Is your cat depressed? Here are 8 warning signs of depression in cats

Being pet owners, we are responsible for the health and safety of our pets. While there has been a lot of research around the physical wellness of cats, not a lot has been said about their mental wellness. Cats, like humans, can suffer from mental exhaustion, depression, and anxiety. The reasons for these conditions can be illness, injury, pain, or loss of a companion.

Whatever the reasons are, the symptoms are usually the same. As a cat owner, you must know the symptoms of cat depression so you can identify mental illness and seek medical assistance. Let us take a look at some alarming signs of depression in cats.

Changes in Voice

  • Cats communicate by meowing. If your cat is in pain, she may produce low-pitched, mournful yowls. Another sign is that your chatty cat may become unusually quiet and won’t meow as often as before. Changes in the pitch and loudness of the cat’s voice also indicate underlying restlessness. Your cat may start to purr more frequently to comfort herself. If your usually quiet cat becomes loud and vocal all of a sudden, it can be due to mental anguish and anxiety.

Body Language

A depressed cat often displays signs of restlessness through various body positions. For e.g., they hold their ears back, tuck their tails and raise the hair on the body when they are uneasy. Cats send essential messages through their body language, so it is important to interpret them and understand what your cat is communicating.

Display of Aggression or Fear

  • If your cat is sad, it may become more sensitive and respond to different stimuli with aggression or fear. An abnormally aggressive or scared cat is usually not at peace with itself and channels its anxiety by being snappy.

Stranger Anxiety and Clinginess

signs of depression in catsIf your cat is depressed and sad, they may become more clingy and demanding the attention of their owner all the time. Most cats are usually people shy, but their stranger anxiety can become more pronounced if they are depressed. Another sign is that they may lose interest in activities such as playing hide and seek, food hunting, watching TV, or chasing a string, etc., their reclusiveness can be a cry for help.

Changes in Sleeping Routine

  • Most cats love sleeping and would sleep for 12-16 hours a day. However, depressed cats may sleep for even longer periods. They may also change their location where they usually take a nap.

Changes in Appetite

If your cat is mentally disturbed, she may develop a low appetite, lose her interest in food and eat less than usual. Depressed cats may not even respond to their favorite treats.

They May Break The Rules of Housetraining

  • Depressed cats have the tendency to urinate in inappropriate places outside the litter box, even if they are properly housetrained. They do so because they are comforted by the scent of their urine. Mentally disturbed cats can urinate in unusual places such as bedrooms, kitchens, and dining areas.

Excessive Scratching

Cats may relieve their stress and anxiety by excessively scratching nearby objects and their own bodies. The act of scratching gives them mental relief.

  • Listed above are the most common signs of depression in cats. Mental health has a direct impact on the physical health and wellbeing of a cat. For more information on treating depression in cats, contact Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center. We provide a range of veterinary services for pet animals. Call us at 434 971 9800. We are located in Charlottesville, VA.