Important: Use A Cat Sitter During Your Holiday
Your cat can feel quite alone during the loss of their normal routine when you are away. So: If you go on a holiday, ask your personal cat sitter to not only give your cat their usual fresh water, food and cat litter, but also sufficient time to play and attention. A Pawshake sitter can come by your house once or twice a day or stay overnight.
A home visit by a sitter from Pawshake takes on average a half an hour to an hour and a half, during which your cat sitter can play with your cat, cuddle or simply sit on the couch together. Not all cats want to play with a cat sitter immediately and might run away and hide. This does not necessarily mean that your cat prefers to be alone, they just might need some time to adjust to their new human friend. Tips for when you go on holidays:
- Don’t move your cat to a new location if you can prevent it
- Keep to your cat’s normal routine, but:
- Don’t force your cat to do anything they don’t want to
- Let your pet sitter play and cuddle with your cat
- Let your cat decide when to interact – give them space
- Provide a scratching post and several safe hiding spots
And the most important advice: don’t be offended if your cat doesn’t show that they missed you. We often attribute human emotions to a cat But a cat is a cat – who experiences the world in their own special way. So enjoy your cat’s natural, special, stubborn and always fascinating cat behaviour for what it is!
Cats Protect Us When Were In Danger
Our cats are always looking out for us. Cats have both been seen defending their owners from threats, big and small. Theyve been known to risk their lives for their owners. One kitty we know of fought off a poisonous snake and took the bite that was meant for her owner. Another helped save her entire family and the family dog!
How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Depressed
A cats symptoms of depression are all that you can expect lethargy, unkempt appearance, loss of appetite, sad eyes, withdrawn behavior, and even litter box misuse. Get your cat to the vet to make sure that there are no underlying health concerns as many of these behavioral changes can also be symptoms of disease.
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Some Of The Ways To Minimize Separation Anxiety In Cats Are As Follows:
- Leave the radio or TV on a station that is often on when youre there
- Keep arrivals and departures low key
- Create a nook, safe haven, or refuge for your cat that is their safe space
- Provide plenty of toys and/or puzzles for playtime while you are gone
- Channel prey instincts by hiding food in toys that make them work for it
- Start with shorter absences first
- Provide a perch or catio so that your cat can see their favorite views
- Consider a room diffuser or pheromones to provide a calming scent for your cat
- Remove departure cues put your keys in your pocket a few minutes before leaving)
- Provide plenty of cuddles and playtime once home
- For more serious cases, consider having a sitter coming for 1-2 play sessions during absences
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of checking with your veterinarian when you see any change in your cats behavior before you chalk it up to separation anxiety, as early treatment of illnesses is crucial to cat wellness. For example, some cats go outside the litter box when they have urinary tract infections.
In extreme cases, medication may be an option, but your vet will usually leave that as a final alternative. As the ASPCA notes: “Sometimes for cats, veterinarians will advise using pheromones or calming treats before prescribing medication. Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your dog or cat any type of medication or supplement for a behavior problem.”
Cat Depression: Nine Signs Of Depression In Cats
In case you didnt already know this, pet ownership is one way to deal with depression and mental illness. Many studies have shown time and time again that there are health benefits to having furry family members around.
A companion animal increases zest for life, motivation, and generally lessens the symptoms associated with mental health disorders in their humans. But what do you do if your cat is the one who needs the emotional support? Is cat depression real?
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Does A Cat Miss You When You’re Gone
Although your cat is ok to be alone for a little while and does sleep a lot during the day, it is a complete misconception that you can leave a cat alone for days. The mental and physical health of a cat depends on their daily dose of stimuli, both from mental and physical challenges. So please remember: a cat needs interaction with either familiar family pets and/or people. Cats that spend their days at home alone can become depressed, overweight and eventually even develop behavioral problems.
If you want to know how your cat behaves when they are alone, you can use a pet spy cam. With a pet camera, you can follow your cat’s movements remotely via an app. This is no substitute for human interaction from a cat sitter, though!
Watch a livestream of a kitten cam here. Beware: it’s addictive!
Can Cats Sense When Something Is Wrong
Like dogs, cats also have an uncanny ability to detect ailments and diseases as well. Cats also have an acute sense of smell and have the ability to sniff out a chemical change in the body caused by a disease. And both dogs and cats can also sense the change in mood, behavior and pattern that affect a daily routine.
