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Depression in cats

Just like humans, cats can suffer from mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression. Each cat has its own personality, meaning the signs of cat depression can be quite difficult to spot depending on their normal behaviour.

It’s important to be able to recognise changes in your cat’s mood so that you’re able to provide them with the support and care they need.

Here are some of the signs of depressions in cats and how you can help them.

Why do cats get depressed?

Depression in cats can be a temporary response to a change or sudden disruption to their daily routine. Events that your cat would class as stressful can trigger a prolonged sadness. Here are some things that could cause depression in your cat:

  • The arrival of a new pet or baby
  • Loss of an owner or family member
  • Stray cats on their property
  • Changes to family life e.g. divorce
  • Family members going on holiday
  • Building work in the home
  • Changes to layouts of rooms
  • Moving home

While some cats can become unsettled because of disruption to their lives, the behaviour they might exhibit could be caused by an underlying health condition or injury so it’s important not to ignore any changes in your cat.

Signs of depression in cats

Here are some of the signs of possible depression in cats:

  • Changes in vocalisation
  • Lack of grooming
  • Withdrawal or uninterested
  • Increased sleeping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Loss of interest
  • Aggression or fear
  • Changes in bathroom habits

Always check with your vet if you recognise any of these symptoms in your cat so that you can eliminate any possible underlying health conditions.

How can I help my depressed cat?

Setting a routine, providing some entertainment, and medication can all help improve the way your cat might be feeling. If you have been able to identify the reason for your cat’s behaviour, you might be able to eliminate the cause.

If you’re able to keep their home environment stress-free and keep to their usual routine as closely as possible, this can help them stay calm and comfortable without triggering a change in their happiness.

Providing plenty of mental stimulation can help keep them active and occupied, helping to ease any frustrations and preventing boredom.

Spending some quality time with your cat can help reassure them and ease any anxieties they might be feeling.

If your cat is one of a multi-pet household, competition can also cause stress in cats so try to make sure there are enough bowls, litter trays, beds and toys for all.

Your vet might prescribe medication to help manage your cat’s depression, depending on the severity of their symptoms.

However your cat might be feeling don’t ignore changes in their behaviour, however small, as they might be a sign that something’s not quite right with your feline friend.

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