Why Do Cats Get Sad?

A frequently asked question when interacting with peers is: Are you a cat person or a dog person?

If you are an astute pet owner and a cat person for that matter, you’ve probably grown fond of these feline friends to a point of understanding their emotions.

We are at that time of the year when cat owners dress up their cats in nice costumes and participate in a pet parade to commemorate the Halloween tradition. Cats have their own personalities, with most of them being very social, but when an outgoing cat suddenly becomes reserved, it can be concerning.

Understanding cat behavior is a crucial part of cat care. By this, you are able to interpret the cat’s emotions and able to tell when they are sad, happy, or in fear e.t.c.

Cats are very reactive to their environments and social situations. Their sadness is triggered by a variety of things arising from the immediate environment.

Read on to understand why cats get sad for you to be able to pick up the cues so that you can provide your cat with the best life possible.

Causes of Sadness in Cats in 2023

Typically, cats do not handle change well. Therefore, the list of potential causes of sadness in cats can be quite extensive.

The addition of a new roommate, new baby, or a new pet can make your cat go into a funk. Surprisingly even when you change your work routine, the cat will not be able to quickly adjust to the new norm.

Like any other animal, cats will easily get attached to their homes. They do not like any changes made at home or even moving out to a new place.

Many cats develop strong relationships with other pets and their owners. If you have a cat, you must have noticed how well they know you and would get upset even when you travel for a short trip. Cats will get really sad when a fellow pet leaves or when the owner passes on.

Illness may cause your cat to not feel well and even possibly be in pain. Serious health problems can affect your cat’s happiness levels. If you sense that your cat is sick, then you schedule a visit to the Vet as soon as possible.

Old surgeries and injuries can cause discomfort, making the cat unhappy.

Signs of Depression in Cats

It turns out that it’s not us humans who only get depressed, cats too get it. Cat behavior shows a pet will experience depression when there are occurrences that are beyond their control.

Here are some signs to look out for when your cat is worryingly sad.


While it is normal for cats to sleep for up to 17 hours, a cat that is emotionally and physically healthy will balance their life with bouts of play.

If your cat is having a strange sleeping pattern like spending long hours sleeping or staying awake and would often go without play, is an indication that your cat is sad.

Cat Body Language

Cat owners should familiarize themselves with cat body language. If your cat’s ears are held back, the tail is tucked and fur is standing on end, then the cat is likely to be upset.

Poor Grooming or Excessive Grooming

Cats often spend hours grooming and tidying their fur. If you start seeing less grooming resulting in a dry coat, they could be suffering from depression.

If this is the case, you may need to start grooming your cat more regularly to maintain a healthy coat.

Loss of Appetite

As a cat owner, you must know how cats get excited by food time. The minute they sniff the aroma of food, the meows can’t be stopped. However, a depressed cat would portray a lack of appetite by snubbing even their favorite treats.


Vocal cues like a low-pitched yowling are an obvious indicator, strangely, purring too can indicate unhappiness in cats. Some cats will become more vocal when depressed, this is characterized by unhappy sounds different from normal meows.

Lack of Enthusiasm

One trait Cats have in common with human beings is the lack of enthusiasm in their usual interests when depressed.

Sad cats may stop giving you headbutts and other displays of affection.

Changes in Bathroom Habits

Sad cats will tend to use their scent to feel better by urinating in inappropriate places. Among the many reasons for cats urinating outside the litter box, stress and depression rank high on the list.

If your cat starts to soil outside the litter box, this should be a concern.

Excessive Scratching

Although cats will scratch in the presence of the owner as a sense of territorial confidence, a sad cat will excessively scratch items to relieve stress.

Overcoming Depression in Cats: Treatment

You can help a depressed cat by making some adjustments and seeking treatment. 

The following are ways in which you can lift the mood of your cat and offer care.

Restoring their Routine

Cats do not like uncertainty. Restoring their routine back to normal will help them overcome anxiety and stress.

For a situation where the owner has passed on and the cat is feeling a huge gulf of anxiety, the new owner will need to make things happen rightly for the affected cat.

Make an effort to adhere to the schedule. Feed the cat on time, brush them as usual and give gentle attention to them.

Mental Stimulation

To avoid boredom, you should occupy your cat with plenty of mental stimulation. This will ease the frustration. Try to spend some time playing with your cat

Hide a few treats around the room, then show them the first one, they will eventually sniff the rest and mimic their hunting activities, which is good for mental health.

Since cats love high positions, providing them with a high perch will excite them.

Anti-Depressant Medication

Talk to your vet about the proper medication for your cat. You can also make use of online services by consulting a vet at a few clicks via the internet.


Keenly observe your cat’s normal behavior, understand their personalities, and look out for any worrying changes. 

If your cat is acting out of character, the above details will guide you in helping them get back to their normal life.



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