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Warning Signs That Your Cat Is Depressed
Since most of these symptoms can also be signs of other underlying health problems, a visit with your veterinarian is recommended if you notice any of them. Ruling out another health problem and creating a plan for helping your cat cope with stress is the key to getting her health and happiness back on track.
Image Source: Holly Zade via Flickr.com
#1 LethargyCats are famous for their unwavering dedication to sleep, but an emotionally and physically healthy cat also enjoys occasional spurts of activity. A cat who is feeling well will want to stretch, play, explore, and hunt. Depression may be a factor if your cat is sleeping more than normal and uninterested in the things that normally excite her.
Image Source: Sachet Dube via Flickr.com
#2 Lack of AppetiteA healthy cat will also have a healthy appetite. Mealtime is the most exciting time of the day for most cats. In fact, many cats get so excited about mealtime that they circle around our legs as soon as the can lid pops, as if they havent eaten in years. Depressed cats, however, often lack appetites and excitement about food even when you break out the smelliest varieties.
Image Source: Takashi Hososhima via Flickr.com
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How To Know If My Cat Is Sad
A cat’s behavior can tell you about their mood, so, depending on how they move, you can know if they are happy, relaxed, fearful, and so on. Depression in cats can also be diagnosed by observing your friend but if you think this may be the case with your friend, it is best that you contact a vet who will help confirm the diagnosis and show you the best way to proceed in order to improve the animal’s quality of life. In this OneHowTo article we will show you how to know if a cat is sad giving you some tips to help you recognize the mood they’re in.
One of the simplest ways to know if a cat is sad is to observe their sleeping habits. Remember that, as a general rule, these animals sleep about 16 hours a day but when they are sad their sleeping time increases and they will look much more listless all day. Thanks to living with your cat, it will be easy for you to know roughly how long they usually sleep, so if you notice that it has recently increased, you may begin to sense that something is wrong.
Sadness or depression in a cat also affects their mealtimes as the animal will seem much more listless and lifeless. As with people, when we are downcast we sleep more and eat less, for animals it is exactly the same. But the opposite can also occur: they may begin to overeat to satisfy their distress, such behavior is obsessive and seeks to alleviate something that they feel they are lacking on an emotional level.
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Cats Love Us Even When Were Down
Many cats seem to know when their owners are sad or depressed, and react with affection or simply by spending more time nearby. Cats dont expect us to be always-on or perfect. They accept us no matter how bad we feel. There are many cases of cats that have grown closer to a sick family member and stayed by that persons side through their illness. Cats make great service animals at hospitals and senior centers. They just want our love and companionship they expect nothing in return.
Signs Of Cat Depression
Like people, cats can get depressed, but theres a lot you can do to help.
Now that you know cats can be depressed, you might be asking, How do I know if my cat is depressed?
Symptoms of depression in cats may include one or more of the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Having accidents outside the litter box
- Changed sleep patterns
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How Can I Make Sure My Cat Is Happy
Similar to humans, you can keep your cat happy by making sure all their basic needs are met and ensuring they have the opportunity to engage with humans, and different fun things like toys and activities on their own terms.
A healthy cat is a happy cat, so its important to make sure to cater to your cats emotional needs as well as helping to keep them physically fit and healthy.
Why Doesn’t Your Cat Come When Called
Even though your cat can readily discriminate sounds and cues, like their name, that doesn’t say anything about how they will respond.
Although you may really want your kitty to come whenever you beckon, cats may find themselves already busy. How, and when, a cat responds likely depends on their kitty nature, motivation, and current feelings. When you’re not offering nummies or play sessions, the sound of their name is just not as big of a motivator as you think it should be. Is your cat sunbathing? Or is your cat in a deep sleep in their favorite hiding spot? Those are times when your fancy feline is likely to pick what they are currently doing over whatever you want them to do .
“All-too-often we expect cats to respond immediately the way dogs do. Owners who compare the two are really doing a disservice to both species. Love and appreciate cats for who they are and stop measuring them against dogs,” says Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC, author and owner of Cat Behavior Associates, LLC.
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Swishing And Twitching Its Tail
An upset cat has a major tell: Its tail. A happy kittys 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 with Wellness Natural Pet Food. Do a little investigating 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. Need more help decoding your kittys wishes? Check out these 17 things your cat wishes it could tell you.
