While our pet’s physical well-being is important, their mental state should not be ignored either. Many animals suffer from stress, anxiety and even depression and there are subtle signs for these illnesses.
Depression in cats may be due to various reasons including:
- Losing a partner or companion pet
- Being away from owners
- Unfamiliar environments
- Medical procedures and surgeries
- Injuries or fights
- Stress due to changed routines
- For female cats, abortions or losing kittens
If your cat seems to be down or upset, it may be suffering from depression. Keeping a track of certain changes is very essential at this stage. Here are some signs to take in notice:
- Reduced grooming;
Cats are recognized as experts at keeping themselves clean; licking themselves is part of their natural behaviour. If your cat seems to be lazing around in terms of grooming, it may be a serious issue. A dirtier coat and tail may also affect their hygiene.
- Increased scratching;
Another behaviour that they may start doing increasingly is scratching to relieve stress or mark their territory.
- Unusual marking behaviour;
Marking territories, and even owners, is normal for cats. However, sad cats may litter outside their litter box due to stress. Additionally, they start spraying/peeing in unusual places such as your bedroom, couches, or place where they still smell the scent of a lost pet or owner because this assists them in spreading their scent and feeling better.
- Disturbed diet;
While having a bad diet may contribute to the cat’s depressive state, if you see it ignoring the treats it usually loves to eat there is surely a problem. A depressed cat may become picky about foods or stop eating at all.
- Changed sleep patterns;
Cats generally sleep a lot throughout the day, so determining their depression through sleeping habits is quite challenging. But iif it is sleeping at hours that it should be awake and active, there is definitely an issue. Similarly, if it is not sleeping at all disturbing you at night it might be sad and demanding attention.
- Mood swings;
Depressed cats may often be more aggressive to owners or other pets when they try to play with them. They are also either more reactive or completely stop responding. They can also act fearful and try to hide.
In depression your cat may lose interest in their favorite:
- Places e.g couches or beds
- And even, companions
(Mother cats may even neglect their kittens.)
BODY LANGUAGE CHANGES
Body language is a useful tool in figuring out a cat’s mood.
- Noticing body parts;
If the cat is feeling down, it may:
- Have its tail low or tucked
- Ears may be held back
- Fur may be standing
- Eyes could be droopy or sad
(If yout cat is limping or reacts with pain when certain areas are touched, it may be injured or sick.)
Meowing is a definitive way in which your cat tries to communicate with you. If it is unhappy, her meows may be low-pitched, dull and sorrowful. Moreover, cats that are usually vocal may become quieter while peaceful cats might become louder to seek attention.
Purring behaviour is usually associated with cats feeling good and comfortable. However, reduced or increased purring can not necessarily point out the cat’s depression. Sometimes, an unhappy cat may purr more to ease itself.
How should you cheer up your cat?
- Stimulation – Keep your cat occupied in order to distract it and also release its frustration. You could set a playing time with it or even get more interactive toys.
- Changing food – Your cat may be depressed because it does not enjoy her food anymore. Changing the cat’s food and treats could make it more enthusiastic.
- Other pets – Depression due to the loss of another pet could be solved by bringing in a new cat. In other cases, the cat might be stressed because there is another cat present so separating your pets temporarily is also useful.
- Making routines – Give them food at the same time, and set times to give them attention and times to leave them on their own.
- Expert advice – If the depression gets worse, you should definitely go to the vet for medication and general checkups. Book an appointment now!