Does my cat have depression? Cats don’t do a whole lot during the time, and this is entirely normal. They may sleep for many hours a day, or look as though they couldn’t possibly be bothered with a ball of yarn. But sometimes, there are signs that your cat is legitimately bored and depressed. Keep these symptoms and tips in mind if you think your cat may be feeling a little down in the dumps.
What Is Depression?
Just like people can start to feel a little less excited about their once favorite things, so can cats. However, there are a few major differences. In humans, a clinical depression is going to have a much stronger impact than depression in cats. It’s not the same emotions or brain chemistry being affected, so it’s generally easier to correct.
Depression in people is usually caused by either a stressful situation, such as, moving to new place, a divorce, or a medical condition that alters the chemical balances in their brain. When it comes to cats, however, owners have to determine what’s happening based on the behavior.
Common Signs Of Cat Depression
Depression can manifest as a lack of appetite, or by extreme inactivity or sleeping. How you as the owner determine this will be based on their old behavior. So if your cat always slept a certain amount of hours a day, then that sets their baseline of behavior. You’re also looking for aggressive behavior that is out of character, such as biting or hissing. Cats may have difficulty sleeping, or refuse to use the litter box. They may start to pull out their own hair or bite certain parts of their skin.
Depression may be a possibility if your cat is exhibiting any of these signs, but it’s also good to get other options ruled out by a vet. Your cat may have a kidney condition, or they may have certain types of cancer which will cause general nausea and decreased appetite. Many times (especially in older cats), they’re experiencing some type of undiagnosed pain. A vet can test your cat’s blood, use x-rays, and even ultrasounds to determine more about their health. From there, different conditions can be ruled out so you can determine if it’s depression that’s making your cat act differently.
What To Do
Cats are definitely very independent creatures, which is often the very reason why they’re favored over dogs. Generally, cats make you work for their love, which means that you can take a certain amount of indifference with a rather large grain of salt. It’s entirely fine if they’re not constantly excited about certain things, but you may want to think about spending more time with your cat if they’re not excited about anything.
Even if they don’t seem all that enthused, they’ll normally start perking back up if you just stay consistent. More play time is good, but you can also consider getting them toys that can be used when you’re not there, or setting up a birdbath in front of your cat’s favorite window.
In the worst of cases, you may want to try medication to treat your cat’s depression. Talk to our staff at Cat Hospital of Tucson today for more options!