It can be particularly hard to read cats and know what they are thinking and feeling. Cats communicate in their own way and if you pay close enough attention, you may be able to spot the signs of an unhappy cat.

So, if you are worried that your cat is depressed or unhappy, here are some warning signs to look for.

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Signs That Your Cat is Unhappy

These are some of the most common signs that your cat is unhappy. If your cat is indeed not feeling good about life right now, you should be able to spot some of these indicators.

If you just can’t tell but are still worried, there is no harm in taking your cat to the vet for a checkup. You never know what might be going on with them, so it is a safe option just to check them out.

1. Hiding

Cats naturally love to hide and find those precious hiding spots. However, it can also become a way to self-soothe and find comfort. If they suddenly start to become particularly reclusive and distant, this could be a sign that your cat is unhappy.

Unhappy cats tend to be more on edge, fearful, and even stressed, which is another reason why they may hide. It can also be a way to get away from their normal activities if they are feeling particularly down.

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Try to pay attention to how often your cat slips away. They might just have a favorite hiding spot, or it could mean that they aren’t happy.

2. Change in Verbalization

Many cats tend to be very vocal about how they feel, often crying for food, attention, or when they are angry about something.

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A cat’s vocal way of communication can also indicate if your cat is unhappy. This often comes as a low and mournful sounding cry, or even constant crying can indicate that they are unhappy.

If you notice a sudden change in how your cat is vocalizing, something may be off. They may not be able to directly tell you that they are unhappy, but they are trying to.

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3. Changes in Sleeping and Eating Habits

Cats can sleep for a very long time, 12 to 16 hours per day yo be specific. So it is not always a call for concern if you notice your cat dozing off frequently.

This is only a concern if it is unusual for your cat to sleep as frequently as they suddenly are. When cats are unhappy, they tend to sleep for longer periods of time than they normally would. They might even sleep in different areas of the house.

If you notice your cat sleeping more frequently or not sleeping in their favorite spot, they might not be feeling great.

Your cat’s eating habits can also show clues as to how they are feeling. It is very common for unhappy cats to eat less than they normally would, even turning down their favorite foods and cat treats.

It is less common for cats to overeat when upset, but it is also a possibility. All of these slight warning signs may be able to indicate if your cat is unhappy.

4. Aggression

Aggression can also be a sign that your cat is unhappy, especially if it is unusual for your cat to show unwarranted aggression.

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Because cats can’t necessarily say how they are feeling, they may instinctually lash out. This is their way of trying to let you know that something is off and they aren’t happy with it.

Their fear response may be especially sensitive due when they are unhappy. Unhappy cats might interpret normal things as threats, which is why they might bite you when picked up or scratch you as you walk by.

5. Changes in Grooming Habits

If your cat is unhappy, they may even change the way that they groom themselves. This can take two dramatic turns depending on how your cat is feeling.

Some cats may start to severely overgroom themselves, which can result in hair loss. This is often a way to self-soothe and make themselves feel better.

Or your cat might stop grooming altogether. This is often a sign that they are more than unhappy and have started to become depressed.

If they stop grooming completely, their hair will often become matted and dirty, and they will start to stick. This is not good as it will mean that you will have to bathe them as well as clip away matted fur. You could also take them to a groomer to have this professionally taken care of.

Other Warning Signs That Your Cat is Unhappy

  • Disinterest in their normal activities can show that they are melancholy or uninterested. This can also show through excessive napping and lethargy.
  • If they are usually playful but no longer want to play. 
  • If your cat starts to spray this could mean that they are unhappy. Spraying can be self-soothing by spreading around their scent.
  • Their body language can also indicate how they are feeling. If your cat’s ears are back, their back fur raised, or their tail tucked, they might be unhappy, tension is also a sign of distress or unhappiness.
  • Your cat might also display signs of aggressive fear, such as growling, hissing, and running away. This is often caused by stress and tension or the desire to be left alone.
  • If your cat looks like they are always bored, they might be unhappy. This is a common sign of them being disinterested in their normal activities and showing signs of fatigue.
  • If your cat suddenly stops interacting with you, they may be unhappy. This is often a sign of unhappiness because they become reclusive and want solitude. They can pull away from you to self-soothe or sleep elsewhere.

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