Can Cats Die From Depression? Mental Health Issues



  • Yes, severe depression in cats can lead them to death.
  • Some common signs of depression in cats are; lack of appetite and sleep, lethargy, excessive vocalization, Weight loss, grooming & behavioral changes.
  • Cats can have PTSD or mental disabilities.
  • There are many natural, home remedies to recover a cat from depression

Most cat owners who are concerned about the mental health of their cats ask the question “Can cats die from depression?” The answer is not a simple yes or no, as there are many factors that can contribute to feline depression and ultimately lead to death.

Let’s try to answer this question.

As with any animal, cats can experience a range of emotions, from happiness and contentment to fear, anxiety and sadness. And like humans, when cats become depressed.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes and symptoms of feline depression, as well as some possible treatment options. We’ll also touch on when it might be time to say goodbye to a beloved pet who is suffering from this condition.

Can Cats Die From Depression? Evidence Say Yes

Feline depression is a real condition that can be deadly if left untreated. The anecdotal evidence is strong that some cats have committed suicide when left alone and depressed.

There are many reasons why a cat might become depressed. The death of a companion, either human or animal, can cause depression. A change in routine, such as a new baby in the house or a move to a new home, can also lead to depression.

Some causes of depression in cats that can lead to death - Can cats die from depression

An animal behaviorist named Nicholas H. Dodman wrote a book called The Cat Who Cried For Help in which he discusses the case of a cat named Thomas. Thomas was an indoor-only cat who had never been outside.

Thomas’s human family added a new baby to the household, and the cat became depressed. He stopped eating and grooming himself, and he became withdrawn.

Thomas’s depression continued to worsen, and eventually, he stopped using the litter box. The family tried everything they could think of to help him, but nothing worked. Finally, they took him to the vet, where he was diagnosed with depression and put on medication.

Sadly, Thomas’s story doesn’t have a happy ending. He continued to decline, and eventually, his family made the decision to euthanize him.

While Thomas’s story is tragic, it does underscore the fact that feline depression is a real and serious condition. If you think your cat may be depressed, it’s important to take him to the vet for an evaluation.

What happens when a cat gets depressed? 8 Signs

The clinical signs of feline depression are observed when a cat gets depressed similar to those in humans.

Depressed cats may lose their appetite, stop using the litter box, become withdrawn and lethargic, and sleep more than usual. The following are signs of depression in cats.

1. Lack of Appetite

A decrease in appetite is one of the most common signs of depression in cats. If your cat stops eating or only picks at his food, it’s a sign that something is wrong.

2. Weight Loss

Rapid weight loss can be a sign of many different health problems, including depression.

3. Sleep Changes

Depression can cause cats to sleep more or less than usual. If your cat is sleeping all the time, it’s a sign that he may be depressed.

4. Lethargy

Depressed cats often seem sluggish and listless. If your cat isn’t interested in playing or doesn’t have the energy to run and jump, it could be a sign of depression.

5. Grooming Changes

A depressed cat may stop grooming himself, or he may groom excessively.

6. Behavior Changes

A cat who is normally outgoing and social may become withdrawn and isolated when he’s depressed. He may also start meowing more than usual or become more aggressive.

7. House Soiling

Cats who are normally well-behaved may start urinating or defecating outside the litter box when they’re depressed.

8. Changes in Vocalization

A depressed cat may meow more than usual, or he may stop meowing altogether. He may also make other changes in his vocalizations, such as crying or howling.

Signs of depressed cats

These are just a few of the signs that your cat may be depressed. If you notice any of these changes in your cat’s behavior, it’s important to take him to the vet for an evaluation.

Your veterinarian can determine if your cat’s symptoms are due to depression or another medical condition. If your cat is diagnosed with depression, there are treatment options available that can help him feel better.

What is a depressed cat like?

A depressed cat may seem like a totally different animal than the one you’re used to. He may be withdrawn, lethargic, and uninterested in activities he used to enjoy.

