Depression in humans has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. A 2017 study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that an estimated 17.3 million adults has had at least one major depressive episode, characterized by a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, as well as problems with sleeping, eating, energy, concentration and self-worth. I expect that more recent statistics will probably show even higher numbers, especially considering the mental health challenges wrought by the pandemic.
When it comes to depression in cats, however, the picture isn’t as clear. A diagnosis of depressed humans is primarily based on self-reported symptoms, but the disease is much harder to assess in cats.
In a recent article for Animal Wellness Magazine, I explored the causes, symptoms and treatment options for feline depression.