Cats, like humans, have an emotional makeup which can be affected by certain changes in environment or circumstance. If a beloved family member passes away, or even just leaves home, then, in the same way that you may go through a grieving process or feel down for a period of time before feeling more normal again, cats will similarly have a dip in their mood.
Other likely factors that can be causing various levels of sadness or depression in your cat can be related to illness or injury. Although cats love a long and relaxing sleep, they also need to be able to be active to feel like they have had a properly fulfilling day. If they have picked up an illness or are in physical pain through an injury then, as well as this already being unpleasant in itself, it might also have the knock on effect of making your cat feel fed up, disheartened and generally unhappy.
Of course it can be difficult to locate the precise cause of sadness or depression in your cat, as emotions are a complex matter which cannot always be boiled down to one thing. There are however at least certain signs to look out for which at least can signal when your cat might be in need of a bit of added care and attention to help them through a low period.
Cats do like their rest and relaxation. But if you notice that your cat is staying in one position longer than usual and not choosing to stretch, play, explore or move about at all, then this may be a sign that it is feeling unhappy.
Not eating food
A happy and healthy cat will show clear enthusiasm when it is time for feeding, rushing over to you and circling around your legs when they sense that the food is about to come. A cat that is not showing any interest in their food is definitely not a happy cat. If this comes at a time when you suspect your cat might be missing someone then this should be a warning sign that mood levels are at a low.
This is an aspect of your cat’s behaviour that has to be judged on an individual basis, as some cats are naturally more shy or nervous than others, especially rescue cats. However, if you see a distinct drop off in affection and confidence in your cat then this should tell you that something is the matter.
Loud and Aggressive
On the other hand, rather than retiring into shyness, a cat may also show its unhappiness by becoming louder or more aggressive than usual. You should not take this as a show of your cat being upset with you, but it may just be upset in general and be acting out.
In these cases, once you know that your cat is under the weather, then you can take action here and there to try and help him or her get back to winning ways. If it is an issue with physical health, then this might simply be a case of making sure your cat is eating enough food, and sticking rigorously to any recommendations made by your veterinarian in terms of any supplementary nutrition, medicine or pain relief that needs to be administered.
In the case of a cat falling into a case of temporary depression through the departure of a family member, there is no direct remedy, but it is important in these times to give your cat a lot of extra love and attention in order to alleviate the feelings of sadness that might be troubling your pet. This also of course has the added benefit of being a calming experience for you if you are also going through a similarly low period.