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Cat depression is real as human depression. Granted, our feline friends don’t feel despondency the way we do but they do get sad from time to time.
Knowing when your kitty is in this state can be a real challenge. Cats are experts at hiding their emotions. They act strong when sick and retreat when things aren’t going too well with them.
However, a keen parent will tell when their furbaby is going through depression.
Some of the tell-tale signs include lack of appetite, extreme or decreased grooming, sleeping too much, avoiding or not looking for physical contact, and lack of interest in play.
When you notice these symptoms, here are 10 things to do to cheer your kitty up.
1. Find The Root Cause
The earlier you get to the root cause of your kitty’s issue, the higher your chances of raising your kitty’s spirit.
- Could it be that your furball is not happy about the changed position of her litter box?
- Are you changing the litter too soon or too late?
- Is the recent move affecting her enough to make her depressed?
- How about her health? Any chance she is sick and needs medical help?
You can find the solution just by understanding what is affecting your kitty in the first place.
2. Create A Routine and Stick To It
Cats are creatures of routines according to feline experts. They thrive well when they know what to expect and at what time.
A change in your kitty’s eating, playing, and grooming routine is bound to upset her greatly.
This can be something as little as moving her feeding bowl or something as big as moving houses.
Take a look at your cat’s schedule and find out if you are confusing her in one way or another.
Determine if her meals are served at the same time every day or spread at random.
How about her play time with you? Do you have a set schedule for the same?
If something isn’t working like clockwork regarding your cat, correct it and watch your kitty cheer up.
3. Play With Your Cat
When you are depressed, doing something that is physically involving always helps get you off the rut.
Cats, too, can temporarily forget about what’s making them blue if they get active.
When you sense that your adorable feline friend is down, encourage her to get out of her comfort zone and play with you.
Chances are that she won’t want anything to do with physical activity. Don’t force her to do anything.
Instead, pull out your best tricks of encouraging her to get up and play with you.
Try giving treats, playing her favorite games, and being patient.
If nothing works, let the cat be and try again at a different time.
Make time daily to play with her and try to stick to a routine she can identify with.
4. Groom The Cat Daily
According to a vet and founder of Just Cats Veterinary Services, cats spend about 50% of their waking hours grooming themselves. That’s a lot of time spent licking and scratching.
Our friends groom to communicate, get their blood circulating better, wade off predators, shed loose hair, and stay cool, among many other reasons.
When a kitty wants to bond with another, she will also groom them.
If you groom your cat at a time when she is down, she will relax and feel a sense of peace and calmness. That can help elevate her mood to a greater extent.
Grab a soft comb and entice your kitty to come over for a grooming session.
Keep the habit going daily until she learns to look forward to it. You have no idea what difference that can bring to her mood.
5. Spice Up Your Cat’s Meals
Part of the reason your cat loves you so much is that you provide an endless source of fresh food and water.
Well, she adores you for your friendship as well but mostly because you are a never-failing provider of her basic needs – especially food.
Why not take advantage of this fact and use the kitty’s meals to cheer her up when she’s down?
Unless she is sick, she will have a hard time saying no to a bowl of her favorite meal.
Perhaps that is tuna, yogurt, or fish. Serve it and try to encourage her to eat.
While she does, stay by her side and talk to her in a calm assuring voice. That may be all she needs to be alive again.
6. Get Enjoyable Toys
Switching up your kitty’s toys can also help her get out of her state of depression.
According to Paws.org, our four-legged friends enjoy a wide range of toys including Ping-Pong balls, plastic rolling balls, round plastic shower curtain rings, sisal-wrapped toys, paper bags, and empty cardboard rolls.
If you are lacking any of these, now would be a good time to update your collection.
Toys that bring out the predatory instinct of your kitty are also recommended. These include laser mice toys and feathers on a string.
Check the following posts for more options:
7. Offer Stress-Relieving Spots
Bored cats can easily become depressed. An ingenious way to get cheer them up is to provide scratching posts and climbing towers.
When a cat scratches, she will feel a little calm. If you don’t have a scratching post, your furniture will act as the alternative.
A kitty equally loves climbing and staying perched on high surfaces. Both can greatly help with mood elevation.
8. Take The Cat Outside
Just like humans, cats can greatly benefit from the outdoors when stress and depression hit.
Something happens when your kitty tastes fresh air and sees things beyond those she sees at home on a daily basis.
Even if you own an indoor cat, plan on taking her outside a few hours a day.
If you are afraid that harm will come upon your cat, consider creating a better view by the window or the balcony.
Make sure there is endless entertainment for the pet when she wants to look outside.
9. Use Catnip
Well, not all cats react positively to catnip but if yours does, you can utilize this strategy.
The feeling makes cats feel good and can help with depression.
10. Get Another Cat
Sometimes no matter what you do, your cat will not liven up when she’s depressed.
For instance, if she’s mourning another cat or dog, she may be inconsolable until a replacement is brought around.
Another cat provides a good friend to play and groom with. Jumping around and chasing each other around the house endlessly can cheer the depressed fella permanently.
Before putting the two cats together, follow the rules of introducing two felines.
Some don’t hit it off right away. In such a case, another cat will do more harm than good.
Only let the cat hang out together after a smooth and relatively long introduction.
There it is – 10 strategies to cheer up a depressed cat.
Try a few of these and see which one your kitty will respond to.
If you come up empty, consider taking the kitty to the vet.
She may just be suffering from a medical condition that needs expert help.
Hi! I am Eleanor Price. I started this website after my cat, Louie, almost died from a case of botulism (a type of food poisoning often caused by bacteria that grow on food items). Turned out that my cat’s diet was the problem. I have made it my duty to provide the best information and recommendations about everything cat lovers need to know about their felines’ health and wellbeing. My goal is to find the most informative content on anything feline-related and share it with fellow hardworking kitty lovers.
Disclaimer: While I ensure that the advice and tips given here are in line with the latest evidence-based veterinary information and health guidelines, under no circumstance should you misconstrue my suggestions as medical advice. Please contact your veterinarian in all matters regarding your kitty’s health.