Cats are generally more reserved creatures, but a huge change in your cat's routine can lead to a drastic decline in her mood. Felines actually suffer from clinical depression, and most of the time it occurs as a result of the death of a family member or companion animal, loneliness, or a change in environment.
How then, can you tell if their kitties need a dose of feline Prozac?
Depression is to be sad or despondent for a prolonged period of time, so pay attention to these signs. If your cat doesn't meow as often as she used to, or if she doesn't greet you with the usual enthusiasm when you return home, or if she loses her appetite – these are warning signals.
Some other signs include lethargy, aggression, or increased sleeping, although the list is non-exhaustive. Of course, while these symptoms could point to depression, they are also signs of medical conditions and issues. Thus, it's important to take your kitty to the veterinarian for a thorough check-up. If Puss is physically well, she may be suffering from feline depression.
Similar to humans, clinical depression is caused by the chemical changes in the brain which is caused by stress. As such, your kitty will not have her spirits lifted just solely with a little yarn or catnip.
Pet owners need to put in consistent effort to battle depression with their kitties, and if absolutely necessary, medication such as anti-depressants can be considered. Here are some of the other methods you can consider:
Giving your cat attention will be a good place to start. Felines generally enjoy stimulating activity, so try playing with your cat for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day. Let kiitty know that you love her, and that she can turn to you if need be.
While most cats can be left alone, it wouldn't be good to leave a depressed kitty at home with no company nor things to do. One of the easiest ways to entertain her would be to leave the curtains open during the day, with a perch in front of the window.
Most cats love sunlight and observing what's happening outside. Puzzle toys with a hidden treat may work well too.
To be used only under vet's advice, synthetic pheromones are designed to encourage feelings of relaxation and happiness in cats, which may help alleviate Puss' depressive thoughts. They usually come as a spray.
* The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified pet health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always make a pet health care decision in partnership with a qualified veterinary or pet health care professional.
*This article was updated on 19 Dec 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com.sg on 31 May 2016.