How To Tell A Cat is Sad
Every cat has its own personality, which means some will seem more reserved while others are more outgoing.
While it’s hard to tell if your shy cat is sad, an outgoing cat is something that is easier to identify. When a typical outgoing and social cat suddenly becomes withdrawn and quiet, it can be a scary feeling.
In most cases, cat owners have no idea why their cat is sad or depressed. Luckily there are a few signs you can look for to put your mind at rest.
And if you that your cat is in fact depressed, you can learn the causes depression in cats and your best course of action.
Signs of a Depressed Cat
Here’s the honest truth, you know your cat better than most. The best way for you to tell your cat is depressed is to look at your cat. Pay attention to some signs of possible depression in your cat.
- Changes in vocalization: When it comes to your cat hopefully you know when your cat meows. If they normally meow when it is time to eat, and suddenly stop, that can. These are very audible indications that your cat may be unhappy. You also want to be on the lookout for unhappy noises. These unhappy noises are usually low-pitched, mournful yowls. Other cats that are normally vocal may become quiet, while quiet cats can turn up the volume.
- Body language: Sometimes your cat’s body language can clue you in on their unhappiness. Whether it be that their ears are back more than normal. Or that they tuck themselves into a loaf when they normally let it all hangout. Hair standing on ends, and other body signs are all forms of silent communication that your cat may be sad.
- Sudden aggression or fear: If you cat is sad, sometimes sadness can cause cats to act out. And sometimes they act out aggressively. If you notice behavior changes that result in your cat being scared or abnormally aggressive then they may be sad. Especially if it not typical behavior for them.
- Clingy or hiding or changes in personality: To completely contradict myself, sometimes when a cat is sad, they can instead become clingy to their humans. In the same breath, a sad cat may lose interest in the activities that used to entertain them.
- Excessive sleep: So this one I debating putting in here. Mainly for one reason, cats sometimes sleep longer than normal. That can do with the weather changes, or even just not sleeping enough the night before. With that being said, sometimes sleep is an indicator of depression. Cats normally sleep a lot but sad or depressed cats sleep even more. If there have been changes in the location of a favorite nap spot this can also indicate sadness.
- Not eating or change in appetite: If your cat has stopped eating or you’ve noted a sudden change in appetite, it may be unhappy about something.
- Excessive scratching: If your cat is sad or depressed, it may start scratching objects more so than usual to relieve stress and mark its territory. If you have a cat that likes to scratch when they are excited, the opposite would be true.
Reasons Why a Cat Gets Depressed
Now that you know some signs to check for to see if your cat is actually sad. Next, you want to know what are the reasons that your cat can get sad in the first place. There can be several reasons why a cat gets depressed. Did you know, cats can even grieve. They bond with human and non-human family members and can grieve when the dynamics of the relationship is lost. But finding out why your cat is sad is important to understand what you can do to make your cat feel better. Most importantly, if pain is the culprit, then take your cat to the veterinarian right away!
Cats can get sick just like humans. Illnesses can cause your cat to not feel well and even possibly be in pain. The cat may not be its playful self if it hurts to move around. Sometimes your cat may not want to eat and have no energy due to the illness. Conditions such as fatty liver disease, FIV, FeLV, upper respiratory diseases, diabetes, hypothyroidism, dental disease, and others are all serious health problems that can affect your cat’s happiness level. If you suspect your cat is depressed because it is sick, then you should schedule a visit with your vet as soon as possible.
The next possibility is that your cat could be injuries. Injuries may limit your cat’s ability to do things it once enjoyed. Pain after an injury can also keep your cat from feeling as happy as it usually is. If your cat seems like they are hurt, call the vet immediately. Make sure you are following your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding pain relief or if your cat seems to be in pain, schedule an appointment to haven’t already to have it checked out. Even old surgeries and injuries can cause lingering pain or discomfort in your cat and may require chronic pain relief.
Loss of a Loved One
Finally, cats grieve just as humans do. Losing a family member is always tough for everyone involved and your cat is no exception. When a family member (human or animal) passes away or moves out, your cat may grieve and become depressed. If their favorite person, or someone in their pack passes away, you cat could be grieving the lost of their family. This is usually only a temporary behavior and with some time your cat will return to normal.
Sometimes, if your cat is depressed because another cat in the household has passed away, they may benefit from a new cat friend. Before you go running to get another pet, you want to see if it was the pet that the cat loved, or the companion. Sometimes it can even make things worse if you get a new pet before your cat has had time to grieve.
Be cautious in adding another housemate too soon to the family. Time is usually the best remedy for major family member changes, but there are also natural remedies such as pheromones and nutritional supplements that can help your cat be happier in the meantime. As always, showing your cat some extra love and care will help them know they are not alone in this crazy world.