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Do cats get sad or depressed?

Cats are famous for being independent yet playful, but what if your cat seems sad? Here, our Rainbow City vets explain the signs of depression in cats, the potential causes of cat depression, and how it can be treated.

Do cats get sad?

Like us, our feline family members can suffer from mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Depression in cats can be caused by various factors, such as changes in their environment, illness, or even genetics.

Signs That Your Cat May Be Depressed

Cats are known for their independent and self-sufficient nature, which can make it difficult to spot signs of depression. However, some common signs of feline depression include:
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Disinterested in social interaction with humans or other pets
  • Low energy or lack of interest in play
  • Lethargy or sleeping more than usual
  • Character changes such as uncharacteristic aggression or irritability
  • Neglect of grooming and hygiene
  • Increased vocalization, such as constant meowing or yowling
  • Hiding or seeking isolation

Causes of Depression in Cats

There are a number of reasons why cats can seem sad or depressed. Some of the most common include:

Change in Environment

Cats can become depressed when there is a significant change in their environment, such as a move to a new home, loss of a companion animal, or the arrival of a new pet or baby.

Illness or Pain

Cats can become depressed when they are suffering from an underlying medical condition, such as arthritis or dental problems, which can cause them pain and discomfort.

Lack of Stimulation

Cats are active animals that require physical and mental stimulation. Boredom or lack of mental stimulation can lead to depression in cats.

Separation Anxiety

Cats can become attached to their owners and suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods.

How can I help my cat to feel better?

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from depression, it's essential to seek veterinary care immediately.

Your veterinarian will give your cat a complete physical examination to rule out any underlying medical conditions then recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include:


Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications be prescribed to help manage your kitty's depression.

Behavior Modification

If you're cat's mood is related to lack of stimulation or boredom, behavior modification techniques may be suggested such as environmental enrichment, increased playtime, and interactive toys may help alleviate boredom.

Dietary Change

Your cat's diet plays an important role in their overall health and well-being. Your veterinarian may recommend dietary changes or supplements to help boost your cat's mood and energy levels.

Alternative & Complementary Therapies

In some cases alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and aromatherapy may be recommended as a way to help improve your cat's mood and well-being. Often these treatments may be paired with conventional treatments such as medications.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Does your cat seem sad or depressed? Our Rainbow City vets are here to help. Contact Central Valley Animal Hospital today to schedule an examination for your feline family member.

New Patients Welcome

Central Valley Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Rainbow City companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (256) 442-2542