Do cats get depressed?

The companionship cats offer is one of the reasons why many people prefer to have these animals for pets. It is not uncommon for cat parents to make the pet the silent sounding board for all their woes. Humans though are not the only ones that get the blues. Did you know that there are occasions and situations where the cat can get depressed too? Cats are the epitome of calmness but these pets can get down in the dumps too.

Cats would not be concerned with the economic crises nor with the ups and downs of human relationship. What then are the reasons for these pets to get depressed? The reasons for a cat’s depression usually involve change. Cats are creatures of habit. Changes in the cat’s environment like a transfer to a new home, a new baby in the family or the addition of another pet are reasons why a cat would get the blues. A new diet and a change of routine are minor changes to us humans but these situations would be enough to cause depression in the pet. Dogs are branded as man’s best friends because of these animals’ legendary loyalty to their human friends. Cats on the other hand have gained the reputation of being aloof animals with high and mighty personality. Cats though can develop a strong bond with their owners. The death of a family member can seriously depress a cat. Cats are sensitive to the emotions of the human family. The stress of owners resulting from divorce or squabbles between the family members will be picked up by the cat. This emotional upheaval will distress a cat. Cats are pretty independent animals. These animals are often the choice of would-be pet owners that do not have much time to devote to the pet. Unlike dogs that would demand attention, cats can find ways to amuse themselves. However, cats can succumb to boredom. Without anything to do, indoor cats that are left alone at home for the better part of the day can get bored and depressed.

How would a cat owner know that the pet is depressed? A change in behavior is the first telltale sign. A depressed cat would be sleeping more than usual as it would lose interest in its environment. The cat would have no interest in playing with its toys. It would have no inclination to roam and may not get excited even with the sight of its usual prey. Cats spend long hours grooming but a depressed pet would stop grooming itself. A very depressed cat would even lose interest in food. Cats are not really voracious eaters but when it comes to asking for their dinner, cats are personification of clockwork regularity. Depression would make a cat ignore its food bowl. Being down in the dumps can make a cat prefer its own company. The pet would have no inclination to bond with its people. The reverse can be true in some individuals. A depressed cat may incessantly vocalize to gain the attention of the owners. Some would even manifest aggressive behaviors.

What should an owner do to prevent the pet from getting depressed? A few toys would provide the pet with the much needed mental stimulation especially if it is not possible for the owner to interact with the pet. Getting another cat is another way of preventing the cat from getting lonely. The new pet will become the resident cat’s playmate. Cats provide companionship. It follows that these animals would also appreciate the attention they will receive from the human friends. A cat owner should make it a point to set aside some time to interact with the pet.