A depressed cat lying on a rug.

Is Your Cat Depressed?

Though dogs are probably more active and energetic on average, cats are often much more outgoing than their reputation would suggest. Occasionally, however, cat owners notice that they’re pets aren’t quite themselves. Formerly affectionate kitties are suddenly sullen, quiet cats without an interest in their favorite toys, foods, and activities. These behaviors could be signs of feline depression, potentially warranting a vet’s attention.

Signs Your Cat Is Depressed

Cats don’t always make it easy to tell how they’re feeling. Pet parents should watch out for signs like these and keep in mind that they may be subtle and tough to spot.

Your Cat’s Body Language: Signs of Sadness and Stress

Behavioral changes aren’t the only way cats tell owners they’re depressed. Subtle changes to your cat’s body language could reveal underlying depression, anxiety, and stress.

Why Do Cats Get Depressed?

There are a number of reasons your cat may suddenly experience short or long-term bouts of depression.

  1. Illness or injuries: As mentioned above, depression often coincides with other mental and physical conditions. Sudden behavioral changes should always raise concern because underlying causes can range from infections to cancer.
  2. Changes to daily life and routines: Cats can become attached to their typical routines and ways of life. Major changes like the arrival of new cats, dogs, or babies can upset them and lead to depression symptoms.
  3. Grief: The loss of a family member can affect cats too. Don’t be surprised if someone moving out or passing away results in temporary depression for your cat.

Caring for a Depressed Cat at Home

If you notice behavioral changes in your cat, your first step should always involve consulting your vet. That way, you can quickly rule out other serious underlying ailments that could be affecting your cat’s behavior.

At home, these extra pet care steps could be just what your depressed feline needs to feel better: