Some people say that cats only have one emotion: ME, ME, ME. That may even seem quite true, at times. But, as we cat worshipers know, that is all just a part of the wonderful charm of the feline species. However, that general aloofness and cool demeanor can often interfere with our ability to tell when something is wrong with our angels, especially on an emotional level. They may show the world a De-feline-May-Care cattitude, but our cats have feelings, too. Sometimes, the feelings are low ones, or even sad.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you realize that your kitty seems sad or distant, and you haven’t really noticed until now! That is one of the amazing cat defense mechanisms… But, believe it or not, they are NOT trying to protect themselves from US (unless you rescued a cat that was severely abused or neglected, or took in a once-feral stray from outdoors). They are, in fact, trying to keep from worrying us, from showing that they are vulnerable. Why? Because they feel it is their job to guard and protect their humans and their home, to hunt if their people aren’t eating quite as they feel they should (you know the Dead Rodent Surprise we’ve all found at some point? Yep… That may be your baby not only thanking you but trying to tell you to eat more!), and to be the warm bundle of comfort and strength in our times of need. If they stress us out by making us worry about their well-being, cats may feel as though they failed in their duties, and become permanently withdrawn, or even run away from home.
So, what is it that makes cats so sad? Well, the answer might be a simple one, such as you end up working late one night, when that’s something you NEVER have to do. Or, it could be something deeper, like grieving someone’s passing, missing a lost fur friend, or even longing to be an outside kitty. The problem is that they cannot TELL us!
We can’t pretend to have ALL the answers. However, we CAN speak a little from our own experience, and give you an idea or two from things we did to cheer up our sad little babies. So, read on!
Boredom or Lonesome?
No two cats are the same. No two ANYTHING are the same. You may have two cats, about the same age, maybe even from the same litter, with similar hobbies and/or personalities, who come down with this awful feline sadness at about the same time. However, assuming that what helps one will immediately help the other is a BIG mistake! Not only do cats cherish their special time with you, they need to feel as though you do, too. And treating them exactly alike, as if you can’t wait to stop babying them, can leave feelings permanently wounded. Plus, if it doesn’t help both your cats, you may have just helped one of your babies move backwards through his troubles, rather than pull him or her out of them.
Test them, only briefly, to see if they seem to be bored. Invest in a few toys. If you work long days, consider toys that you can safely turn on and leave running for your cats, such as our Interactive Electric Rotating Butterfly Training Cat Toy.
Wanna know why we so strongly advocate for toys like this one? We promise, it’s not just because we want to sell one to you! It’s because it’s 100% safe with which to leave your cats alone, even all day. It allows you to help your cat and still get your important errands and family needs met. However, it also offers the PERFECT test for boredom! You just show your cat(s) the new toy, turn it on, and walk away. If he or she is sad rather than bored, he or she won’t feel any pressure or “mother henning” from you as you hover over him or her, urging playtime when he or she isn’t feeling up to it. Even the glummest baby will get curious for a moment and investigate. If the toy engages your baby, he or she just suffers from a little boredom! If he or she just sniffs it, or growls and slaps it and then runs, he or she is (obviously) likely sad. However, now you know, and you didn’t create MORE stress and discomfort to your baby to find out!
Tired or Lazy?
Did you know that a large percentage of what helps fighting dogs become aggressive is their inability to exercise properly every single day? The same is true of cats and their moods.
We all know that cats love to sleep, especially during the daytime. However, at what point does sleepy cross into unmotivated laziness?
That’s where exercise toys, such as the Interactive 3-Level Tower of Tracks Exercise Cat Toy come in pretty handy! As with determining sadness from boredom, you don’t want to shove yourself and your solution attempts down your cat’s throat. Even an unhappy, lazy feline will rebel against you if they feel you push them too hard, even if they really WANT to do what it is you’re offering!
Let your cat see you play with toys like these. Also, BE SURE to let him or her see you getting a little exercise yourself! Extend an “invitation” for him or her to join you, but don’t insist. It won’t take long for the sleepyheads to wake up and investigate. A lethargic feline may take more convincing, but if you keep inviting him or her to play (and maybe give a little extra love for a few days), they often perk up in no time, too!
A Chew of TobaccNip??
Remember as a child when adults would give us a piece of gum or hard candy to keep us quiet or dry our tears? Did you know you can do the same for your cat?
OK, so not tobacco, obviously… But what else is derived from a plant, and shredded and/or ground into a tasty (nonaddictive) treat? Catnip!
If your cat is in any pain or discomfort, that can affect his or her mood, sometimes for days. Catnip has mild pain-relieving properties (and, of course, helps our babies go kitty for a little while!), and a few bites can often do the trick!
Or, you can get something like Interactive Canvas Chewing Play Balls for Cats, to serve as your cat’s “hard candy.” While they contain sand rather than catnip, the chewing is often soothing for felines, and can brighten those dark moods in no time. (And who says they can’t have a little of both?)
Also, one thing few cats can resist (for long, anyway!) is anything that swings! If you’re anything like us, you get sad when you’re babies aren’t well, and it makes you a bit sad, too!
If your whole house is filling with a case of the blues, turn comfort time into a team effort! Our 3m Sisal Rope DIY for Making Cat Scratching Post Toys makes an amazing project that everyone can enjoy! You get to learn a new talent; making homemade cat toys for your babies, and they get to have a blast slapping at the rope as you work, and then scratching it to their heart’s content once the toys are finished! Plus, the extra bonding time with you always helps, both you and baby!
Tell Us Your Sad Stories!
We know we aren’t the only ones who’ve watched with heaviness in our hearts as our babies struggled with a sadness we couldn’t just wave a wand and erase. So, tell us your tails… er, tales!