Is Your Cat Depressed? Signs and Causes of Cat Depression

Cats are well known for their complicated, unpredictable personalities. Some are anxious, others are playful and inquisitive; all have rich emotional lives. But what does it mean if your cat is acting depressed? Can cats even suffer from depression? Absolutely.

Cats are sensitive creatures, tuned into the many ways their environments shift and change around them. What might seem small to you – a family member moving away or a new apartment, for example – can bring about high levels of stress in your pet, leading them to exhibit emotions that read a lot like depression.

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A sad cat will behave differently than they usually do. If your cat no longer greets you at the door, purrs while wrapping around your legs or races to the kitchen at the sound of a cat food can opening, you may want to contact your vet.

Here are a few additional signs your cat might be depressed:

  • Lethargy – A sleepy kitty is normal. A typically playful, social cat becoming disinterested and antisocial is not.
  • Lack of appetite – A healthy cat will eat like a healthy cat (full, regular meals) and get excited about dinnertime. A depressed cat will be apathetic about the idea.
  • Change in grooming habits – Some depressed cats will stop grooming entirely, while others will overdo it, creating irritation and even bald patches.
  • Avoiding affection - If your normally lovey kitty becomes withdrawn and starts avoiding you and other people, they may be depressed.
  • Aggression - Edginess and irritability is often a sign of depression in cats. Even the sweetest of pets can become uneasy, hissing and growling where they otherwise wouldn’t.

Cute gray british shorthair cat is looking through window.

If you see any of these emotional symptoms arising in your pet, ask yourself: what’s changed? Have my cat’s circumstances shifted in such a way that they might feel sad or out of place? Typically, depression in cats occurs when they experience something out of their control.

Here are some events that may trigger depression:

  • Loss of an owner (either deceased or moved away)
  • A new baby in the house
  • Construction going on in the home
  • Stray cats in the yard or neighborhood
  • Any sort of family disruption (conflict, divorce)
  • Arrival of a new pet
  • Loss of an old pet
  • Moving to a new place

Cats don’t like uncertainty. If their world has recently turned upside down in some way, the best thing you can do is restore calm predictability. Make an effort to adhere to a schedule, spend one-on-one time with your pet, reward positive behavior and encourage them often. You’ll find the light at the end of the tunnel together.

59 comments

Mia B
Marta B24 days ago

tyfs

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Daniel N
John Nabout a month ago

thanks

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Sarah A
Past Member about a month ago

Thanks

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Vincent T
William Tabout a month ago

thank you

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Clare O
Clare O'Bearaabout a month ago

cats need company and attention and affection

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Clare O
Clare O'Bearaabout a month ago

th

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Clare O
Clare O'Bearaabout a month ago

ok

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitneyabout a month ago

Grst u=info Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitneyabout a month ago

Intetesting Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitneyabout a month ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

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