter Might Cause Cat Depression

Cats are creatures of habit, and that should be taken into consideration when making changes to their daily routines. This includes litter and food, and not only the brands or types but their locations in your home. With both food and litter, gradual changes are best and give kitty time to adjust.

As far as litter boxes go, its a good idea to keep the old one in the original location while your cat gets used to the new one. If youre not willing or able to provide a temporary box, then move the box toward the new location a little bit every day until it reaches the new spot.

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Changes In Physical Health

If an active cat starts to develop arthritis and can no longer jump up to their comfy spot on the couch, bed, or window, it can be depressing and lead to a loss of enrichment. As a result, your cat can become depressed.

In situations when a cat experiences a sudden loss of a limb or an eye, or they start losing their sight, that would totally affect how they navigate in the world. Some cats may adjust really well, but an older cat may take longer to adjust and may become depressed.

Introduce New Toys And Games

3 Ways to Tell if Your Cat Is Depressed

You can also try to spark your cats interest in life again by engaging your cat in more activities or offering them new toys of different sizes, textures, and colors.

Actively participate in playing, using fishing poletype toys to entice your cat. You can also offer puzzle toys to encourage your cat to work for tasty treats, or provide toys that move around the floor in unusual patterns or make interesting noises. Download games made for cats to your mobile devices to engage your cat or subscribe to cat TV.

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Signs Your Cat Is Depressed

Its human to feel down, blue or even depressed sometimes. Believe it or not, your cat can feel this way, too. Behaviorists first recognized depression in cats in the 1990s.

Cat depression is an abnormal behavior in which the cat shows a change in activity, change in vocalization and usually a decrease in appetite, says veterinary behaviorist Katherine Houpt, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, N.Y. Depression in cats is not very common, or at least it isnt recognized as a quiet, less active cat doesnt bother the owner.

Cats can become depressed after a major disruption in their lives, such as moving, adding or losing a family member, or having their owners schedule change. The most common cause of depression in cats is the loss of a friend.

Read on to find out if your cat may be dealing with depression, and what you can do to help your sad cat.

Turning Your Furniture Into A Scratching Post

If your cat isnt normally a destroyer of furniture but has recently started shredding your drapes, your kitty could be stressed out, which may look like depression to worried human owners, says animal communication expert Karen Miura. She also recommends using a cat pheromone diffuser or spray to calm down your pet naturally. Learn why cats knead soft surfaces.

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Warning Signs That Your Cat Is Depressed

Since most of these symptoms can also be signs of other underlying health problems, a visit with your veterinarian is recommended if you notice any of them. Ruling out another health problem and creating a plan for helping your cat cope with stress is the key to getting her health and happiness back on track.

Image Source: Holly Zade via Flickr.com

#1 LethargyCats are famous for their unwavering dedication to sleep, but an emotionally and physically healthy cat also enjoys occasional spurts of activity. A cat who is feeling well will want to stretch, play, explore, and hunt. Depression may be a factor if your cat is sleeping more than normal and uninterested in the things that normally excite her.

Image Source: Sachet Dube via Flickr.com

#2 Lack of AppetiteA healthy cat will also have a healthy appetite. Mealtime is the most exciting time of the day for most cats. In fact, many cats get so excited about mealtime that they circle around our legs as soon as the can lid pops, as if they havent eaten in years. Depressed cats, however, often lack appetites and excitement about food even when you break out the smelliest varieties.

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Aggression Directed At Other Pets Or Humans

How to tell if a Cat is Depressed

A depressed cat may become more aggressive. Even the sweetest, most lovable cats may start acting aggressively if they are suffering from depression. It isnt uncommon for depressed cats to want to be alone, biting, hissing, or growling at anyone who dares to invade their personal space. If your cat exhibits this type of behavior, it is important to take them to a veterinarian who can figure out if your cats sudden change in behavior is a result of depression or some other medical condition.

Litterbox problems sometimes indicate depression in cats.


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Emergency Situations And Your Cat

Certain situations may be considered urgent. You shouldn’t wait for an appointment at your vet when your cat is experiencing an emergency. Keep information about after-hours veterinarians handy in case you need to rush to one. If you see the signs of an emergency, do not delay. Go to the closest open veterinarian immediately.

