Causes of depression in cats

Sad adult cat

Depression, unfortunately, is not only a human thing. Our beloved cats can also feel this way from time to time throughout their lives.. Sadness, apathy, loss of appetite and weight are just some of the symptoms that will appear, and they will need a lot of help from us to recover.

But What are the causes of depression in cats? For years they have told us ad nauseam that they are independent, which we are now beginning to see is not entirely true. So how can we know the source of your discomfort?

Cats can be depressed for a variety of causes, the most common of which are:

Illness and / or old age

Depressed cat

If they are very sick and cannot move, or if they are very old, they may have depression. Feeling weak, They can take away the desire to eat and, if that happens, they will spend the day in bed. If the situation worsens, that is, if the disease worsens or if the wear and tear caused by old age becomes important, the cats could stop grooming themselves.

To do? First of all is take them to the vet so that, if they have any health problems, they can be put into treatment. Once at home We must have them in a room where there is a comfortable temperature, comfortable cat beds placed on the ground so they don't have to jump, troughs with fresh and clean water, troughs with high quality food and litter boxes that should be located as far as possible from the food.

In addition, it is very important that let's take care of cleaning them every day, passing them a carding type brush to remove dead hair and cleaning their eyes with a clean gauze moistened with chamomile infusion (using one for each eye). Also, if we see that they begin to be dirty, we can clean them with wet wipes for animals (do not use for human babies as they irritate the skin of felines).

If they don't eat, we can give you homemade chicken broth (boneless), or cans of wet cat food, which smell much more than dry feed, which will serve to whet their appetite.

Arrival of a new member of the family

Loving cat and dog

The cats they are very territorial animals. Every day they spend a good part of their time leaving their pheromones in the furniture, in their beds, in us,… When the family increases, especially if that new member is a four-legged animal, they usually feel threatened.

To do? The best is introduce them little by little. If it is a new cat or dog, we will keep it in a room with food, water, a litter box and toys. On the bed, we will put a blanket or towel, and we will do the same with the beds of our »old» cats. Over 4-5 days, we will exchange these blankets or towels. This way they will get used to the smell of others.

After that time, we will let the new member see the "old" cats one by one, ideally from behind a baby barrier. If everything goes well, that is, if there are no attempts at aggression and the cats, despite their snorts, show curiosity, we can remove the barrier. Otherwise, we will bring the new furry back to the room and try again the next day.

What if it's a human baby? We will let them come closer. If they are well cared for and have all their vaccinations, the baby will not be in any danger. Of course, we never have to leave them alone.

And of course, as responsible caregivers we have to pay the same attention to everyone so that none of them feel depressed.

Bad nutrition

Cat Food

We are what we eat. This also applies to cats. These carnivorous animals if they are not fed a high quality food they may have low spirits. To avoid this, it is highly advisable to give them feed that does not contain cereals or by-products, since although they are more expensive than the supermarket ones (the kilo comes out for 4-5 euros) the benefits are many and varied:

  • White, healthy and strong teeth
  • Good growth and development
  • Shiny hair
  • Increased energy
  • Mood improvement

And we also save, because by having more animal protein content, they will not need to eat much to be satisfied.

Loss of a loved one

Sad tabby cat

If they had a close relationship with a person, dog, cat or other furry, they can have a hard time for weeks or months, and even years. I'll tell you something: one of my cats stopped showing up at home. His sister, Keisha, was sitting in a corner for the first day. I wasn't going to look for him, which surprised me because they were very close. She wasn't wearing a necklace with an identification tag at the time, so I decided to put it on to avoid losing her as well.

He behaved in a very exaggerated manner. He shook his head from side to side, tried to scratch me… well. It was quite difficult to put it on, although it was not the first time he had put one on. That was when I realized that, perhaps, his brother had been captured with a stick of those lengths that have a rope at one end. It could be. That year in the town a company was dedicated to picking up the cats that were in the street.

Still, I went looking for it. I missed him so much… For months both Keisha and I had been having a hard time. Her barely ate, It was not moving. He spent the day in bed or on the couch. He had no interest in the game until after his long 3-4 months. But it wasn't until Benji's arrival two years later that he regained his spirits. Only then did she return to being her, the playful and mischievous cat she had always been.

Therefore, if your cats have lost a loved one, the best thing you can do is continue with the routine. If they don't feel like playing, don't force them, but don't let them go more than two days without eating. Little by little they will recover their spirits.

Lack of stimuli

Attentive cat

There is nothing sadder than seeing bored cats, having nothing to do all day. Although they can spend several days at home with food and water, the truth is that their mood will not be as good as we would hope. Why? Because they are not so independent as they want us to believe.

The cats constantly ask for attention their caregivers, and if they don't listen to them, they don't interact with the furry ones, what is going to happen is that they are going to live with depressed cats.

What to do? Spend quality time with them. It is not enough to be with them in the same room. To make them happy, it is important to play with them, let them snuggle up next to us while we watch TV or read a book (or while we sleep 😉), surprise them from time to time with a new toy that we will use that same day or with cans wet cat food. Only then can we enjoy an excellent human-feline relationship.


Moving with cats

A change of home is usually a source of joy for the human family, but for cats ... Not so much for cats. They feel very attached to their home, And a move it causes them a lot, a lot of stress.

To do? Before taking the animals to their new home, it is highly recommended that we have them in a room with everything you need (food, water, beds, sandboxes and toys) until we finish carrying all the things.

If we are in a great hurry, like when we go to another country or city and want to leave the »old» home empty as soon as possible, we can take your things and put them in a room in the new house, and keep them there until the move is finished.

I hope this article is useful for you 🙂.

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  1.   Monica sanchez said

    I'm glad they are useful to you, Coralia 🙂
    Thanks for following us.

  2.   Cecilia Alcocer said

    Hi, I think my cat is not having a good time emotionally. There have been many changes, he lived his first 5 years with me, at my parents' house where there was a lot of space. A year ago I moved to live alone in a smaller apartment, the change cost her work. 4 months ago I adopted a kitten together with my boyfriend, also a 4 month old male and 2 months ago my boyfriend moved to live with us. He was recently diagnosed with enteritis, he changed his diet and we are waiting to see if he improves. The problem is that he is very angry with everyone, we have tried to play with him, give him affection and he responds aggressively or making a noise like grunting of complaint. What I can do ???????? I would greatly appreciate your help ! ?

    1.    Monica sanchez said

      Hello cecilia.
      You have to be patient and give it time.
      As you say, there have been many changes in his life.

      If they are not neutered, it is advisable to neuter them. This will help them to be calmer. But beware: when you get home after the operation, DO NOT put them together. Leave the newly operated one in a room for a day, so that he can wash and remove odors from the vet.