Last updated: March 18, 2017
Pets such as cats are unable to communicate through words like humans do and it takes a little more effort to decipher how they are feeling. However, these days most people are too engrossed with their day-to-day lives that they have little time to truly observe and give their pets enough attention. It becomes so very easy to miss out the subtle signs of depression or sadness that a cat might be experiencing.
Others might think that as long as they are well provided for with their food and water that cats are always a-okay, when in fact, cats need more than just the basic necessities to live. They might not be able to express it in conventional human means, but cats are also very emotional beings. Just like with humans, their emotions can also be tied-up with whatever is happening around them.
Signs of Depression
Cat owners must really go out of their way to look for the signs that their cat is going through something emotionally. If given enough attention, cat owners will quickly notice when their cat is behaving differently. The good thing is that these signs are quite evident to most cat owners who have taken the time to observe their cat’s usual behavior.
A cat that is bothered emotionally tends to have opposite actions from their common behavioral patterns. The meowing of a cat is one of the clearest indicators of their emotions. If a cat that is usually very vocal suddenly becomes all too quiet and a cat that is usually mum starts meowing more than usual, then there must be something that is bothering them.
If a cat’s sleeping and eating habits are suddenly out of sync from their daily routine, a cat owner should thoroughly observe their cat for any other signs of distress. Just like humans do, cats also lose their appetite whenever there is something the matter with them. It is also possible for them to lose sleep or sleep more whenever something is worrying them.
When they are upset, cats would cease to take care of themselves and would simply want to be on their own. If they are hiding more than usual in conspicuous places, then it is definitely a cause for alarm. Cats, especially kittens are really active creatures that are always ready to play a game or two, would tend to forego their normal playtime when they are feeling out of sorts. This can also cause them to spray more and miss their litter.
Reasons for Depression
Contrary to popular belief, cats are very much in-tuned to their emotions and are very vulnerable to their surroundings. Much like people, cats value their relationship with their owner, other humans, and other pets as well. This is why when changes start to happen out of the blue, cats can also plunge into an emotional state that will leave them depressed for days on end.
Cats are pretty much synced to the environment they live in. This is why when a cat is newly adopted it might take some time for them to adjust to their new surroundings. Cats can also be quite attached to their family physically and emotionally. Although they keep a tough exterior and act like they don’t really care all that much, they actually experience separation anxiety much like humans do.
So when abrupt changes suddenly happen, such as moving from one place to another or a death in the family occur, cats can get caught up in the middle of it all and start feeling sad and depressed. There are also cases when old cats get jealous over other pets joining the family and will tend to recluse themselves away from everybody else.
Cat owners must also keep in mind that although, it might seem like cats would rather be left alone, this is not actually the case. Cats are also in need of constant love and attention and when owners all of a sudden don’t give them enough time of their day, this can also affect them emotionally.
Illness or Injury
The importance of checking up on cats as often as possible cannot be stressed enough. It is so easy to miss out on what’s going on with cats since they can’t really directly express how they are feeling. The danger is they might actually be going through an illness or they might have gotten injured.
After a day out with the family, my sisters and I came home very excited to see our newest addition the family, Ginger, a kitten we recently adopted at that time. However, much to our dismay, we found our usually active and playful kitten all weak and curled up on the pet bed we made for her. It was in the middle of the afternoon, so we thought that she was just having her afternoon nap.
She was also unusually distancing herself whenever we tried to cheer her up. She kept to herself and barely touched her food for the rest of the day. She stayed on her pet bed and only got up once or twice. We also kept a keen eye on her during the night and noticed that she also had a limp whenever she did walk about.
We were starting to get worried and felt her temperature. It was evident that she was brewing a fever. The next day, we decided to finally bring her to the veterinarian. Good thing we did too, as she apparently had a swollen leg. The vet said that she might have hit it hard somewhere or something might have fallen on it.
Vet Knows Best
Although emotional problems are more of a matter of the heart than of the body, sometimes it’s just best if cat owners bring their cat to the veterinarian. It’s always the best precaution because it can be hard to tell on their own if there is actually something physically wrong with a cat. In any case, the vet knows best and this can also save cat owners a lot of headache in trying to figure out as to what can be going wrong with their cat.
It is sad that most people look at their pets as just animals they have taken into their home, when pets such as cats are actually more than just cute animals to show off to other people. Cats are a companion, a friend . . . Cats are family and cat owners should always consider their cat’s welfare and at the same time, their emotional well-being when making life changing decisions, such as moving from one house to another.
When in doubt, cat owners would know to tap into their hearts and act out of love for their cat in every situation. Much like how humans would console their family or their friends when they are not emotionally feeling well, cat owners can also try and soothe their cats out of their depression. Cat owners should pet them more, play with them, and spend more time with them. A cat owner’s love and care are always the best medicine!