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Depression in cats?

Pachiz
November 13th, 2003, 01:13 PM
Hi there,
For those of you that aren't aware of my story, I am in the process of training 2 of my cats that were outdoor cats to become indoor cats. I moved to a new apartment for school and I'm on the 5th floor so they can't go out.

They are both 2 years old and they are the best of buddies and they've been going outside since they were 6 months. Morgan is doing well, a bit attention craving and meows at the window, but OK. Timmy on the other hand seems quite depressed. He is still alert, still eating and drinking, and will play a little with his foil butterfly (he's had the same one since he was 3 months) and will let me scratch his ears, but he sleeps most of the time and doesn't come to me for attention. Usually he would come right to me and make me stop what I was doing to scratch his ears. He also has the saddest look on his face. I've tried to provide as much enrichment as I can, I have 2 big cat trees and lots of toys, but Timmy spends most of the day on my desk chair living room. When I carry him to bed with me he leaves and sleeps on the chair. I am concerned about my Timmy boy, can anyone offer any advice for what I can do with him? Will this pass as time progresses and they get more used to being inside all the time?

Also in the apartment is Jade, who I rescued in the summer from the euthanasia list at the shelter where I worked, and has been an indoor cat since I brought her home. They all get along really well.

Thanks,
Pachiz

Lucky Rescue
November 13th, 2003, 10:40 PM
Sometimes illness in cats can be mistaken for depression, since cats generally keep a low profile when they are sick.

A vet check might be a good idea.

If he's o.k., then it just might be the change. Cats hate change, and this is a big one for him.

You might try setting up a window perch so he can look outside.

Just keep playing with him - get some new interesting toys and catnip - he'll come around!

I just made an adult feral tomcat - who had never even seen the inside of a house - into an indoor cat. It was a big adjustment, but he's fine now.:)

windee
November 14th, 2003, 11:58 PM
Cats can suffer from depression and also at the same time go thru emotional and behaviour problems. I worked as a Vet Assistant for 7 years and learned many things. There is a behaviour specialist at the University of Guelph who deals with depression, behavioural problems etc. Give the University a call and see if the Doctor can help. There is no charge for this ( at least 2 years ago there wasn't) Good luck and remember TLC does wonders on any pet.

windee
November 15th, 2003, 12:01 AM
Cats can be quite vindictive towards their owns when change is made and you moving to the apartment is a major one. Try giving them a chance to settle in and let them come around to you.

Jocelyn
November 15th, 2003, 01:51 PM
All I can say is give him LOTS of attention and play with him more.
Indoor cats do not have the opportunity to "prey and kill" which is in their natural instinct and is what they enjoy to do. So when they are forced to become indoor cats, they will tend to become bored and evenually depressed if you don't help them enjoy their new situation. They need to be encouraged to keep active and get lots of exercise. The cat trees and toys help but you might have to remind them that it's there. Buy toys with strings so that you can play with them..anything moving is what they crave.
This may be time consuming and most people do not have the time to play with their furry companions but it's a huge mistake not to when it comes with your cats outlook on life.

You do sound like you are trying to make them as comfortable as possible, that is about all you can do. They will be more happy as long as you are making an effort. They should come around in time, but keep in mind, they will not fully be happy indoors. They will always crave something else, you have to just try and fill that void by taking their mind off of it.

Also, make sure you open windows for fresh air once in awhile, the smell sometimes just gets a rise of out them. Cat nip and indoor grass is also a good investments for indoor cats, it's a part of the outdoors that they miss, being brought indoors for them.

Good luck.

homer
November 20th, 2003, 09:10 AM
Hi Pachiz,

I agree with what people have said here...

AND I think your cat will come around eventually. Sometimes cats just take a LONG time to get out of the 'blues' when a major change has occured.

I remember once when I went out of town for a month. My wife told me that the cat was absolutely depressed and stayed outside my office door for the full month.

That said, there are anti depression medications that you can get from your vet. Your cat can get depressed much like humans.
Personally I would only use the meds if the depression lasts way too long (and that's up to you to decide)

Something you can try is extra brushing/grooming a few times a day...the same time each day. The goal being that it is a pleasurable activity that his body may get used to at the same time of day. He may get up off the couch and seek you out.

good luck

Homer