Can cats really get depressed? It might seem ridiculous that an animal could get depressed but the facts prove it’s true. Just like humans, cats can become depressed for a number of reasons and what might work to help one cat might not work for another. Learning to identify the symptoms of depression is the first step in helping your cat recover and get back to chasing that red dot!
How To Recognize The Symptoms
How do you know your cat is depressed? It’s not like you can ask him if he’s feeling depressed. The most common reasons for cats to experience depression include:
- Major changes in their routines: this includes the death of a family member (quadrupedal or bipedal)
- Loneliness: everyone can experience loneliness, this isn’t only limited to humans.
- Change in their environment
The difference between depression and being sad is that it’s experienced over a prolonged period of time. Just like people, cats experience mood swings and can feel “blah” at times. That being said, if that blahness continues, there might be something more going on. Some signs to look for:
- Lack of grooming
- Change in personality
- Increased sleeping
- Hiding in isolated areas
- Loss of appetite
Keep in mind that all of these symptoms can also be signs of major physical illness. These are important things take note of and if it continues, you need to take action.
So what can you do? Try laying on the love. Give your fur-baby lots of attention. Cuddle him, play with him, just sit and talk to him. Cats, as aloof as they can be, need companionship. See if this helps. Take the time to groom your cat. Depending on how your cat is on catnip, give him some and have play time. Anything that helps reestablish that connection between you two. If you’re not home during the day, keep the blinds and curtains open so that he can go watch the birds and look outside.
There is also the option of getting him a furry companion. There’s also the option of leaving the TV on or even hiring a pet-sitter to come in during the day to keep your baby from getting lonely.
When To Get Help
If all your efforts aren’t working or you start noticing other alarming symptoms (blood in the urine etc), it’s definitely time to take your kitty to the doctor. It’s important to take your cat to the doctor’s to rule out physical causes for the change in his behavior. Once your cat has been diagnosed with depression, there are options that you and your vet can discuss like medication and behavioral modification techniques.
Cats need stability and that is the best thing that you can provide him with. Keep a routine and provide a stress-free environment to keep depression away. Moving around a lot is incredibly stressful on cats and should be avoided at all costs.
Keeping your cat happy and healthy is the job of any fur-parent out there. It’s always a good idea to make regular scheduled appointments with your veterinarian to ensure both physical and emotional health. Never ignore the symptoms and hope it goes away. You are your cat’s only voice.