Do Cats Copy Their Owners Emotions
Cats are intelligent animals and also have long memories. They watch and learn from the humans around them and take a mental note of the patterns of our actions. This is shown by cats knowing where their food is kept and when they can expect to be fed, how to open a cupboard door that someone hasnt closed properly, where their food bowls are and where they should go to the toilet.
But they can also take on some of our human habits too. A study of 3,000 cat owners found that particular personality traits that are more dominant in owners were also displayed by their cats. For instance, owners who were extrovert owned cats who enjoyed being outside more. Meanwhile, particularly neurotic people will likely have cats who also demonstrate these behavioural problems.
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Cats Copy Their Owners Emotions
Another study from the journal of Animal Cognition showed that cats react differently based on their owners reaction.
The way the scientists tested this was simple. The cat and its owner were put into a room with a fan that had ribbons attached to it. If the owner acted like the fan was no big deal, so did the cat.
If the owner panicked and showed fear, the cat took its cue from the owner again and did the same thing.
If you have children, this might sound familiar! Often when toddlers fall over, scuff a knee, or clonk their head, theres a delayed reaction before they cry or brush themselves off.
The parent runs over and usually tells the kid that theyre okay and magically theres the crying stops. If the parent rushes over in a panic, screaming, the child is likely to do the same.
Cats have a tendency to do this too!
You might have observed your cat running up to you during a loud thunderstorm, checking in to see if they need to worry.
As long as we play it cool, they usually do too. So its no surprise that cats comfort us when weve got the blues.
Theyre tuned into us just like were tuned into them.
How To Help A Depressed Cat
First, you should visit your veterinarian to rule out any underlying illnesses. They can also help determine the best approach to helping your cat, which could include anti-anxiety medication. Other things you can do to help a depressed cat include:
- Stick to a routine. Cats are not fans of uncertainty, so having steady times for meals, cuddles, and playtime can help them feel more comfortable and relaxed.
- Play with them. A depressed cat may not be inclined to play, but its worth trying to engage them with a favorite toy or activity.
- Shower them with love. If your cat isnt seeking you out for attention, go find them. Approach them gently and see if theyll accept a good scratching behind the ears.
- Enhance their meals. If your cat isnt eating enough, ask your veterinarian for advice on enticing them with added chicken broth or tuna water. These options also add liquid to your cats diet, which can help prevent dehydration.
- Turn on the tunes. Your cat may enjoy the calming sound of classical music, especially if their depression is coupled with anxiety. Or perhaps something livelier would spark some energy and encourage them to play.
While you may be able to cheer your cat up, you may not be able to shake them out of their depression completely. They may still need time to process a life change or recover from the event that triggered their sadness. Dont hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian with any concerns.
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Cats Are Both Solitary And Social
It’s true that cats are solitary beings: they know how to take good care of themselves. This also means that they don’t necessarily depend on people when it comes to attachment and security. Research has shown that cats don’t show signs of separation anxiety when their owner is away. Some cat owners know this: you return from a holiday but your cat acts pretty indifferently! Other cats even behave like they are “offended” and pretend not to see you at all.
But many cats are very happy when their owners come home. They meow, come and sit on your lap or on your keyboard … Some cats follow their owners everywhere around the house.And this makes sense. Because although cats were originally solitary hunters, they learnt to live in groups under the influence of human society and urbanisation. Many cats are therefore quite social, and need company and interaction with other people and animals.
Causes Of Feline Depression
Cats can become depressed when they are feeling upset, anxious or fearful about something in their environment, such as major changes in the household, an addition of a baby, adopting new pets or workers in the home.
Almost anything could cause depression in cats, but some of the most common causes of a sad cat include:
- Health problems
- Bored or understimulated
- Change in schedule/owner not home as much
- Ways to Help Cats with Depression
If your cat is acting down in the dumps, the very first thing to do is to bring him to the vet for a complete physical examination. If your cat gets a clean bill of health from the vet, its time to think about other reasons your cat might be experiencing stress, and as a result, signs of depression.
Some stressful things, like construction workers in the house, are transient. If your cat is upset about something in his environment thats only temporary, do your best to help your cat find some peace and quiet, perhaps in a back room with soothing music playing to drown out sounds from the rest of the house.
If new humans or pets have recently joined the family, time is often all it takes for most cats to adjust to the new dynamic. You can help by using cat appeasing pheromones like Feliway, which are available as sprays, collars or plug-in diffusers, can help to calm cats. Giving all pets their own space, feeding separately and keeping enough litter boxes in the house , can also help.
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