Can Cats Get Depressed? Signs, Causes & How to Treat It

Can cats get depressed? That’s the question I know many people are wondering about and may not really have a straight answer. Yes, cats do get depressed. Stress and depression in cats is a serious condition and needs to be treated immediately to avoid further complications. If you suspect your cat may be dealing with stress, read on to get some tips on how to handle the situation and help your cat.
Animal behaviorists point out that in most cases pets get into depression whenever they are faced with events that are out of their control. These are usually life changing events. For instance, being moved from a home they are used to, a companion passing on or even when a pet owner has to return to work. Other events that could trigger stress and depression in a cat include;

Can cats get depressed
can cats get depressed
  • When the owner decides to add a new pet to the household

  • Disturbance from stray cats moving about in the yard

  • Disruption in the normal setting of the family such as divorce

  • Arrival of a new baby in the home

  • A cat owner going out on a vacation or holidays

  • Construction ongoing in the home

Ideally stress leads to depression and which may be as a result of a cat not being able to do things associated with cats. For instance, a cat will be frustrated and eventually get depressed when unable to do things like hunting, playing and climbing.

Can cats get depressed is a question already answered? Now we have help you notice when your cat is stressed. Symptoms of depression in cats are varied however any one of the below should raise a red flag and prompt you to take her for a check-up

  • Often hiding in the cupboard, under the bed or staying away from you

  • You may notice scratches on the door frames, the walls or on furniture in the house

  • If there are other cats in the house, you will notice she is constantly fighting with the others

  • Refusing to the eat their usual food or a lack of interest in food generally

  • Eating more than usual

  • Being less playful, not active

  • Urinating on furniture and walls probably as a way of marking their territories

  • Too much grooming to the point of causing bald marks on the body

  • Extremely vocal

Can Cats Get Depressed? There are times you may notice your cat is behaving in a certain manner but you just dismiss it a passing phase. Well, this is something that you should refrain from doing because it may not be just a phase that will pass with time. Your cat may be quite depressed and needs immediate help.  Here are some of the signs that should never be overlooked.

Scratching on door frames, walls and furniture in your home

This is one of the signs that can easily be missed. This is because it’s normal for a cat to scratch on walls and furniture from time to time. However, when the scratching is more than usual it could be an indication of stress. The cat may be scratching all over the walls and furniture as a way of relieving stress. Similarly, the cat could be feeling insecure and do so to mark territories.

Can Cats Get Depressed

If you have other cat pets, there is constant fighting with them

A sad and depressed cat gets easily irritated and angry. The cat will just not want to associate with anyone including other cats in the house and even the owner. As a result, the cat will hiss, growl or end up attacking whoever tries to disturb her.

Hiding more often

Your cat may be sad and stressed out if you notice that she is often hiding and shunning your company. It is a sign that all is not well when your usually social and playful cat looks withdrawn. The reason why a depressed cat will go hide under furniture and the bed is to avoid having to deal with other pets in the house and people. Similarly, the cat will avoid any show of affection with you such as cuddling.

Eating more than usual

One of the behaviors humans portray when they are faced with depression is overeating.  This also happens to depressed cats. A cat will overeat as a way of dealing with and relieving stress.

Loss of appetite or being picky with food

A happy and healthy cat will definitely have a good appetite. However, if your cat is not interested in food as it usually is then there is a problem. Also, a cat that refuses to eat its usual food could be going through a depressing situation.

Spraying on walls and furniture

This is another sign that is often overlooked. If you notice your cat is urinating in places other than her litter box, consider taking her for a checkup. The cat will tend to urinate in places that are sentimental to her such as your bedroom or where there is scent of a deceased companion.

Can Cats Get Depressed

Less active

We all know that cats love to sleep from time to time but this doesn’t mean that they do not play, run around the house and hunt. If your cat seems to sleep most of the time and is less interested in activities that she normally enjoys then this should raise a red flag.

Extremely vocal

Your cat may express sadness by being more vocal than usual. For instance, yowling especially at night when everyone is trying to sleep.

Over grooming

Changes in grooming habits are definitely a sign your cat could be depressed. A depressed cat may actually neglect grooming and end up looking messy with dandruff and oil on the coat and knots in the hair. Similarly, some other cats will tend to over groom. This could irritate the skin, leave bald patches behind or even cause open wounds.

Treatment of depression in cats

There are cat calming products like Feliway.

FELIWAY comforts and reassures cats and kittens, reducing signs of stress such as urine spraying, scratching, fighting or hiding.

As a veterinarian I highly recommend Feliway.

Reduces urine spraying in 9/10 cats. Can see results within 7 days.

Feliway can be used together with calm food or calming collar for more positive results.

Can Cats Get Depressed
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Can Cats Get Depressed
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FELIWAY MultiCat works to relieve tension and conflict between cats.

The pheromone in FELIWAY MultiCat mimics the cat appeasing pheromone,

naturally produced by the mother cat after giving birth, ‘

which encourages social bonding and comforts and calms cats.

  • #1 brand used and recommended by veterinarians
  • use together with calm food  or calming collar for more positive results.


SENTRY Calming Collars contain a pheromone that is scientifically proven to help reduce excessive meowing, marking & scratching.
30 DAY COLLAR: One calming collar continues to release the pheromone for your cat for up to 30 days to helps cats and kittens feel safe and secure.
Use together with calm food  or Feliway for more positive results.

Can Cats Get Depressed
buy now
Can Cats Get Depressed
Buy now

ROYAL CANIN VETERINARY DIET Feline CALM dry is a highly digestible, palatable, complete and balanced adult cat food formulated to meet the nutritional needs of cats facing stress-related digestive, skin and urinary sensitivities.
Use together with feliway or calming collar for more positive results.

Can Cats Get Depressed

I have heard several questions from pet owners. Can cats get depressed? What Can I do in this case? Can depression in cats lead to other health issues? All these questions can be answered with a single word, ‘’Yes’’. As stated above, you just have to understand your cat from bottom up and know how to deal with this issue.  I hope the information contained in this brief can really make you understand your cat and be able to deal with this state.

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