101 on Feline Depression

By Valdette Muller| January 3, 2017 | Blog

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A cat that is lonely, bored, ignored or ill may become depressed. Continued depression without treatment may compromise your cat’s immune system which may lead to other health problems. When depression is mild sometimes just a little extra attention is all that is needed, but more severe cases may need more intense intervention. Cats that experience extended periods of depression may need medication.

The many symptoms of feline depression such as lack of appetite, unusual toilet behaviour and lethargy can also be caused by a number of medical conditions.  If your cat starts displaying any unusual behaviour it’s best to take him or her to the vet for a check up to rule out any medical causes.

Cats do sleep a lot but depressed ones sleep even more than usual. If you notice less activity and more sleeping time, depression could be the cause. Cats that are unhappy often have low energy levels.

A change in appetite is another indicator of stress or unhappiness. Cats suffering from depression will eat less and lose weight. Monitor your cats eating habits and check for any weight loss.

Depressed cats often become aggressive and irritable. If your cat hisses, growls, attacks and displays behaviour out of character with you or other pets, depression may be the cause.

A cat that is depressed may stop grooming its coat. Obsessive licking and hair pulling is a common symptom of anxiety or depression.

When a well behaved cat starts having toilet issues and accidents all over the house something is wrong. Cats sometimes will act out their anxiety by spraying the home to mark their territory.

Other symptoms include withdrawn behaviour and hiding away more often than usual. Some depressed cats become very vocal, howling and meowing excessively.

If depression is mild, there are a number of things you can do that can lift your cat’s spirit. Firstly expose your cat to sunshine, as sunlight helps improve mood. If possible, provide a cat tree in a sunny spot in the home.

Give your cat new toys to play with. Purchase toys that are on strings or ones that are battery operated. This will encourage exercise and will help to alleviate depression.

Play soft soothing music, classical music has been known to reduce negative emotions.

Consider getting another cat, sometimes a new companion and playmate will help to get a cat out of their depressed state.

A cat may get depressed for any number of reasons, such as the passing of another pet or owner or moving to a new house. Whatever the reason consult your vet for the best possible solution.

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