As caring pet owners, we are understandably dedicated to our cats. From providing nutritious food and a comfortable place to sleep to giving them attention and shiny new cat tags to wear, our devotion knows no boundaries. However, many cats are solitary creatures and, sometimes, it can be difficult for us to understand if there is something wrong.
While some signals of distress are obvious, others can be a lot trickier to interpret correctly. Here are five common signs of unhappiness in cats:
While all cats groom themselves to a certain extent, an increased amount of grooming could signify that something is wrong. When feeling stressed, some cats tend to over-groom which can result in health problems, skin complaints and issues related to hairballs. If you notice your cat grooming him or herself more than usual or see any thinning or bald patches appearing in their fur, this could be a cause for concern that you should address further with your local vet.
Is your cat eating a lot less than usual? Do they appear uninterested in their favourite food or treats they would usually love? A decreased appetite could be a sign that your cat is unhappy or uncomfortable in their surroundings. If your cat refuses to eat altogether, you should call your vet immediately as a lack of food could lead to more serious health problems.
Lack of Interaction
While many cats are solitary, most will seek out social interaction on their own terms. If your cat is in need of attention, they will often come to you, but if they have been spending a considerable amount of time on their own or are rejecting attention, this could be a symptom of unhappiness.
Attention Seeking Behaviour
On the other hand, some cats will display their displeasure in the opposite way. Attention seeking behaviour such as destructive tendencies, constant interruptions, making loud noises or purposely avoiding using their litter tray could be signs of unhappiness. Similarly, if your cat has an established routine or behavioural traits which suddenly change, this could also signify stress.
Destruction and aggression are not desirable traits in pets, yet sometimes, unhappiness can cause usually calm and docile cats to become uncharacteristically aggressive. From scratching and biting to destroying furniture and belongings, it’s important to try to limit the damage they can do while working to address the root cause of your cat’s unhappiness.
If your cat is displaying one or more of these signs or you are concerned about their wellbeing for any reason, it may be advisable to consult your local vet. Unhappiness can often be easily cured with a simple lifestyle change, but if you do nothing, the problem is only likely to worsen over time. Since our cats are valued members of our family, the last thing we want is to see them suffer.
Your vet will be able to offer you advice based on your specific situation, but it’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with your cat’s regular routine and behaviour as this will allow you to easily determine if something appears out of character. It’s important to provide your cat with a comfortable bed, toys, treats and pretty cat tags to wear, but don’t forget that often, attention and affection can be the key to a cat’s heart.