How to determine if a cat is suffering from depression

Cats may suffer from depression just like humans, and the reason behind their depression may differ, whether it is moving from one house to another or losing a dear companion, and depression may be difficult to detect in cats because changes in the behavior of cats may be minor and may pass without notice, except Observing the cat well can help you notice signs of depression and enable you to properly intervene and solve the problem.

Analyzing the Situation

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

1. Go to the vet to examine the cat. 

If you notice any changes in the cat’s behavior, you should go to the veterinarian, to make sure the cat is healthy and that its depression is not due to a medical condition that she suffers from that requires specific treatment.

Inform the vet of any behavioral changes that you have noticed in the cat, such as a change in its appetite for food, sleep habits, or its personality, and the vet will perform a medical examination on it, listen to its heartbeat, examine its eyes and ears, and take its temperature.

If the veterinarian feels the need to conduct more medical examinations according to the changes he noticed in the cat, he may request a blood analysis, x-rays, or more tests, and you can get some of these tests during the same visit, and you can get some others after some days.

If your cat does not have any health problems, she may be suffering from feline depression.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

2. Pay attention to any recent change. 

There are many causes for cat depression, so think of any major recent changes that may be causing your cat to become depressed. Have you moved to a new home? A home change is one of the biggest causes of depression in cats. Many cats have trouble moving from one house to another and may go through a temporary phase of depression as they adjust to the new home.

Did one of the residents of the house die? Whether it is a human being or another pet, death affects cats, and if cats do not understand death in the same way that humans understand death, they will notice the absence of this person or animal, which may lead to depression.

Have you been getting busy lately? Whether the reason for your busyness is work, a change in your social life, or if you get to know a new person and start to spend less time with the cat, this may easily cause the cat to become depressed. Cats - especially Siamese cats - are social creatures and may become depressed if they feel left out.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

3.Note at what time of the year the cat became depressed. 

Seasonal affective disorder not only affects humans, but it may also affect cats. Cats may be affected by a certain time of the year and may feel depressed during the winter months.

The days in the winter months are short, which means less exposure to sunlight, and the lack of exposure to sunlight causes the cats to become depressed, which leads to behavioral changes in them, and if you notice a change in the cat's personality during that season, this may mean that it is going through seasonal depression.

Sunlight affects the level of melatonin and serotonin, which causes a person or cat to feel anxiety, stress, and sadness, and cats who live outside the home suffer from seasonal depression at a higher rate than domestic cats, because they spend more time in open spaces.

Notice signs of cat depression

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

1. Watch your cat's sleeping habits. 

Cats sleep a lot, and cats may sleep about 16 hours throughout the day, if you notice that the cat is sleeping more than usual, this may be a sign of depression. You may find it difficult to determine whether the cat sleeps too much or not because it sleeps under normal conditions for long hours, but you will likely have an idea of ​​the times your cat is active and the times it usually sleeps, and you can use that knowledge of cat habits to monitor Changes that may occur to her sleep.

If your cat used to wake up in the morning, for example, to play with you and found that it no longer does so and that it continues to sleep, then that may be a sign of depression, and if you used to find it awake after your work hours and noticed that it was sleeping at that time, then this may be Another sign.

Watch for any change in the cat’s activity and energy, as some cats are a bit lazy by nature, but if you find that the cat that you used to see active has become more lazy than usual during her waking times, or she has been sitting in her bed all the time, this may be a sign of depression

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

2. Watch for increased vocalization. 

Cats have a wide range of vocal expressions, whether it is meowing, howling, or hissing, and if you notice that the cat makes more sounds than it is used to, it may be related to depression. Cats suffering from depression may cry or scream in response to relatively minor stimuli and may make random noises throughout the day, as this may be their way of communicating and expressing their feeling that they are not feeling well.

And just as you did with sleep, you should notice the amount of change in the sounds the cat makes relative to the rate at which it is accustomed to it, and if your cat is accustomed to making loud and many noises to express its presence or to arouse your attention, then this may not be considered an indication of its depression because that is its character, But if the cat is naturally calm and shows a noticeable change in her vocalizing rate and begins to meow or cry at night, this may be her way of expressing her unhappiness.

The cat's vocal expressions may increase after the death of a person or pet with her in the house, and the cat may cry as a form of providing assistance to that missing person or animal until it can be found.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

3. Monitor your cat's eating habits. 

Depressed cats may eat more or less than usual as a response to their grief, so you should note the amount of food the cat eats and notice any difference from its normal range. Loss of appetite is a major factor in depression, whether, in humans or cats, you may notice that the cat has become less interested in eating and does not eat at its usual feeding times and that it leaves its dry or wet food untouched, and it may suffer from weight loss as a result of these changes.

The opposite may happen and the cat shows binge eating, and although this condition is less common than its predecessor, it does happen. If you notice that the cat has become more willing to eat, especially if it begins to gain more weight, this may be one of the signs of depression.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

4. Note the cat's fur: 

When cats suffer from depression, they neglect to clean themselves or clean themselves too much, and you may start to notice this.

If the cat's hair appears dirty and dull, this may mean that it is not interested in cleaning itself, and you will notice that it stops cleaning itself as it used to and if it is one of its habits to clean itself after eating in a certain place in the room, and it stops that habit, this may mean that it has depression.

Cats suffering from depression may begin to clean themselves profusely in order to reduce the anxiety associated with depression, and you will notice more periods of cleaning themselves than usual, and this may lead to some areas of their body becoming bald or reddening of the skin as a result of excessive cleaning.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

5. Note the rate at which the cat hides. 

Although cats are social beings, they like from time to time to have some time alone, and it is not strange for cats to choose a specific place to hide, such as the bottom of the wardrobe or under a certain table in the house, but hiding too much may be a sign of Depression.