He may stop eating or grooming himself, and he may start urinating or defecating outside the litter box. If your cat is exhibiting any of these behaviors, it’s important to take him to the vet for an evaluation.

How long does depression last in a cat?

The duration of feline depression varies from cat to cat. Some cats may only be depressed for a short period of time, while others may struggle with the condition for months or even years.

If your cat is diagnosed with depression, it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan.

How do you cheer up a depressed cat? Ways

Depression is a serious condition, but it is treatable. If your cat is diagnosed with depression, there are medication and behavior modification options available that can help him feel better. With treatment, most cats will eventually return to their normal selves.

It’s important to work with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment. In some cases, a combination of medical and natural treatments may be recommended.

Home Remedies to Cheer Up Depressed Cat

Following are some 10 natural ways to cheer up a depressed cat:

  • Spend time with your cat every day. Give him lots of love and attention.
  • Play with your cat regularly. Engage him in interactive play sessions to help stimulate his mind and body.
  • Make sure your cat has plenty of toys to keep him entertained. Home enrichment act as a therapeutic component for the recovery of cats.
  • Feed your cat a healthy diet. Nutritious food will help to keep him feeling his best.
Home enrichment - a way to cure depression in cats
  • Give your cat a safe place to retreat to when he wants some alone time.
  • Keep your cat’s litter box clean. A clean environment will help to reduce stress levels.
  • Provide your cat with plenty of opportunities to exercise.
  • Keep your cat’s nails trimmed. This will help to prevent painful scratches.
  • Make sure your cat has a microchip implanted in case he gets lost.
  • Play the music of your cat’s choice. Many cats enjoy classical or soft rock music.

Other Ways to Cure Depression in Cats

1. Anti-depressants

There are a variety of anti-depressant medications available that can be effective in treating feline depression.

2. Antianxiety Medication

Medications such as benzodiazepines can help to relieve anxiety and promote relaxation.

3. Pheromone therapy

Certain pheromones can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of calmness.

4. Nutritional supplements

Certain vitamins and minerals may be helpful in treating depression in cats.

5. Light therapy

Exposure to light can help to improve mood and energy levels.

6. Cognitive behavioral therapy

This type of therapy can help to change negative thinking patterns that may be contributing to depression.

7. Massage therapy

Massage can help to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of well-being.

9. Herbal remedies

Certain herbs, such as St. John’s wort, chamomile, and lavender, may be helpful in treating depression.

If your cat is struggling with depression, there are many treatment options available. Work with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for your feline friend.

What are the causes of feline depression?

There are many reasons why a cat might become depressed. The death of a companion, either human or animal, can cause depression. A change in routine, such as a new baby in the house or a move to a new home, can also lead to depression.

Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disease, can cause depression. Additionally, some medications, such as steroids, can have side effects that include depression.

As cats age, they may become less active and more sedentary. This change in lifestyle can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can contribute to depression. It’s important to provide older cats with plenty of love and attention to help prevent depression.

If your cat is displaying any signs of depression, it’s important to take him to the vet for a check-up. This will help to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing his depression. Once a diagnosis has been made, you can work with your vet to determine the best course of treatment.

Can a cat stress itself to death?

Yes, a cat can stress itself to death. However, it is important to remember that depression is just one possible cause of death in cats and that there are many other potential causes of death that are more common than depression.

How do you know if your cat is mentally ill? Common Signs

There are a number of signs that may indicate that your cat is mentally ill. These include changes in eating or sleeping habits, increased vocalization, aggression, self-harm, and withdrawal from social interaction.

Can cats have mental disabilities? Yes They Can

Yes, cats can have mental disabilities. However, it is difficult to diagnose mental disabilities in cats because they cannot tell us how they are feeling. Some cats can be mentally disabled by birth because of developmental abnormalities in the brain which can lead to various mental disabilities.

The mental disabilities in cats can be mild, such as Attention-deficit/ Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or severe, such as autism.

