Coping With Feline Depression

A major change such as the death of a family member or a companion animal, a divorce, a new baby, a new house can cause your cat to become depressed. Left untreated, feline depression can lead to serious medical problems.

The best way to detect depression in your cat is to pay attention to its 'normal' behavior. For instance, perhaps your cat enjoys spending time playing. If your cat has recently undergone a major change in its life and stops playing, he may be depressed. Cats left in boarding kennels often become depressed. Not only are they separated from their families, but they're removed from their comfortable and safe surroundings.

The following are some signs of feline depression:

A loss of appetite. Your cat might be depressed if it loses interest in its food. However, a loss of appetite or weight loss can also be a sign of a medical problem. Take your cat to your veterinarian if you notice any change in its weight or eating habits.

Lack of grooming. If your cat stops grooming itself, it may be depressed. Depressed cats often become lethargic and may stop grooming themselves altogether.

Aggression. Depressed cats sometimes scratch or bite. Often they're reacting to some change in their lives, such as a new spouse that they believe dislikes them.

Excessive sleeping. A cat that's always sleeping is often bored or depressed.

If you think your cat is depressed, take it to the veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions. If your vet says your cat is physically fine, spend some extra time with your cat. Lavish it with affection and praise. If you don't already brush or comb your cat, now is a good time to start.

If your cat is depressed because of the death of a companion animal, consider adopting another cat. Look for a sweet, easygoing cat that's not threatening. After a brief adjustment period, most cats become the best of friends.

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