Depression is unfortunately not only a human thing. Our beloved cats can also feel this way from time to time throughout their lives . Sadness, apathy, loss of appetite and weight are just some of the symptoms that will appear, and they will need a lot of help from us to recover.
But what are the causes of depression in cats? For years they have repeated ad nauseam that they are independent, which we are now beginning to see is not entirely true. So how can we know the origin of your discomfort?
Cats can be depressed for a variety of causes, the most common of which are:
Illness and / or old age
If they are very sick and cannot move, or if they are very old they may have depression. Feeling weak can take away their desire to eat and, if that happens, they will spend the day in bed . If the situation worsens, that is, if the disease worsens or if the wear and tear caused by old age becomes important, the cats may stop grooming themselves.
What to do? First of all, take them to the vet so that if they have any health problems, they can be treated. Once at home we must have them in a room where there is a comfortable temperature, comfortable cat beds placed on the floor so that they do not have to jump , drinkers with fresh and clean water, feeders with high quality food and litter boxes that should to be located as far away from the food as possible.
In addition, it is very important that we take care of cleaning them every day , passing them a carding brush to remove dead hair and cleaning their eyes with a clean gauze moistened with chamomile infusion (using one for each eye). Likewise, if we see that they begin to be dirty, we can clean them with wet wipes for animals (do not use for human babies as they irritate the skin of felines).
If they don’t eat, we can give them homemade chicken broth (boneless), or cans of wet cat food , which smell much more than dry food, which will serve to whet their appetite.
Arrival of a new member of the family
The cats are very territorial animals . Every day they dedicate a good part of their time to leaving their pheromones on the furniture, on their beds, on us… When the family increases, especially if that new member is a four-legged animal, they usually feel threatened.
What to do? It is best to introduce them little by little . If it is a new cat or dog, we will keep it in a room with food, water, a litter box and toys. On the bed, we will put a blanket or towel, and we will do the same with the beds of our »old» cats. Over 4-5 days, we will exchange these blankets or towels. This way they will get used to the smell of others.
After that time, we will let the new member see the “old” cats one by one , ideally from behind a baby barrier. If all goes well, that is, if there are no attempts at aggression and the cats, despite their snorts, show curiosity, we can remove the barrier. If not, we will take the new furry back to the room and try again the next day .
What if it’s a human baby? We will let them come closer . If they are well cared for and have all their shots, the baby will not be in any danger. Of course, we never have to leave them alone.
And of course, as responsible caregivers we have to pay equal attention to everyone of them so that none of them feel depressed.
We are what we eat. This also applies to cats. These carnivorous animals, if they are not fed a high quality food, can have low spirits . To avoid this, it is highly advisable to give them feed that does not contain cereals or by-products, since although they are more expensive than those of the supermarket (the kilo comes out for 4-5 euros), the benefits are many and very varied:
- White, healthy and strong teeth
- Good growth and development
- Shiny hair
- Increased energy
- Improved mood
And we also save, because by having more animal protein content, they will not need to eat a lot to be satisfied.
Loss of a loved one
If they had a close relationship with a person, dog, cat or other furry, they can have a hard time for several weeks or months, and even years . I’ll tell you something: one of my cats stopped showing up at home. His sister, Keisha, was sitting in a corner for the first day. I wasn’t going to look for him, which surprised me because they were very close. She wasn’t wearing a necklace with an identification tag at the time, so I decided to put it on to avoid losing her too.
He behaved in a very exaggerated manner. He shook his head from side to side, tried to scratch me… well. It was quite difficult to put it on, although it was not the first time he had put one on. That’s when I realized that, perhaps, his brother had been captured with a stick of those lengths that have a rope at one end. It could be. That year in the town a company was dedicated to picking up the cats that were in the street.
Still, I went looking for it. I missed him so much… For months both Keisha and I had a hard time. She barely ate , she didn’t move. He spent the day in bed or on the couch . He had no interest in the game until after his long 3-4 months . But it wasn’t until Benji’s arrival two years later that he regained his spirits. Only then did she return to being the playful and mischievous cat she had always been.
Therefore, if your cats have lost a loved one, the best thing you can do is continue with the routine. If they don’t feel like playing, don’t force them, but don’t let them go without food for more than two days . Little by little they will recover their spirits.
Lack of stimuli
There is nothing sadder than seeing bored cats, having nothing to do all day. Although they can spend several days at home with food and water, the truth is that their mood will not be as good as we would expect. Why? Because they are not as independent as they want us to believe.
Cats constantly ask their caregivers for attention , and if they don’t listen to them, they don’t interact with furry ones, what will happen is that they will live with depressed cats.
What to do? Spend quality time with them . It is not enough to be with them in the same room. To make them happy, it is important to play with them, let them snuggle up next to us while we watch TV or read a book (or while we sleep 😉), surprise them from time to time with a new toy that we will use that same day or with cans wet cat food. Only then can we enjoy an excellent human-feline relationship.
A change of home is usually a source of joy for the human family, but for cats … Not so much for cats. They feel very attached to their home , and a move causes them a lot, a lot of stress.
What to do? Before taking the animals to their new home, it is highly recommended that we keep them in a room with everything they need (food, water, beds, sandboxes and toys) until we finish taking all the things .
If we are in a hurry, such as when we go to another country or city and want to leave the »old» home empty as soon as possible, we can take your things and put them in a room in the new house, and keep them there until the move is complete.