Depression in Cats: Common Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

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cat depression

My Cat Is Depressed? Aren’t All Cats a Bit Sad, Really?!

Is your cat depressed? It may be tough to tell. They don’t cry, they naturally sleep a lot once they get to a certain age, and acting out is kind of their thing. On another note, normal human behavior and normal cat behavior can be very different, so it is important not to ascribe a human diagnosis to a cat. 

For example, the average cat can sleep 15 hours a day, which in a human would probably be considered a depression red flag. So, does the behavior you’re observing in your cat mean they are depressed? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Here’s why, and what you can do about your cat – possibly being a bit more than sad.

Why Cats Sometimes Seem Depressed

The type of behavior that you may note in your cat that may mimic depression is probably a response to pain. While a cat in pain may cry out, they often express feelings of pain in other ways, such as loss of appetite, by isolating themselves, being less active, or hissing. These are all signs that could easily be interpreted as depression to the layperson, but it is important to understand that your cat may be signaling to you that it is in pain.

Thus, if your cat appears depressed, you should not be Googling “cat psychologist” online. What you should do is take your cat to the veterinarian where he or she can do a battery of tests to determine the cause of the pain that is likely behind the symptoms you are observing.

What If a Healthy Cat Appears Depressed?

If the tests show that your cat is healthy, the explanation for the symptoms you are observing is probably stress. That stress may come as a result of an addition to the household of a new family member or pet, the loss of an old family member or pet, moving to a new home, or some other major change. 

In this way, cats can be quite like humans. Think of the things that are causing you stress (other than financial or romantic issues), and ask yourself if it could be the same thing that is troubling your cat.

If you can identify the sources of stress, do your best to remove them, at least for your cat. Putting the cat in as familiar an environment as possible can help, as can introducing new pets or family members to the cat on a gradual basis, giving them time to get used to the idea.

cat depression

Treating Cat Depression With Medication?

As a method of last resort, there are also anxiety medications and pheromone treatments for anxious cats. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether one of these treatments is merited, and which one you should try.

The most important thing to remember in all of this is that even though your cat may feel like a fellow human sometimes, humans and cats are very different animals. They have different nutritional requirements, different sleep requirements, and different environmental states. 

If you remember this and are sure to remember to treat your cat like a cat, then you have a better chance of getting to the root of their problems faster.

Keeping Your Cat Active to Stave Off Depression

Another possibility when your cat appears to be depressed is that your cat is just bored. If you’re looking for a cat accessory to keep your cat from feeling the blues, it may be time to give SHRU a try. 

In reality, SHRU is more than a toy – it’s a cat companion that responds to your cat with behavior resembling that of a real, small animal, keeping your cat engaged, thinking, and active. To order yours, contact usat PDX Pet Design now.

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