Did you know that cats can actually get depressed? The reasons for cat depression are as varied as the reason behind human depression. If you notice that your cat seems to have no appetite, is sleeping even more than usual, is not using the litter box, or has other recent changes in habits, your cat may be suffering from depression or another treatable medical issue. Here's how to treat cat depression:
- Visit the veterinarian. Your first step is a vet visit. There are many other medical issues that can cause the same symptoms as cat depression. It's important to rule them out so they don't become even more serious. Only once they are ruled out should you treat cat depression. In addition, some physical illnesses can cause depression; if you treat cat depression while ignoring underlying causes, your cat's mood probably won't improve.
- Examine possible causes. Consider your cat's environment, looking for recent changes. Has your cat's companion recently passed away? Have you recently changed the cat litter or food brands? Is there a new pet or family member in the household? Cats are creatures of habit and don't like change. Such simple changes can cause feline depression. Change things back to the old way, if you can, to see if your cat's mood changes. Some changes, though, your cat will just have to get used to over time, such as a new baby in the house. Ease the transition in any way possible to avoid upsetting your cat.
- Be cheerful. Cats can get depressed when their owners are depressed. Be sure to use a cheerful voice when around your cat, and spend lots of time playing with them or petting them. Spending time with your cat can help cheer them up.
- Entertain your cat. Many cats get depressed because they are bored. Take time out of your day just to play with your cat, and make sure they have plenty of toys to keep themselves entertained. Cats love a comfortable perch by a window with a vantage point for watching squirrels and birds. If your cat seems to be depressed because he is lonely, consider getting a second cat. They can keep each other entertained while you're away.
- Get help from the vet. If your strategies don't seem to be improving your cat's mood, visit the vet once again. Your vet can prescribe anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications to treat a chemical imbalance, but these should be avoided if possible, because they can have side effects.
If your cat seems depressed, it's okay to spoil them in an attempt to cheer them up. Give them treats, toys, and extra attention. Though cats are creatures of habit, they can also grow bored with the monotony of daily life. If your cat's mood doesn't improve in a week or two, take your cat to the vet for medications to treat her depression.