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What are the signs of a depressed cat?

Even though we choose our companions to share both our happy and sad moments with them, or we chose to have a cat or a dog when we were down, hoping that they would help us feel better, you should know that cats can be depressed too. Because of that, we will present to you some signs that can mean that you have a depressed cat and you should reach for help as soon as you can.

#1 Swishing or twitching its tail

An upset cat has a major tell: Its tail. A happy kitty‘s tail moves like a soft feather duster, but a sad or depressed cat may issue quick, hard strikes with its tail, says Danielle Bernal, a veterinarian. Do a little investigation to find the source of their discomfort. “Cats are creatures of habit and do not like change, so start by addressing any recent changes,” she says.

#2 Scratching your hand

“When your feline friend resorts to the claws coming out and a quick swipe in frustration, you will know its mood is going down,” Dr. Bernal says. It doesn’t mean your cat is innately cranky or chronically depressed, just that it’s having a tough moment. Handle them like you would a sad child. She also says that time spent with you is good for your cat and in situations like this, you would help her a lot. You can go for frequent walks together and use the great cat leash for complete safety, it can be found here.

#3 Looking away on the window

It is so true that your cat misses you when you are gone, and that can turn into depression if you’re gone often. It is a common misconception that cats are indifferent to humans; in fact, they want to bond with their owners and be included as members of the family. Engaging in active play on a regular basis helps to solidify the bond between human and cat.

#4 Climbing the walls

Unlike their human counterparts, cats literally go off the wall (or your curtains from time to time) when they’re upset. This bad behavior, particularly when they have been properly trained to follow your house rules, can be a sign of depression. Their bad mood might be stemming from boredom, so make sure you’re providing plenty of stimulation for a depressed cat (or any cat, for that matter), Dr. Bernal says. “Make sure your home looks like a cat lives there, cat toys, climbing trees, cozy beds, toys, and scratching posts,” she says.

#5 Pooping in strange places

If your cat is trained well and this never happened before, then it is obvious that something is wrong with your cat and different issues can appear from here such as medical issues, a situational problem, or depression. It’s vitally important that you react in a positive way (even if that’s the last thing you feel when you step on a fresh pile of cat feces), Dr. Ogle says. “Because they are solitary animals, they lack the cognitive capability to interpret subtle social cues or to connect negative punishment to their specific action,” he says. Instead, use positive reinforcement to help a depressed cat and make sure its litter box is clean and easily accessible.

#6 Hissing and Spitting

When you see the stereotypical signs of a “mad cat“, hissing, spitting, back arched, claws out, it isn’t so much a sign of anger as it is their way of saying they are generally upset. To deal with this behavior, you need to ignore the cat until she gets used to you and can see you’re not a threat.

#7 Scratching your furniture

If your cat isn’t normally a destroyer of furniture but has recently started shredding your drapes, your kitty could be stressed out, which may look like depression to worried human owners. You can also use a cat pheromone diffuser or spray to calm your cat in a natural way.

#8 Becoming needy

Cats are known for being aloof, independent, and moody, but in reality, every cat has its own personality, and it’s a change you need to be most concerned about, Dr. Bernal says. “Many cat owners talk about how their cat curls up in their lap, smooches them in the morning, and is the perfect companion,” she says. “Should this suddenly change, then don’t put it down to the fact she is just being a cat, it may be the first sign that they are depressed.”

#9 Ignoring you

Avoiding people isn’t necessarily a sign your cat is depressed, but turning away from you or ignoring you can be. When cats don’t like someone new, like the friends you are bringing home, your lover or anyone who is new to them, they can refuse to look at you, ignoring you and showing you they are upset. You don’t need to force interaction, a depressed cat will come around to new people when it’s good and ready.

#10 Spraying your walls or furniture

Cats are very territorial and see your house and yard as their kingdom, so when someone “invades” their space, it can tank their mood. “Things like claw marks on furniture and urine spray on walls are simply fresh boundary lines your cat sets when it feels like its territory was threatened by an intruder”. “The intruder could be anything from a mouse in the cupboard to a change in routine.” If removing the intrusion isn’t an option (you aren’t about to kick out your new baby, for instance), try to keep as many things constant for your depressed cat as possible. 

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