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Spotting signs of depression and anxiety in cats

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How to know if your cat is depressed?

Cats are creatures of habit and they enjoy having a routine. Some cats can become unsettled if something in their environment or daily routine changes.

How cats may show signs of stress:

  • Increased vocalisation
  • Urinating outside of the litter tray
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Sleeping more
  • Hiding Excessive grooming
  • Eating less Sleeping more


If you are concerned that your cat is displaying these signs, you should visit your vet for advice and to rule out any potential health issues.

Suggestions for helping your cat overcome stress and anxiety:

  • Try to keep their routine similar when possible
  • Avoid relocating things in their environment
  • Provide safe havens to retreat to, this can be a cardboard box on its side. Include some familiar bedding, a toy and maybe some treats
  • Provide height as cats love to be able to climb and enjoy observing from a shelf with a good vantage point
  • Provide a litter tray away from food and water bowls
  • Food and water should be served away from each other
  • Make time to play – create interactive sessions for you and your cat. Initiate chase with balls of scrunched up paper, or catch using dried leaves.
  • Grooming - most cats love to be groomed and enjoy being combed and brushed as this increases their feeling of wellbeing and is a nice bonding moment for pet and owner
  • Hide and Seek - try hiding dry food kibbles around the home, or in a puzzle feeder, this is a great way of providing mental stimulation and physical exercise. Synthetic pheromones that mimic pheromones given off by the mother cat to make their kittens feel safe and secure are available from your vet and may help a stressed cat to relax
  • If your cat is part of a multi-cat household, it may help to reduce competition between the cats. This can be done by providing multiple feeding and drinking stations, extra litter trays, lots of hiding places and plenty of toys If you have any concerns and need more advice, your veterinary practice staff or pet behaviourists are available to help.

Try to keep their routine similar when possible.

Make time to play – create interactive sessions for you and your cat.
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