Feline Depression

Humans aren’t the only ones who can get depressed. Cats are sensitive animals and things like the death of a companion animal or family member, loneliness, a change in environment, or a change in routine can really have an effect on their emotional state. Here’s how to tell if your cat is depressed, and what you can do about it.

How to Tell if Your Cat is Depressed

Cats can get the blahs, just like anyone else. If your cat shows a change in personality, such as a loss of appetite or lack of excitement when you get home, these could be signs of depression. Other things to look for include:

  • Hiding or isolating himself for long periods of time
  • Sleeping a lot more than usual
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of grooming
  • Weight loss

Some of these symptoms could also be indicators of serious health issues, so talk to your vet immediately if you notice a problem. You’ll want to rule out any health conditions before deciding that your cat is merely depressed.

What You Can Do to Help

Once you’ve ruled out any health issues, there are some things you can do to get your cat out of his funk. Lavish your cat with lots of extra attention. Play with him every day by having him chase balls and other toys to get him moving will help him feel better. Spending some time grooming your cat with a soft brush might get him interested in grooming himself again.

If you can’t be home during the day, leave the blinds open and put a bird feeder outside the window to keep him entertained. Maybe even consider getting another cat to keep him company when you’re not home. Leave the TV or radio on for background noise. Maybe even consider having a pet sitter stop by in the middle of the day to give your kitty a little attention, so he’s not lonely.

Your vet may also have some other recommendations. Since you’ve ruled out other illnesses, your vet may be willing to recommend antidepressants to help your cat get through a tough time.

How to Prevent Feline Depression

The best way to prevent feline depression is to keep your cat’s life as stress-free as possible. Offer plenty of attention, provide companionship to prevent loneliness, and prevent boredom by offering entertainment like toys and other stimuli. Keep your cat at his proper weight and provide annual checkups to make sure your cat stays healthy and happy.