Cat Depression: What Signs to Look For

Cat Depression: What Signs to Look For

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 02.12.2021

Cat Sadness: What You Can Do 

For us humans, pet ownership can be such a special and uplifting thing! Coming home to a furry friend waiting anxiously to greet you as soon as you step in the door: priceless. 

Studies have suggested that there may be significant health benefits to having a four-legged friend in the house. A furry companion can increase your spark for life, motivation, and may help lessen the symptoms associated with mental health concerns. But what if the roles are switched? What if you think your cat is experiencing depression? 

If you suspect that you’re dealing with a tired, unenergetic, and withdrawn catto, this article may be suitable for you! In today’s article, we’ll be talking about the possible reasons as to why your feline may be depressed as well as a couple of ways you may be able to help your four-legged friend out. 

Let’s jump in!

Can Felines Get Depressed?

Unlike us humans who can verbally share about their depressive or sad feelings and triggers, our cattos can’t really just tell us what’s going on. Our felines rely on us cat parents to pick up on their change in behavior and body language. Changes in their behavior can be caused by a wide variety of things ranging from a stressful move to health concerns to new neighborhood cats outside the window every day. 



In cats, depression isn’t necessarily a chemical change in their brain per se, it can be more of a deeper issue. Pinpointing the cause of depression in cats requires more than a little here and there monitoring, you may need to call your vet for this one. 

Depression in Cats: Common Signs and Symptoms

In a general sense, most cattos live very relaxed and lowkey lives, easily sleeping for 12+ hours a day or night. Their personalities can change in the drop of a hat, in some cases, with aloofness, disinterest, and temperamental behaviors being common in their waking hours. However, sooner rather than later, you may notice changes in their behavior that aren’t necessarily their “normal” changes. These could signal depression. 

Here are some common signs and symptoms of depression in cats to look out for:

  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Inactivity
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Biting
  • Signs of fear
  • Sadness
  • Vocal cues
  • Purring excessively 
  • Lack of grooming
  • Lack of cleanliness
  • Tail tucked 
  • Ears held back
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disinterest in treats or toys

Why Do Cats Get Depressed?

It’s an eerie feeling to think about why or how your cat can be depressed, is there more you can do as a caring feline parent? There is a whole slew of possibilities as to why your cat may become depressed. Here are some common causes listed below. 

1. Poor Diet

Just like us humans, our cats need proper nutrition to keep their mind, body, and soul healthy and active. When it comes to your cat’s diet, they do need their necessary amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to properly function and fuel their body. 

The type and kind of food your feline eats does make a huge difference. Obese or overweight cats that constantly overeat are more susceptible to health issues arising. On the other hand, if your cat is underweight or isn’t really eating, they are also susceptible to health concerns. 

When you begin your cat on a nutritious diet for you, they will surely reap the happy and health benefits. A poor diet, however, can lead them down a road of obesity, disease, infections, and or disorders. Yikes!

2. Pain

Your cat may be showing depression-like symptoms due to being in pain. Distress or discomfort are often shown by excessive licking or grooming, reduced activity, and more. Acute or chronic pain is one of the most common reasons for changes in your cat’s behavior. 



3. Environmental Stressors

Cats can hit a depressive “rock bottom” as a result of a stressful situation or continuing condition. For instance, they can grieve the loss of a loved one (human or animal). They can also have a difficult time when it comes to moving houses, moving furniture around, or having a new housemate in their space. 

Feral cats may also add stress to your feline, especially if your cat frequently sees this kitten around their territory. 

Anything beyond your catto’s control, with sudden alternation, can unknowingly put excess stress and anxiety on your cat. Cats who may experience separation anxiety, for example, have similar signs and symptoms as cats with depression. 

4. Aging Process

Your cat isn’t really depressed because of how old they are, they most likely don’t even know. Unfortunately, when life continues to happen, sudden aches and pains come out of the woodworks too. Your cat may start to forget or resist their daily grooming routine due to sore muscles or joints, they may sleep more, and their wellness and health may decline. You may see their old age as a sign of depression, which may only be a sliver of the underlying issue. 



5. Long-term Health Issues

Chronic health concerns, as well as pain, often go together like PB&J. Joint disease, osteoarthritis, eye problems, kidney and liver disease, periodontal disease, and many more can intrude on your cat’s life and may require veterinary attention. 

When Do I Take My Cat in to See the Vet?

Many of the symptoms we touched on above can be a telltale sign of deeper health concerns in your cat. Take your cat into the vet for a check-up or visit. Talking to your vet about what’s been going on can help set you at ease, as your vet may be able to rule out any threatening or major health concerns. 

If there haven’t been any changes in your living situations recently and your cat’s depression isn’t from your environment, then there is something else that may be eating away at your furry friend that is causing their depression. 

What to Expect

When you bring your feline into the vet, there are some things you can expect to happen. Your vet will most likely perform a physical exam on your cat, take notes on their medical history, and the symptoms you’ve been recognizing over the last few weeks. Depending on their signs and symptoms, they may want to do bloodwork, ultrasounds, or an x-ray on your furry friend. 

You may not get a diagnosis right away, especially if future tests are required. Try and be patient, know you did the right thing by bringing them into the vet in the first place. 



Medical Emergency

If you notice that your cat is in obvious pain or distress, you may need to head to the vet ASAP. If your cat hasn’t eaten for 24 hours or more, this is not a concern you should take lightly. 

Unlike canines, cats are infamous for hiding their problems or discomforts. Innately, they have an inherent desire for self-preservation and fierce competition. 

As a caring feline parent, keep a close eye on your cat, as they are sneaky and sometimes too good at hiding things. 

Ways to Prevent Feline Depression

Felines need annual and regular wellness and health check-ups with their vet. Maintaining their health and diagnosing issues early on can be crucial in their quality of life. By taking wonderful care of your four-legged friend, they’re less likely to develop health issues that may have depressive symptoms associated.   

You can try and do some things at home to help reduce your cat’s daily stressors in life, including:

  • Meal routine
  • Nutrient-rich diet
  • Brush their fur
  • Fresh and clean water
  • De-worm 
  • Parasite prevention
  • Keep up-to-date on their vaccinations
  • Microchip them
  • Exercise
  • Mental stimulation
  • Keep their litter box clean
  • Probiotics
  • Prebiotics
  • Health supplements
  • New toys
  • New treats

In addition to these helpful ideas, CBD Oil for Cats has been booming in the calmness and relaxation department! CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, it won’t get your cat high or have them feeling stoned. 

Here, at Petly CBD, our feline droppers have been scientifically crafted for our small furry friends. Formulated with 125 mg of organically grown phytocannabinoid-rich hemp.

Each bottle contains 30 droppers at 4.16mg per dropper. This natural product combines only two natural compounds that support feline health—broad-spectrum hemp extract and MCT coconut oil.

Cat Depression: Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, we know you only want the absolute best for you four-legged furry companion. It’s one of the best feelings as a cat parent to hear your cat purr as you walk into the door and give them a loving head rub. 

You may be able to help with your cat’s depressive symptoms by implementing some changes around the house, talking to their vet, or giving them a little more TLC.

Dealing with their signs and symptoms can help them become more affectionate and back to their old self in no time. When your furry feline is in pristine health and condition, their mental well-being probably is too!


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