How to Treat Cat Depression

By Susan Paretts

The loss of a beloved human or furry companion affects not only humans emotionally but cats as well. Your cat may become depressed after the loss of a housemate, moping around your home during his period of grief and sleeping more than usual. A cat that is ill, bored, obese, ignored or lonely can also become depressed. Without treatment, continuing depression can compromise your cat's immune system, leading to serious health problems. While some cats may require only a little extra attention to cheer them up, others may need more involved methods to get them out of depression.

Bring your cat to the veterinarian for an exam to rule out any illnesses or health conditions. Many of the symptoms of feline depression -- such as lethargy, lack of appetite, excessive hiding, unusual vocalizations and elimination issues -- can be caused by a variety of medical conditions.

Consult with your veterinarian about possibly putting your cat on an antidepressant medication once he is given a clean bill of health. These medications, including diazepam and fluoxetine, are prescribed to cats experiencing extended periods of depression.

Spritz a synthetic cat pheromone spray around your home to lift your cat's spirits. These pheromones mimic your cat's natural facial pheromones and help to soothe him.

Add a few drops of a natural flower essence in your cat's food or water. These herbal remedies are sold in pet supply stores and may help to improve your cat's mood naturally.

Give your cat toys to play with. Play with him using cat toys on strings that you can wave in front of him or battery-powered toys that move automatically. These toys distract your cat and encourage him to exercise, improving his outlook and alleviating his depression.

Play soft, relaxing music that your cat enjoys. Classical music may help reduce negative emotions, such as depression and anxiety, in your cat, according to Veterinary Practice News.

Get a companion cat for your existing one, if he is morning the passing of a feline friend. Sometimes the presence of a new companion to play with can get your cat out of his depressed state.

Open the curtains and blinds in your home to expose your cat to sunshine. Sunlight helps to improve mood. A sunny window perch might be just the thing to cheer up your cat. A cat tree in front of a sunny window also works well. Plus, your cat will have a view of the outside to entertain himself if boredom is contributing to his depression.