How to cheer up a depressed cat? If your cat is sad or depressed, is there anything that can be done? Unfortunately, a cat can become sad and depressed at times. If that happens, you want to be prepared.

To cheer up a depressed cat, it is necessary to remove any cause of stress, enrich the environment with toys and cat trees, institute playtime, consider a second cat, visit the vet to rule out health problems. Finally, spend more time with your cat. Do not leave him alone too much.

Let’s see what can be done with a depressed cat and what are the sign of depression.

How to cheer up a depressed cat?


Depression is a mood disorder associated with humans. It makes people feel sad, less active and having negative thoughts. Cats would not be diagnosed with depression as such, but at times there are clear signs that our cats are not happy and may feel sad.

Sad cats can behave differently than usual, even look sad from their mouth, eyes, and facial expression, become less active and do a series of things they were not doing before or when they were kittens.

For example, my first cat, Coco, is with me since 2018. But, unfortunately, I had to leave him alone most of the day because of work, and we had to move house a few times since he was one year old.

Once located in the new house, I observed that he did not play anymore with his toys and slept a lot through the day and night. I hardly saw him doing anything. Before, he liked to chase balls and toys in general. In addition, he would come for pets and scratches less often.

I suspected he was sad, and I adopted a second cat to motivate him to be more active and have someone to play with and love. After an initial fuss, they started to play with each other, and he became more engaged and interested in play.

This could be a perfect example of depression or sadness in cats and an example of resolution. As a cat owner, you can spot if your kitty acts differently or is more distant and lonely.


Depression in cats, or even stress, can cause cats to act differently and display a series of behaviors. Although, sometimes, depression in cats can be due to an illness, in some other case is the environment that causes it.

For example, cats are very sensible. However, some can get stressed about minor things, such as a stranger entering the house or minor changes in the house. Stress factors in cats can be many, and each can cause depression.

Losing the favorite person, like a child moving out, can cause sadness and depression. Cats may feel lonely or sad because their owner is absent. Maybe, a second cat is not there anymore, or no one plays with him. The list can be pretty long.

Besides the emotional and stressful factors, a cat can also be depressed because of pain or an illness. Therefore, it can be wise to visit the vet if a cat becomes lethargic or change his behavior in any way to rule out health problems.

Here are some of the main signs of depression in cats:

  • Lethargy
  • Sleeping too much
  • Changes in vocalization (too much when before was little, or too little when before was a lot)
  • Lack of grooming
  • Excess grooming
  • Lack of appetite
  • Change in routine
  • Change in litter box usage (cat is pooping or peeing otside the box)
  • Lack of interest in playng
  • Lack if interest in interactions
  • Not coming to greet you when you get home
  • Hiding a lot

In general, a cat owner with an enduring bond with a cat can tell immediately if there are some changes in behavior in their cats. Cats are animals but still sensible to emotions and respond to affection or lack of it.


Learning how to cheer up a depressed cat can be helpful. But, of course, cats can go through periods as well. Sometimes they may act like they are sad and then go back to normal. But, a cat owner should be able to help a sad or depressed cat in any case.

Here are some of the best tips:


A good thing to check is the presence of changes in the environment or anything that can cause stress. Things like strangers, changes in furniture, new scents, intruding pets, litter box or food bowls moved in another place, different food.

It can be anything that a cat doesn’t like and generate stress. Once located, the source of stress tries to remove it, if possible.


If you figure your cat is lonely, and if you have to leave him alone part of the day, a good idea would be to get a new friend for him. But, of course, a cat owner needs to evaluate if a new cat would get along based on his cat’s personality and other factors.

Often, it can be a good idea to get a second cat, even if the resident cat is not left alone. Cats have their way of play and chase each other and may enjoy the activity of a playmate anyway. It is an excellent way to keep cats active and exercised, especially indoor cats.


Introducing new fancy toys that can stimulate play can be a good idea. Try to figure what can get your cat interested and out of lethargy. Maybe a moving toy, a laser, a ball, or games that stimulate a cat’s intelligence.

Here are some interactive cat toys to stimulate cats.

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A nice catio or cat tree with high places and many hiding places and toys to hunt can be a great stimulation for a cat. Cats are curious and may get out of the lethargy to explore and get a better view of a window or exercise climbing.

Here is a fancy cat tree:


There is nothing better than interaction with cats to make them feel loved. Playing with a cat, using toys, hands and be with them for part of the day is good medicine for a sad or depressed cat.


If your cat is sad or depressed, it is a good idea to take additional time to visit him and pet him on the head and under the chin. Give him a good time and make sure he feels you are there. Cats may not like too many pets, but a little bit of affection is always good.

You can take time to pet him when he is eating. In this way, he feels you are there, and there are more chances that even a problematic cat would let you touch him.


Use natural treats that your cat likes to attract him and spend some time with him, eventually petting him, or simply enjoy some time with your cat and make him go out of his way to get the treat. Use it to make him go out of his way and become a little more active.


If your cat allows it, bring him outside for a tour in a park or a quiet place. If you live in a place where he can tour just outside the house door, you could let him go out under your supervision.

For example, I live in a place where I can open the front door, and my cats can roam for a few meters on the right or the left, under my supervision. In this way, they can take some sun in the mornings, watch the birds, stretch a little and explore.


When cats become sad or depressed, it is a good idea to visit the vet. In this way, one can rule out health problems. Or if there are health issues to resolve, one can do it and make the at happy again.

When cats change their routine, eating habits, and behavior, it is good to always check with the vet.


Catnip is something cats like. Without exaggerating, catnip can make cats happy for a while and get them out of their lethargy.


Do cats feel sad when you give them away?

Cats do feel sad when you give them away. Cats get affectionate to their owners. They learn their smell and habit and feel secure with their owners. When given away, cats feel sad and shaken by their stable data. They do miss their owners too. It is similar to the sadness cats feel when their owners go to work.

Do indoor cats get depressed?

Indoor cats can get depressed like outdoor cats. Indoor cats are used to certain routines and stability. Change to the routine can make them depressed, as well as illnesses and being left alone too much. Cats need attention and interaction to do well.

Do cats need to go outside to be happy?

A bit of fresh air and time outside can help cats to be happy. Even if it means going out on a balcony. Bringing a cat outside for a tour can be beneficial.

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  1. Depression in cats is a reality that many pet owners may face. Fortunately, there are ways to cheer up a depressed cat. The first step is to remove any source of stress and ensure that the environment is enriched with toys and cat trees. Playtime is also essential, and a second cat may provide a companion for a lonely cat. Visiting the vet is also recommended to rule out any health problems. Spending more time with the cat and showing love and affection is also important. Treats and catnip can also help improve the cat’s mood. Signs of depression in cats include lethargy, excessive sleeping, changes in vocalization, lack of appetite, and lack of interest in playing or interacting.

  2. Vittoria, this is such good information! Thank you on behalf of all cat parents worldwide. I think people miss the signs of depression in their animals because they may not associate poor mental health with pets, but it is a very real concern. As you rightly point out; the cause varies from pet to pet. Your tips and advice are guaranteed to help cat pawrents identify when something is not right and get the help needed as quickly as possible.

    I loved your story about Coco getting a new companion. We have had a similar experience with some of our kitties. They really do love to have a buddy. Personalities do clash so there are no guarantees, but most cats would prefer not to be alone.

    Love your blog. Keep up the great work. 😊 Blessings to you & yours!

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