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sarahny's avatar

Is it possible for a cat to get depressed?

Asked by sarahny (526 points ) October 22nd, 2009

My cat Pixie disappeared 2 weeks ago and ever since then my other cat Samson hasn’t really been eating. He now looks like a bag of bones. How can I help him?

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17 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Quite possible. This will sound odd, but sit down with Samson and tell him that you feel bad about Pixie and Pixie may or may not come back, but you love him.

Then buy the stinkiest, wetest food you can buy. Canned mackeral is a good one. Give over all worries about expense. This is about encouraging Samson’ appetite.

Spend extra time petting and playing Samson. Get some new toys of his favorite. Us interactive fishing pole toys so he gets to hunt something.

I hope things improve or your other kitty comes back.

dpworkin's avatar

Not in the complex psychodynamic way that a human can, but certainly cats can have subdued moods, which are a sign of some disruption in the domestic environment or in some cases, illness.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I used to have a cat named Peanut who was best friends with our dog Cocoa – he was practically in love with him for all of his 9–10 years of life. When Cocoa died, Peanut got very depressed and was definitely not himself for a period of a few weeks. During that time he also developed eating problems, and in this case it turned out my cat was diabetic. He probably had been suffering for some time, but the death of my dog seemed to be so traumatic for him that it made his symptoms more apparent.

So, yes, I do believe it’s possible for cats to get depressed. However, I don’t think these feelings will last very long – your cat will probably get over his depression in a few more weeks. In that time, be very careful about his health, which (from my experience) can be very vulnerable during periods of mourning. Try to feed him his all-time favorite foods. High-protein foods like tuna are good, or even kitten food, which I think has more fats than adult cat food. If you have to, take him to the vet.

Other than that, just give him a lot of attention and make sure he feels loved. I hope Pixie comes back, but if he doesn’t, you and Samson have to be there for each other.

Jeruba's avatar

Cats definitely pine when they lose someone, a person or another cat. We have observed this many times. The remaining cat may act droopy and clingy, may cry, may adopt the missing one’s favorite napping spots, and may even take up some of its behaviors. When one of our cats died suddenly of a heart attack, the other kept a post at the back door every night for at least a week, waiting for him to come home.

F1's avatar

It depends where you stamp on it.

rangerr's avatar

I work at a pet store, and we get a lot of cats that come in with their kittens for the adoption center. When the kittens get taken, and the mom is left alone for a few days, they always seem to just want to lay there and not eat. I definitely think they can get depressed.

Play with Samson, pet him, cuddle him, spoil him. Make him feel loved.

As for not eating, like @Marina said, get the nastiest food you can find, and even coax him to it with some treats.

syz's avatar

Cats that stop eating can develop a very serious condition known as hepatic lipidosis. It’s fairly common and often lethal. I would recommend a trip to the vet ASAP.

sarahny's avatar

Thank you so much for all of the responses! I’m going to buy him some stinky wet food tomorrow :)

SpatzieLover's avatar

@sarahny I hope he licks it up for you. Fancy Feast is one most cats can’t ignore. Cans of fish for people (as @Marina pointed out) work well.

Some ideas from The Whole Pet Diet for cats:

*Boiled/simmered Turkey or Chicken Livers
*Raw or soft boiled egg
*Dollop of cottage cheese
*Slivers of meat (chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or fish)
*Teaspoon of organic yogurt (or olive oil or meat based baby food)

The B5 (Pantothenic Acid) in the organ meats, eggs, & salt water fish can help reduce anxiety and relieve depression naturally.

Of course, cuddling, cooing and a nice warm place to sleep might help ease Sampson, too.

Yes, it’s possible for any animal to suffer depression

proXXi's avatar

Possible?? What cat isn’t depressed?

sliceswiththings's avatar

My two [female] cats lived together for thirteen years as mortal enemies. The old cat would hiss and lash out at the younger cat every time she got too close. Surprisingly, the old cat started acting funny last winter when the younger cat died. We’d catch her looking under the rocking chair where Gracie used to sleep and stuff, seemly searching for her. Ever since, the old girl cries every night. I think that even though she hated Gracie, she liked the company.

She still cries at night, but she’s also become really affectionate for the first time in her life. I read in American Girl magazine when I was nine that cats say “I love you” by slowly blinking. Try it!

Jeruba's avatar

@sliceswiththings, have you thought about getting the old girl a kitten?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@sliceswiththings I’m with @Jeruba _I even bought my late dog a guinea pig. She clearly wanted to be a mama but 1) was spayed & 2) had a life threatening illness. It cheered her so

beatthelastboss's avatar

Hmm… Perhaps your cat isn’t depressed… Tell me, when was the last time you had your cat CONFUSED?

sliceswiththings's avatar

Oops late on the game. @Jeruba and @SpatzieLover do you really think it would work? I feel like she’d get mean all over again. Maybe not a cat?

Theby's avatar

I am even later on the game but I have to disagree with @pdworkin. Cats DO get VERY depressed. I once had to leave a cat in New Zealand because I had to return to Australia fast. I could not take the cat with me there and then as the people I were to stay with has a dog. My cat was ex-feral and very timid. My cat waited by the garage for me to come home. I was told he would not eat and waited there for 2 weeks! Nobody could catch him. Eventually he grew so weak he was easily caught and had to be euthanased. Cats feel depression alright, just as humans do.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

My pet cats could never become depressed.
Spoiled maybe, but never depressed!

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