Body language, appetite, grooming habits, and other clues that can reveal if your cat is depressed

Quina Baterna
Is your cat depressed?Tim King/Unsplash

While some cats like to keep to themselves, some cats can be quite loving and gracious with their affection. Many cat lovers know how concerning it is when a cuddly furball suddenly turns quiet.

Unlike children, most cat owners can't just ask their furbabies what's wrong with them. Often, it's hard to tell if a cat is feeling ill or if they're feeling depressed.

Clues if Your Cat Is Depressed

If you wonder if your furry friend is depressed, here are a few clues.

Body Language

One of the easiest ways to tell when your cat is feeling depressed is with their body. Often, a cat's body will exhibit key positions when they are depressed.

For example, depressed cats tend to be very tense. Depressed cats will often flatten their body a lot, with their tails tucked close to their body. In addition, their ears will also tend to be flattened against their head.

Poor Appetite

Similar to humans, cats love to munch down on their favorite treats. When they're happy, they're likely their favorite to enjoy food, every day.

Unfortunately, a depressed cat often loses interest in the things that used to make them happy, including their favorite food. If you notice that your cat hasn't been touching their treats, it may be going through depression.

Changes in Grooming Habits

While some cat owners will argue that their furbabies can be messy, cats are famously known for their cleanliness. Whether it's grooming too much or too little, drastic changes in grooming habits can be a sign that something with your cat is off.

Over or under grooming signal high stress levels, illness, or even depression.

Excessive Scratching

Scratching is a normal, instinctive behavior for cats at every age. Through scratching, cats mark objects with their scent, remove dead parts of their nails, or even just get a good stretch.

However, excessive scratching is also a sign of intense emotions. Occasionally, these are positive emotions like excitement. Other times, it can be negative emotions like stress or depression.

Frequent Urination in the Wrong Places

Urinating outside the litter box is a big clue that they're not feeling like their best self.

While there are many reasons why a cat may urinate in inappropriate places, cats that do so in places where you or other pets sleep, eat, or frequently stay in are making a point or crying for help.

Keep Your Cat Happy

If you find that your cat is unhappy, there are several reasons why, such as illness, injury, or changes in their routines. Contrary to popular belief, cats can also be very attached to their owners and other animals in their household. Many cat owners report depression in cats after moving homes, changing furniture, or the death of another household member or pet.

If you notice any symptoms of depression in your cat, it's best to bring them to the vet to rule out any potential issues.

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Quina is a writer, cat mom and artist. Her greatest joys in life are creating remarkable experiences and writing about them.


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