Last Updated: 4 months ago

Wondering if there are any particular signs of an unhappy cat?

Cats are fickle creatures with many strange habits, which makes understanding them difficult for their owners.

This issue makes it hard to tell when your cat’s feeling a little blue, but specific actions do signal something is bothering them.

We’ll go over these signs below to ensure you can recognize them. Learning them can make a big difference when it comes to taking care of your favorite feline.

10 Signs of an Unhappy Cat

Your cat’s disposition and actions can provide useful insight into how they’re feeling daily.

Knowing the following ten signs will allow you to determine whether a cat’s feeling depressed.

In turn, this information provides you with the tools to do something and making their sadness disappear.

1. Vocal Cues

unhappy cat signs

Unhappy cats will attempt to alert you with specific vocal cues.

In most cases, these noises will be low-pitched yowls and have an upset vibe about them like when human grunts or moans when angry.

Cat owners should know purring isn’t always a good indicator, as well.

Unhappy cats will sometimes purr more to provide themselves extra comfort in their depressing situation. It’s a way to cheer themselves up.

However, cats with vocal personalities may turn quiet when feeling down. You might come across a quiet one who becomes vocal during these stressful periods.

2. Loss of Appetite

10 Signs of an Unhappy Cat That Every Pet Parent Should Know

A change in their eating habits is a large sign of cat sadness.

It’s often a feline’s first move when trying to voice their displeasure with something.

It’s not even uncommon for a sad cat to stop enjoying their favorite food or treats.

You must pay attention to your cat’s eating habits at all times, as loss of appetite can be a symptom of a severe illness.

3. Doesn’t Find Joy in Playing

British Shorthair cat personality

Sad cats aren’t going to find their favorite toys much fun.

I don’t blame them considering the list of things I want to do when sad consists of wallowing around in my self-pity.

In this situation, cats aren’t much different than humans.

4. Unusual Fear or Aggression

aggressive cat behavior

Depression can change a cat’s personality in several ways.

A standard personality change is them becoming more fearful or aggressive.

Drastic behavior changes like these are surefire signs of something being wrong with your cat.

5. Refusal to Groom Themselves

As any cat owner knows, felines take pride in their grooming.

Cats who don’t groom themselves don’t feel well or are feeling unhappy about their current situation.

You may need to give kitty a hand here, especially if you have a long-haired cat.

Matted fur will only make him more uncomfortable, after all.

If it comes down to that, these grooming harnesses will make the task a whole lot easier.

6. Spraying

Why Do Cats Spray, What It Means and How to Stop It

One of the grosser methods is a cat urinating in odd places.

Cats urinating outside their litter boxes can occur for various reasons, but depression and sadness are common causes.

Your cat might even spray their urine in high traffic areas like a bedroom or bathroom.

The lingering scent of a missing or deceased pet could be causing them to choose these areas.

7. Body Language

Understanding your cat’s body language is a fundamental step in recognizing their moods.

Sad cats have many fur, eye, ear, and body positions that can indicate their sadness.

These positions include tail tucked, fur standing up, and ears held back.

Each of these could be a silent communication expressing your cat’s unhappiness with their predicament.

8. Long Periods of Sleep or Inactivity

cat sleeping and purring

As with humans, excessive periods of sleep can indicate a cat’s depression.

Cats tend to sleep more than the average animal, but sad ones hit the hay even more.

Changes in their sleeping location can also be a signal of despair.

9. More Frequent Scratching

tall scratching post for cats

Scratching furniture and other objects is a way for cats to relieve stress.

An increase in this activity can be a good indication something has made them more upset than usual.

If this becomes an issue, check out these tips to stop cats from scratching up your walls and furniture.

10. Weight Loss

A common outcome of cat depression is them losing some weight.

If your cat starts losing weight suddenly, please take them to the vet for a checkup.

5 Reasons Why Your Cat Is Unhappy

Knowing signs of cat depression is only half the battle.

You also need a grasp of the potential reasons behind their unhappiness.

After all, understanding why your cat’s sad will give you a better chance of fixing it.

1. Injuries

cat being injured

Injuries will have a dramatic effect on your cat’s psyche.

These situations might even limit their ability to do those activities, which made their life enjoyable.

The pain coming from these injuries won’t be a picnic, either.

Schedule an appointment with a vet whenever your cat’s in pain to have them checked out.

Please make sure always to follow your vet’s recommendations. These wonderful doctors are considered experts for a reason.

2. Missing Their Loved One

Every good pet parent should know these signs of an unhappy cat! Learn what they are, plus discover the reasons behind kitty's grumpiness!

Cat owners must realize their pets aren’t exempt from the grieving process.

If a family member moves out or dies, your cat might become depressed and grieve about their absence.

This behavior often is temporary and will pass over time. Your cat could become depressed when another cat dies, as well.

Some pet owners try to move the process along by bringing home a new cat. But please be cautious when trying this solution.

Letting time pass tends to be the most effective solution for a grieving cat.

Natural supplements and pheromones can help keep them calm and lessen their sadness during these tough times.

3. Change in Their Food or Litter

Every good pet parent should know these signs of an unhappy cat! Learn what they are, plus discover the reasons behind kitty's grumpiness!

Cats aren’t fans of changes in their routine.

Owners need to consider this reality when making changing certain things, such as their food or litter.

A cat might react strongly to different locations or brands when dealing with these parts of their routines.

Making these changes gradually would be the best course of action.

4. Illnesses

cat with health issues

Illnesses will cause a cat to experience sadness and pain.

Your favorite pet might not be their fun-loving self because a condition makes moving around painful and difficult.

These conditions could include serious aliments like FIV, FeLV, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and other severe health issues.

Each of these will take a significant toll on a cat’s personality and well being. If you suspect your cat’s depression comes from sickness, visit a vet.

These checkups are the only way to know what’s wrong with your furry friend.

5. Aren’t Getting Enough Interaction

cat being depressed

People often believe cats are completely solitary animals.

But this belief isn’t true as every cat needs some level of attention from their human owners.

If these cats don’t get enough attention, they begin to sulk and become depressed.

Recently adopted cats need to be handled with care, as they might’ve been abused. Take a gentle approach and use interactive toys to bring out their fun side.


We hope our discussion on cat depression provided a better insight into what’s going on with your cat.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know in our comment section. Thanks for reading!

Have you ever seen these signs of an unhappy cat? What had your kitty feeling so grumpy? Share below!


Every good pet parent should know these signs of an unhappy cat! Learn what they are, plus discover the reasons behind kitty's grumpiness!
What has your cat in such a bad mood? Learn the top 5 reasons behind an unhappy cat!
Ben Roberts
Ben Roberts

Ben is an animal lover, blogger, and all around geek. He divides his love equally between his family, his animals, and his video games. In his spare time he is attempting to get a blog off the ground. Boy, are they heavy!