Although cats are considered independent and lonely beings, the truth is that they are more attached to their caregivers than it might seem at first. Discarding physical causes, we must take depression into account.
If you appreciate that your cat has one of the symptoms that we discussed, it is very likely that he is going through a bad mood. we show you everything you need to know to detect this problem.
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Symptoms of depression in cats
Keep in mind that all these signs can be caused by a physical illness . It is therefore important that if we appreciate these changes we go to the vet for a complete check-up, especially if our cat is elderly, very young or already has a diagnosed disease.
We highlight the following:
- Little reaction to stimuli.
- Absence of gambling behavior.
- Decrease in activity.
- Stop eating.
- Do not interact with us.
- Be easily startled.
- Sleep more hours.
- In general, any change in your usual behavior could be due to depression.
Causes of depression in kittens
To find out what is causing the sadness in the cat it is important that we review their living conditions in search of a trigger. The more information we collect, the more we will help the vet discover the cause. The symptoms that we have discussed may be caused by situations such as the following :
- Moving: Cats are usually very sensitive to changes, even if they are very subtle. That is why it is understood that such a great break in your routine as the one that causes a move is a cause of depression.
- Stress : very common in cats, it can be behind a depressive symptomatology. It is difficult to find the cause that produces it because they can be very varied and some are crucial for the cat but they go unnoticed to us.
- Trauma or shock: such as that caused by a serious accident, a run over, a major fight or a fall from a height. The death of a loved one can have the same effect. The cat will go through a more or less marked period of mourning.
- Change of family: an abandoned or adopted cat can go into a depression to the point of refusing to eat and, consequently, die. Unfortunately, it is not an unknown process in animal shelters. The sole caregiver modification, even within the same household, can act as a trigger.
- Arrival of new members: visits can also disrupt the cat’s routine and, much more, if these people, such as a baby, or other animals of the same or different species, become permanent inhabitants.
- Loneliness: a cat that spends hours or even days alone can also manifest depression.
- Situations of aggressiveness: if the cat lives with others and there is one with whom it does not get along, problems such as fights could occur, generating permanent stress.
- Diseases: pathologies could also end up triggering a depressive picture. That is why we insist on the importance of going to the vet even if we think that the disorder is “only” psychological.
- Reprimand them frequently and / or punish them: a bad relationship with us is also going to affect their mental health.
How to mitigate depression
If our cat is depressed it is necessary that we implement measures to encourage it, such as the following:
- Offer interactive toys , skill and intelligence, with which the cat can entertain. These games are manipulated to obtain food, so they are stimulating.
- Increase the family , always after assessing the situation with the opinion of a veterinarian specialized in behavior or an ethologist. There are cases in which providing the cat with company alleviates its sadness. It can be another cat or an animal of a different species.
- Dedicate some time , approximately half an hour a day, to be with him exclusively. We can play if you like or simply caress it or give it a relaxing massage. This strengthens our bond with him and will make him feel better.
- If we have more than one cat, it is important to ensure a good relationship between them to avoid stressful situations. For that we can follow presentation guidelines, if applicable. In addition, all the animals that live together must have enough space and always have as many litter boxes as cats plus one are in the house.
- Prepare any changes in advance , using all the options at our disposal until we find the one that works best for us, such as pheromones, food, sprays, etc.
- Environmental enrichment involves adapting the house for cats . It is about creating an environment where they can develop the same activities that they would have in nature, such as climbing or hiding. We can take advantage of the three dimensions of the home to achieve this, placing shelves along the walls at different heights.
- Access to the outside only in cases where it is safe to avoid being run over, poisoning or accidents. An outdoor space where the cat can sunbathe and touch the ground will favor its well-being.
- Catnip or catnip is also a stimulant for many cats.
- In the most serious cases, the vet may prescribe drugs.