If you have a cat and it doesn't seem to be acting as its usual chipper self but there are no medical problems prevalent, there is a very good chance it is dealing with depression. Cats, like people, can suffer from depression for many reasons. A new baby in the home, a job where you are no longer at home as much, or a move to a new house altogether can all leave your cat feeling sad. If you fear your cat is suffering from depression, there are several steps you can take to cheer them up and get them feeling like their old self again. Here are a few points to consider when dealing with a depressed cat.
Symptoms To Look For
Whenever this is a change within a cat's regular routine, depression can be the result. There are several signs your cat is not feeling up to par. These include
- Change in sleeping pattern
- Hiding or avoiding contact with people in the home
- Poor appetite
- Sudden aggression
- Eliminating outside of the litter box in areas around the home
- Excessive biting, licking or scratching the coat
When a cat is depressed, you will want to go out of your way to make them feel comfortable and wanted instead of ignoring the situation. Talk to your cat often with a soft, reassuring voice. When your pet is hiding, call out their name so they are aware you are looking for them. Pet your cat frequently, as touch can help relieve symptoms of depression.
Use The Senses
Increase the amount of sunlight your cat encounters each day by opening curtains, letting fresh air into the home, or allowing your pet to roam around in a sunroom. Light therapy can boost the mood quickly. Playing some soft, instrumental music in your home can also give a cat positive feelings. Many people use massage to help relieve depression. Softly massage your cat's face in a circular motion with your fingertips. Some cats enjoy having their ears pulled gently as well.
If your pet is depressed because you had recently lost another pet and they had spent a lot of time together, it is best to remove all traces of the deceased pet from your home. Whenever your cat smells traces of the deceased pet, they may become sad. Eliminating items the deceased pet had used such as pet beds, blankets, or toys, will help keep your cat from becoming depressed because they will not be reminded about them.
If your pet is scared of a new pet or person in the home, allow them to stay in a "safe area" where the new person does not frequent. This will allow them the time to get used to the new person without being forced to spend time in the same room with them as they make the transition.
You can also work with an emergency vet or animal hospital to make sure your furry friend is okay.