  • Trauma
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Gums that are blue, white, or very pale
  • Collapse, unconsciousness, or unresponsiveness
  • Exposure to a poisonous substance
  • Severe pain
  • Body temperature over 104 or under 99
  • Hasn’t eaten properly in 24 hours

If you notice anything else your cat does that worries you, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can call your vet or the emergency vet if you need help deciding if something is an emergency.

How Do You Help Your Depressed Cat To Feel Better

Katherine Houpt, VMD, PhD, DACVB is an emeritus veterinary behaviorist at Cornell University. She emphasizes that you must be patient. Enrichment and attention are key to help your cat. Consider some of these ideas to help improve your cat’s mood:

  • Offer your cat special treats to entice her to eat
  • Try out some new interactive toys and games to stimulate her brain
  • Move a window seat to a new location so she gets a new view
  • Add on a catio to your home if you can

The goal is to keep your cat active!

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What Are Signs Of Cognitive Decline In Older Cats

Confusion and Disorientation Disorientation is often the first sign that pet parents recognize as cognitive decline in their older cats. Its estimated that disorientation occurs in at least 40% of cats aged 17 years and older. Disorientation may be reduced by increasing the predictability of your cats environment and schedule.

Signs That Your Cat Is Sick

3 Ways to Tell if Your Cat Is Depressed

Jenna Stregowski, RVT has worked in veterinary medicine for more than two decades. Her veterinary experience ranges from routine wellness care and preventive medicine to emergency and specialty care, where she has performed duties ranging from specialized nursing to clinical administration. Jenna has been writing about pet care for over 10 years, including for publications like DVM 360 and DogTime.

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Illustration: The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

Could your cat be sick? It may be difficult to know if subtle changes in your cat indicate a health problem. Cats are experts at hiding illness. In the wild, this instinct can protect them from predators or other cats that might be a threat. Today’s house cat has the same tendency to avoid vulnerability, even if the only potential threat is a housemate. Even cats in single-pet homes tend to have the instinct to self-protect.

There is another reason why cats and many other animals are less likely to show pain or illness: they simply do not have an emotional relationship with their discomfort. Animals tend to accept the pain or illness as the new normal and move on. It may not be until they are extremely ill that their sickness becomes obvious to humans.

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Signs Of Depression In Cats

Classic signs of depression in cats include:

  • Lack of interest in activities that they previously enjoyed
  • Failure to groom properly
  • Reactivity when other pets or people try to interact with them

These symptoms of depression also mimic a number of other health problems, so your first step should be a visit to the veterinarian to rule out any physical illness. It is unlikely that a cat would become severely ill or die from depression alone, but cats can develop hepatic lipidosis from not eating, which can be fatal.

Possible Causes Of Feline Depression

Cats really feel the loss of a family member and they experience separation anxiety that leads to depression for quite a long time. The more attached the cat to the person who leaves home or passes away, the longer the cats depression lasts. Cats are creatures that connect with humans at home so when they experience a loss of a member, they feel a change in their environment that they cant process or understand.

If You Have Moved Recently

If you moved to another house or apartment your cat will have a hard time adjusting to this new environment. Cats are territorial animals and moving to a new home is like you waking up one day in a foreign country without money and not speaking the language. So its really traumatic for a cat to change the physical space they have been living because it means the absolute lack of confidence and domination of its territory, its all new. Fortunately, there are efficient ways how to relax your cat when you move to a new home.

New Pet Or Human

If you add a new pet to your home, lets say a dog or a new kitty, your cat may or may not accept this new member. If the new member is another cat and it doesnt get along with your kitty, one or both cats will start fighting or showing depressive type symptoms.

The same could happen with a new dog or any new pet that will be part of the household. But not only a new pet can cause your cat depression if a new human is added to the family, this also can create behavioral problems in your cat.

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Sign : Loss Of Appetite

If your cat is feeling unhappy, eating less food is common. However, if your cat stops eating for several days, or if they stop drinking water for longer than 12 to 24 hours, see a vet as soon as possible either behavior could indicate a serious health issue.

