Cat behaviour

How to Know if my Cat Is Sad

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Know if my Cat Is Sad

A cat's behavior can tell you about their mood, so, depending on how they move, you can know if they are happy, relaxed, fearful, and so on. Depression in cats can also be diagnosed by observing your friend but if you think this may be the case with your friend, it is best that you contact a vet who will help confirm the diagnosis and show you the best way to proceed in order to improve the animal's quality of life. In this OneHowTo article we will show you how to know if a cat is sad giving you some tips to help you recognize the mood they're in.

You may also be interested in: How to Know if my Cat is Cold

Steps to follow:


One of the simplest ways to know if a cat is sad is to observe their sleeping habits. Remember that, as a general rule, these animals sleep about 16 hours a day but when they are sad their sleeping time increases and they will look much more listless all day. Thanks to living with your cat, it will be easy for you to know roughly how long they usually sleep, so if you notice that it has recently increased, you may begin to sense that something is wrong.

How to Know if my Cat Is Sad - Step 1

Sadness or depression in a cat also affects their mealtimes as the animal will seem much more listless and lifeless. As with people, when we are downcast we sleep more and eat less, for animals it is exactly the same. But the opposite can also occur: they may begin to overeat to satisfy their distress, such behavior is obsessive and seeks to alleviate something that they feel they are lacking on an emotional level.

So if you notice that the animal's behavior towards food has changed, it may be because they are sad but it can also be down to other reasons connected to their physical health, so it is best to take them to a vet to get a check-up. If this is your cat's case we invite you to read our article what to do if my cat won't eat.

How to Know if my Cat Is Sad - Step 2

Also it is very common for a sad cat to become distant, uncaring and may even have an aggressive attitude towards their owners. This happens because they are having a difficult time emotionally and they are feeling out of balance and, therefore, are more irritable with their family and friends than normal. In this sense, this reaction is the same as when people who, have a bad day, cry or to are angry over silly things as they are more susceptible to these emotions.

How to Know if my Cat Is Sad - Step 3

One of the most prominent features of felines is that they are very clean and neat animals, spending much of their day preening and caring for their fur. However, when the animal is sad they are likely to neglect this and, therefore, their hair will look more lacklustre, tangled or dull. Although feline sadness can also produce the exact opposite effect, i.e. the animal will spend much more time cleaning themselves excessively and obsessively. Both signs may show that something is wrong with the animal.

How to Know if my Cat Is Sad - Step 4

You too can know if a cat is depressed because they communicate less with you. It is normal for these animals to meow, purr or make sounds when they are happy and content, so if your cat is sad they might stop "talking" to you as they did before or their meows may sound more intense.

Remember that for cats, meows can be interpreted in different ways as they can denote joy or they may be asking for something or they may be crying, so it's important to be aware of their behavior and you can know what they are trying to communicate.

How to Know if my Cat Is Sad - Step 5

Another sign that a cat is sad is if you notice lately that they hide much more frequently. It is true that these animals tend to hide in the most remote places (boxes, closets, sheets, etc.), this usually done for heat and protection, it is their natural instinct; however, if you notice that lately they've been hiding much more than before perhaps it is because the animal is not happy and they don't want to socialize.

How to Know if my Cat Is Sad - Step 6

It is also common for depressed cats to stop using their litter tray where they normally do their business. This is one of the most obvious signs that there is something not quite right with the animal and they want to communicate this to you through a change in their normal behavior patterns so you can know what is happening.

However, it is important to know the difference between being depressed or territorial because, like all animals, if a cat feels threatened in their territory or they feel insecure, they can clearly mark their area with a little urine. But if you find urine or feces in your home it could be that the animal is depressed however, it is true that there are other factors that can cause this behavior such as, for example, that their litter tray is dirty.

How to Know if my Cat Is Sad - Step 7

If you notice any of the signs that we have mentioned above, the best thing is to take them to a vet so that they can examine the animal and determine if there is any other condition that may be affecting the animal's behavior. If nothing appears in the results, then it is likely that the change is of an emotional nature and, therefore, we have to start paying more attention to them for this to improve. What you can do in order to treat a sad cat is the following:

  • More attention: if the animal is sad then this is important because they are counting on you to be close to them. Pamper them, giving them affection and attention will help them feel much more comfortable and can reduce their sadness.
  • Playing with them: although there are many types of cats, the truth is that most of them like to play a little every day, so, we suggest you buy some toys and devote 15 minutes a day to playtime.
  • Don't leave them alone for too long: when a cat is depressed what they need most is company, so it is best to try not to leave them for any longer than necessary at home and if you do, leave toys within their reach to keep them amused and leave the curtains open so they can look outside.
  • Brush them: if you see that sorrow has made the animal neglect and stop preening themselves, what you can do is take over and clean their fur, brush it, clip their nails, and so on. They'll feel much better and it will reduce their sadness.
How to Know if my Cat Is Sad - Step 8

If you want to read similar articles to How to Know if my Cat Is Sad, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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