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Did you know that your cat can suffer from depression as well? Yes, depression doesn't judge. It afflicts us all equally although the reasons behind it might vary. For instance, your cat can get depressed due to the loss of a loved one or if you move to a new home. However, with careful monitoring, you will be able to spot the signs and intervene at the right time.
- Evaluate the situation – If you see any behavioral changes, make an appointment with the vet. You want to rule out any underlying medical conditions that might be responsible for your cat's depression. Tell your vet about any behavioral changes, like loss of appetite, erratic sleeping habits, and personality changes. Your vet will do a physical exam and might even go for a blood panel and additional testing. If there is no medical condition behind the melancholy, then your cat suffers from feline depression.
- Take stock of recent changes – Look at your present situation and see if there have been any major changes that could have triggered off depression. Residence change is one of the most common reasons behind feline depression. A lot of cats have trouble transitioning to a new place. The death of someone near and dear can also lead to depression. Despite, popular opinion, cats do tend to get affected by a person's absence. Last, but not the least, check to see if you have become busier recently. Whether it is due to your social life or work, if you spend less time with your feline friend than usual, chances are that your cat will feel left out. Some of the cat breeds, like the Siamese, are very social creatures and tend to get depressed if they do not get their fair share of attention.
- Is it that time of the year again? - Seasonal affective disorder is something that can affect cats as well. There's lesser sunlight during the winters, which is something that can cause depression in cats. If the personality of your cat seems to change with a change in season, then seasonal depression is the most likely cause. And there's a scientific reason behind this. The amount of available sunlight affects the serotonin and melatonin levels in your cat's body. This can lead to anxiety, fatigue and sadness. If your cat is used to spending a lot of time outdoors, then it will affect him even more.
If your cat seems to be sleeping more than usual, or has inexplicable dips in energy, then there is something clearly wrong. Excessive vocalization is also an indicator that he is trying for your attention. And finally, if your cat is over/under eating or over/under grooming, then it is a telltale sign of anxiety. Take him to the vet before the signs become more visible.