When a cat becomes depressed, it may hide in a place where it will be difficult for you to find it. Instead of slumping under the table or at the bottom of the closet, for example, it may choose one of the hidden corners of the house that it cannot easily find in it.

Only you can determine whether the cat's disappearance rate has increased or not, according to your knowledge of its normal habits, as some cats like to hide more than others, but if your cat has become accustomed to spending a certain time of the day in the living room and suddenly it spends That time hiding in a corner, that change in behavior could be a sign of depression.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

6. Notice issues with your cat handling its litter box. 

Because these problems express the cat's stress, which is one of the signs of depression in cats.

Distinguish between urination problems and the cat’s positioning of urine marks to determine its area, so the cat (especially the male cats) urinating around the area in which it lives as a type of determining its control is not considered a sign of depression, and this type of urine is usually found on vertical surfaces and has a pungent smell And, the cat may do this if he feels that his area of ​​control is under threat, and it is not considered a manifestation of depression, but the tension between the cat and other pets or other cats in the house, may cause it to stress, anxiety, and depression, so you have to manage any conflict around areas Take control before it affects their mental health.

If you find urine or feces in different places in the home, this may be a sign of cat depression, and cats may urinate outside the box if they do not like it for its shape, size, or type, or if it is dirty, but if the box is clean and you have not made any adjustments recently, A cat's change in urination behavior may indicate depression.

Cat Depression Treatment

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

1.Give your cat adequate attention. 

Depression may be caused by the cat not getting enough attention, so you have to make sure you give the cat the love it needs in order to feel happy and safe. Cats are social beings, but they tend to be independent, and usually, cats will express their need for attention, and the best thing is to let them come to you, and if you find that the cat accepts and cares for you in a welcoming way, such as playing with its head on your feet, this means that it is looking for attention, and may not be able for long The time for leaving what you do and pampering your cat, but you have to give her even a small amount of attention, even if by quickly patting her head or trimming her hair with your hand, in order to show her that you care about her.

Cats love exciting activities, so you have to make sure that you play with your cat, for a period ranging between 15 to 20 minutes a day, and cats love games such as strings and toys in the form of animals that you can throw in front of them to chase them, and you must refrain from fighting the cat Violently hand in your hand because this develops violent habits and behaviors in the cat.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

2. Make sure your cat has some fun while outside. 

Especially if you start a new job, for example, and you spend more time outside the home, in order to protect the cat from the depression that may affect it because of the new changes, so you should try to make it happy when it is outside the home, and there are many ways that you can do this, in order to Make sure to keep the cat entertained while you are away from home.

Leave the curtains in the house open during the day, especially if you live in a rural place, and make sure that there is a table or high closet that the cat can climb to be able to look through the window, because cats love to have fun, look at the open places and enjoy the sunlight while you are away.

Some companies sell CDs dedicated to cats so that you can play them on the television while you are away, and these films contain suitable stimuli for cats to entertain them, such as footage of birds, mice, and other cats, but be careful because the cat may jump on the TV while interacting with the pictures shown on it, so you have to make sure that the TV It is tightly attached and will not fall off if the cat jumps on it.

Many cat games are specially designed to be entertaining during your absence, such as playing mice and birds, and there are puzzle games, which are a strange-shaped body that contains inside it a piece of food or a toy, and the cat has to find a way to reach that food or that game, which it keeps her occupied while you are not at home, but be careful because some toys contain a warning not to leave it with the cat alone, so you have to make sure that the toy that you leave with her is safe and suitable for this purpose.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

3.Try light therapy. 

If your cat's depression is seasonal, light therapy may help reduce winter depression. Buy a light that simulates ultraviolet rays and leave it lit for several hours throughout the day in the presence of the cat, and you can find such lights in agricultural supplies stores because they are used to grow plants indoors. There are types of lights that mimic ultraviolet rays that are recommended by veterinarians because they are intended for cats, you can buy these types online, and these types emit a bright white light, and the manufacturer advises that the cat be exposed to that light during the winter for 30 minutes a day.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

4. Try synthetic pheromones. 

The vet may recommend specific types of synthetic pheromones designed to help your cat relax and stimulate her feelings of happiness.

You can get these pheromones through the vet's office that you go to, and you must follow the instructions written on the package and consult your doctor about any advice or instructions for use or questions you have about use.

How to determine if your cat is suffering from depression

5. cat depression medicine 

Considering medication is the last resort for combating feline depression, given the potential side effects and the difficulty in cats taking medication.

There are four types of drugs that can be used to treat depression and other behavioral problems in cats, they are benzodiazepines, MAOIs, triple-ring antidepressants, and SSRIs, and your veterinarian will likely use SSRIs or MAOIs to treat depression.

Side effects vary depending on the medicine, and some of these symptoms may be dangerous, for example, some types of MAO inhibitors can cause dangerous life-threatening reactions if your cat ingests cheese during treatment, so you need to make sure you understand all the possible side effects of each drug. Before giving it to the cat, ask your veterinarian about the side effects and what are the side effects that require urgent medical attention. [

Cats are known for its difficulty in providing medication to them, and veterinarians prescribe medication to cats as a last resort, and if the doctor suggests that you give the cat medication, you have to make sure you know the correct way in which the cat can take medication, the dosage, and method of storage, and if you are concerned about something or You have missed any information, so do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian and ask him.

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