Depression is the response of the mind and body towards various inducements. Depression can be displayed in the form of numerous mental and physical behavioral changes, which can also encourage the development of certain diseases. It is usually believed that cats have it easy, but it is very common for these feline creatures to experience stress and depression. Stats show that depression is experienced by almost 40% of indoor cats due to tediousness and dull lifestyle. Cats are very concealed and conservative animals and it can be difficult to know if they are depressed. Here are some elements that may indicate if your cat is depressed and, how to cure cat depression.
Causes of Cat Depression
Depression in cats can arise due to many factors. From an inactive lifestyle to abandonment, there can be various reasons causing a cat’s depression. For example,
- Moving houses / constructional work in the house
- Meeting now people, cats or babies
- Interaction with violent outdoor cats
- Losing a loved one
- Arrival of a new house pet
- Being yelled or scolded at
- Inactive / boring lifestyle
- Lack of attention
- Injury or illness
Evaluating if your cat has depression
If you are curious to know whether your cat is experiencing depression, following are some symptoms to look out for:
- Constant snoozing
- Appetite loss
- Lack of self-grooming
- Excreting outside the litter box
- Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
- Sudden weight gain or loss
- Aggressive behavior (hissing and scratching)
How to cure cat depression
Here are some things you should do in order to elevate a depressed cat’s mood:
Cats are very attention craving animals. If not given the right amount of love and attention, they may fall a prey to depression. Socialize with your feline friend every day using interactive cat toys such as fishing toys, feathers and bouncy balls to chase around. Occasionally playing with laser toys can also be fun but frequently chasing the laser around can leave the cat irritated and confused as it is incapable of catching the laser.
A clean Environment
Just like human beings, a clean and sanitary environment will keep the cat healthy and happy. Cats are very clean and well-groomed animals and love to be in a clean and spotless environment. Cats clean themselves by licking the dirt and debris off their coats using their tongues, which contains small bristle like spikes. You should not smoke around a cat as smoke particles get stuck on their fur and the cat might ingest those particles while cleaning its coat. It is also vital to keep your cat’s litter clean or else it will excrete outside the litter box.
Active and busy Lifestyle
Interactive cat toys are very beneficial to prevent depression in kitties and keep them lively and active. A playmate for your cat can also be a great way of keeping your cat active. You can place bird feeders/houses outside your windows or get a fish tank as gazing at fish/birds can be a very enjoyable activity for cats.
Declawing is the process of amputating the tip bone of a cat’s toes. It is a very cruel and painful surgery which serves no beneficial purpose for the cat. In fact, it causes severely negative physical and psychological effects in the cat’s health. Some alternatives are to use soft nail and claw caps/covers and using scratching posts so that the cat does not scratch your furniture and sofas.
Avoid Yelling and Loud Music
Cats are very sensitive to loud sounds and noises. They have one of the widest hearing ranges in mammals. Scolding and Shouting at your cat can have a negative impact on your cat’s health. They are incapable of understanding why they are being shouted or scolded at. It is even advised to not use collars with bells as the constant jingling can be very annoying and stressful for cats.
Healthy and nutritious foods result in a healthy cat. Make sure that the kibble you use does not contain any harmful substances such as Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Carrageenan, Glucose / Dextrose etc. Cats can be very particular so try to introduce variety as eating the same type of food can drive the cat to simply, stop eating it. You can also use treats as a way to encourage disciplined behavior in cats.
Regular visits to the vet
Visiting the vet regularly for preventative checkups and deworming sessions is very necessary. Visits to the vet can help to determine your cat’s health and diagnose any injury or illness that may also be causing depression. Even if a cat seems perfectly healthy, it should still see the vet at least once a year.