If you think your cat may have a mental disability, it is important to take him to the veterinarian for a check-up to rule out any other potential health problems.

Can a cat die of a broken heart?

Yes, a cat can die of a broken heart. When a cat is grieving, he may experience a condition called “broken heart syndrome” which can be fatal. The cat may grieve the loss of their companion or kitten that has died.

Cats can die due to grief or sorrow

 Grief can cause so much stress on the cat’s heart that it leads to heart failure. Cats have memory and it is not easy for them to forget their loved ones. The loss of loved ones can break their heart and in some rare cases, it can be fatal.

Do indoor cats get depressed? More Depression in indoor cats

Yes, indoor cats can get depressed. While the exact cause of feline depression is unknown, there are several possible triggers, including:

  • Loss of a loved one (human or animal)
  • Move to a new home
  • Lack of attention from their owner
  • Chronic illness

If indoor cats get lonely then depression gets common in such cats. There are higher chances of depression in indoor cats as compared to outdoor cats.

Cats are social animals and they need companionship to avoid depression. They get overweight, change body language and meow more when they are depressed. Indoor cats need proper attention and care from their owners to prevent them from becoming depressed.

Therefore, it is necessary to provide the proper space for indoor cats so they can have enough room to move around and explore.

In addition, it is important to spend time playing with and petting your indoor cat every day to help them stay happy and healthy.

According to a renowned behaviorist named Nicholas Dodman, “Cats are very susceptible to emotional upsets.” He further adds that “anything that disrupts their routine or changes their environment can lead to depression.”

Loss of a pet companion, change in the family dynamic (a baby being born, for example), or even a move to a new home can all lead to depression in cats. It’s important to keep an eye out for changes in your cat’s behavior that may signify they are depressed and to seek professional help if you think they may be.

To prevent depression in your indoor cat, it is important to give him plenty of attention and provide him with toys and activities to keep him stimulated. You may also want to consider getting another cat as a companion for your indoor cat.

Can cats get PTSD?

Yes, cats can get Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In cats, PTSD can develop due to a traumatic event, such as being in a car accident or witnessing the death of a loved one. Symptoms of PTSD in cats include changes in sleeping and eating habits, increased vocalization, withdrawal from social interaction, and aggression. 

The pacing heart dilated pupils and increased cortisol levels associated with PTSD can lead to physical problems such as high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders, and immunosuppression. If you think your cat may have PTSD, it is important to take him to the veterinarian for a check-up to rule out any other potential health problems.

Cats can get PTSD

Cats are resilient creatures but they can still suffer from the effects of trauma. If your cat has experienced a traumatic event, it is important to watch for signs of PTSD and to seek professional help if you think they may be suffering from this condition.


Depression is a serious condition in cats and can lead to a number of physical and emotional problems, including death. If you think your cat may be depressed, it is important to take him to the veterinarian for a check-up to rule out any other potential health problems.

There are a number of home remedies that can help relieve symptoms of depression in cats, but if the problem persists it is best to seek professional help.

What do you think is the best way to deal with a depressed cat? Share that with us in the comment section.


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  2. Nelson, H. L. H. (2015). Recovery from severe mental illness: How feline companions facilitate the process of healing (Doctoral dissertation, The Wright Institute).
  3. Landsberg, G. M., DePorter, T., & Araujo, J. A. (2011). Clinical signs and management of anxiety, sleeplessness, and cognitive dysfunction in the senior pet. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice41(3), 565-590.
  4. Beaver, B. V. (2003). Feline Behavior-E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  5. Schuller‐Levis, G., Mehta, P. D., Rudelli, R., & Sturman, J. (1990). Immunologic consequences of taurine deficiency in cats. Journal of Leukocyte Biology47(4), 321-331.
  6. Colleran, E., & Chico, C. A. Enriching Cat Lives: Home Environments as Therapeutic Components.
  7. Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat By Gary Landsberg, Wayne Hunthausen, Lowell Ackerman

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