Cat Depression—How to Detect, Treat and Prevent
People are not the only ones who get the blues. Cat depression is real and often the result of major changes in in a cat's routine, such as the death of an owner or animal friend, loneliness or a change in their living situation. Every cat with depression will behave differently, but you will likely notice a change in her behavior. If she is usually enthusiastic when she’s around you but suddenly stops paying attention to you, she could be depressed.
Some other signs of cat depression include:
* Decreased appetite
* Lack of grooming
* Lethargy or changes in personality
* Increased sleeping
* Hiding in an isolated place for extended periods of time.
Although all of these symptoms are major indicators of depression, they can also be signs of other illnesses. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian immediately in the presence of these symptoms to rule out any underlying health conditions.
What to Do
Of course every owner wants to help their cat when she’s feeling under the weather so be sure to pay plenty of attention to her; try to play with her for at least 30 minutes a day to prevent loneliness. If feasible, adopting another cat is often beneficial in warding off depression. If your cat is not grooming herself as normal, brush and groom her yourself. This can give her a sense of companionship with you that can help the problem.
If you have to leave your cat home alone for extended periods of time, improve her environment by leaving blinds or curtains open. This way, she can have a view of what is going on outside and also some light. Leaving a radio or TV on during the day can also keep her from feeling lonely.
Sometimes cat depression doesn’t go away, no matter how hard you try. That is when the veterinarian comes into the pictures. A vet can properly diagnose your cat with behavioral depression and prescribe antidepressants. He/she can also give you examples of behavioral modification techniques that may help the problem.
Can Cat Depression Be Prevented?
Cat depression cannot be prevented in all cases—some cats are just more susceptible just like people. However, the best thing you can do to try to prevent it is to provide a routine, stress-free, loving environment for your feline. You should schedule regular veterinary exams for her to keep on top of her health.