Do cats get depression?

Yes, cats can experience the same emotions people do and they can get the blues just like people. Cats can become anxious or depressed based on changes to their lifestyle, such as the introduction of a baby or a new pet, a move to a new house, or a change in diet. The death of another animal in the house to which the cat was close can easily cause depression or neurosis as well. My current cat experienced this problem, becoming highly and irrationally afraid of strangers and sudden movements or noises for several years after witnessing her littermate get hit by a car.


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What are the symptoms?

In cats, it has a lot of symptoms that are pretty much the same as in people, only translated to cats - a lack of appetite, sleeping constantly (even for a cat), failing to groom itself, lack of interest in toys or play, and generally seeming moody and less friendly. These are also symptoms for a number of diseases, so if your cat suddenly has a mood change like this you should always see a vet.

What is the treatment?

First, remove the source of stress if you can, or distract the cat if you can't. Many of the lifestyle changes aren't going to be optional. You can't get rid of your new baby or move back into your old home because your cat is unhappy. You can, however, pay more attention to the cat, play with it more, and generally make it feel at home in the changed environment.

Second, you can get antidepressants for your cat. Drugs such as prozac and one used in cats called buspar can make your cat feel better and happier. They're usually only prescribed in more severe cases, but sometimes the cat is just so miserable that it's worth it in terms of the improvement of the cat's quality of life. Cats may actually start mutilating themselves if they are having severe mental issues (mainly by repeatedly biting at their tails or other parts of their body).

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