Clinical Signs of Cat Depression

Cat depression can make your pet lose interest in his food, make him lethargic, and make him avoid the company of others. Cats get depressed when they or their owners are stressed or bereaved. You can help your cat cope with symptoms of depression, but first you've got to know what they are. Here's how you can recognize the clinical signs of cat depression.

Depressed Cats Lose Their Appetites

Your cat's appetite may diminish, and he may begin leaving food behind in his dish when once he ate it all. Or, your cat may go off his food entirely, leaving the food for hours or even days. He'll show no interest in eating. He'll even refuse favorite cat treats.

Of course, you should rule out the possibility of some physical problem that might be affecting your cat's appetite. Abscessed teeth, for instance, can make eating so painful that your cat will stop trying to eat.

Depressed Cats Avoid the Company of Humans

One of the classic signs of cat depression is avoidance of human company. Your depressed cat may begin hiding in corners, under furniture and in disused rooms. He might become sullen and quiet.

On the other side of the coin, bereaved cats who have lost a close companion, such as another cat or human, may begin vocalizing much more than normal. They may look around the house as if trying to find their missing friend.

Depressed Cats Become Less Active

Cats sleep a lot, but a cat suffering from depression will sleep even more than usual. His activity level will decrease; he'll lose interest in play and may seem withdrawn.

Depressed Cats Display Abnormal Behavior

There are several other symptoms of cat depression that may or may not appear in all cats. Many cats may cease to groom themselves, and their coats may become dirty and matted. Depressed cats may become more aggressive than normal, hissing, biting, and scratching even when unprovoked. Depressed cats may start spraying or stop using the litter box correctly.

Helping Your Cat Cope with Depression

Cats can become depressed when they experience the loss of a close companion, whether that companion be another animal or a human in their lives. Cats can become depressed when they experience high levels of stress in their lives, such as those experienced by cats at animal shelters. Cats can even become depressed when their owners are experiencing emotional trauma and bereavement. Cats are sensitive to their owners' emotions and sometimes owners can unwittingly transmit their own feelings of pain and sadness to their cats.

If you think that your cat is depressed, don't despair. Talk the matter over with your vet; there may be antidepressant medications available to help your cat recover from the symptoms of depression. Above all, help your depressed cat cope by giving him lots of extra love and attention; try to tempt him with special treats and favorite toys. The thing that cats with depression need the most is to feel loved; be patient and with time your cat can recover from the symptoms of depression.