What to Do Every cat is a creature of habit. A lot of the time, a change to your cats routine may be causing their loss of appetite. Backtrack through your cats routines over the last 24 hours and try to identify what has changed significantly. It could be obvious, like a dirty food bowl thats normally clean, or more subtle, like a chair that isnt in its usual spot or a favorite toy trapped under a piece of furniture.

What Changes In Sociability Or Energy Level Would Indicate That My Cat Might Be Sick

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

Sick cats usually become withdrawn and may hide, although this does depend on the personality of the individual cat. Some cats become more clingy or demanding of attention, while others just become cranky.

As a general rule, cats that are sick will have lower energy levels. The only thing you may notice is that your cat sleeps more, does not play as much, or is restless. With some diseases, especially hyperthyroidism, your cats energy level may actually seem to increase to the point of hyperactivity. Cats with hyperthyroidism often are restless at night and may suddenly begin howling or waking family members up.

“As a general rule, cats that are sick will have lower energy levels.”

Cats with arthritis or other joint problems may have difficulty moving around and may no longer jump up on furniture or counters, or may change the way they jump onto higher surfaces. If your cat suddenly is unable to use its back legs, she should be seen by your veterinarian immediately.

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Suggestions For Helping Your Cat Overcome Stress And Anxiety:

  • Try to keep their routine similar when possible
  • Avoid relocating things in their environment
  • Provide safe havens to retreat to, this can be a cardboard box on its side. Include some familiar bedding, a toy and maybe some treats
  • Provide height as cats love to be able to climb and enjoy observing from a shelf with a good vantage point
  • Provide a litter tray away from food and water bowls
  • Food and water should be served away from each other
  • Make time to play create interactive sessions for you and your cat. Initiate chase with balls of scrunched up paper, or catch using dried leaves.
  • Grooming – most cats love to be groomed and enjoy being combed and brushed as this increases their feeling of wellbeing and is a nice bonding moment for pet and owner
  • Hide and Seek – try hiding dry food kibbles around the home, or in a puzzle feeder, this is a great way of providing mental stimulation and physical exercise. Synthetic pheromones that mimic pheromones given off by the mother cat to make their kittens feel safe and secure are available from your vet and may help a stressed cat to relax
  • If your cat is part of a multi-cat household, it may help to reduce competition between the cats. This can be done by providing multiple feeding and drinking stations, extra litter trays, lots of hiding places and plenty of toys If you have any concerns and need more advice, your veterinary practice staff or pet behaviourists are available to help.

Final Thoughts Is My Cat Depressed

People usually seek pets for emotional support, but who helps our pets when they feel depressed? Knowing the signs of depression in your kitty, as well as knowing ways to cheer them up, can ensure your cat stays happy!

If you are interested in using CBD to boost your cats overall wellness check out the Healthy Petables selection for CBD cat products!

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Causes Of Feline Depression

Cats can become depressed when they are feeling upset, anxious or fearful about something in their environment, such as major changes in the household, an addition of a baby, adopting new pets or workers in the home.

Almost anything could cause depression in cats, but some of the most common causes of a sad cat include:

  • Health problems
  • Bored or understimulated
  • Change in schedule/owner not home as much
  • Ways to Help Cats with Depression

If your cat is acting down in the dumps, the very first thing to do is to bring him to the vet for a complete physical examination. If your cat gets a clean bill of health from the vet, its time to think about other reasons your cat might be experiencing stress, and as a result, signs of depression.

Some stressful things, like construction workers in the house, are transient. If your cat is upset about something in his environment thats only temporary, do your best to help your cat find some peace and quiet, perhaps in a back room with soothing music playing to drown out sounds from the rest of the house.

If new humans or pets have recently joined the family, time is often all it takes for most cats to adjust to the new dynamic. You can help by using cat appeasing pheromones like Feliway, which are available as sprays, collars or plug-in diffusers, can help to calm cats. Giving all pets their own space, feeding separately and keeping enough litter boxes in the house , can also help.

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