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7 Reasons Your Cat Is Listless

by Louise W. Rice

If your cat is usually zooming around, playing with toys, and bringing you ‘presents,’ it can be alarming to see them listless and lethargic. Any unexplained change in your cat’s behavior should always be investigated by a vet but, if medical causes have been ruled out, there could be other reasons behind your cat’s change in temperament. To find out more, take a look at these seven reasons your cat could be listless:

1. Change in Lifestyle

Cats can be extremely sensitive to any lifestyle changes, which could explain their listless behavior. If you’ve recently moved to a new home, for example, this could affect a cat’s sense of security and mean they’ll stay closer to home until they’re used to their new surroundings. However, even someone spending more time at home than usual, such as working from home, or being out of the house more often, could make your cat feel perturbed.

Think carefully about when your cat started becoming more listless, and examine your diary to determine whether any significant changes occurred around this time. If so, you might just find the reason why your cat isn’t behaving like they normally do. A little reassurance and time will be all it takes for your cat to return to its usual self.

2. Lack of Nutrients

Feeding your cat high-quality food is essential for their well-being. Similarly, humans need to get a full quota of nutrients to feel their best, animals do too. While a blood test at the vets will highlight any serious abnormalities, changing your cat’s food can help to ensure they’re getting all of the nutrients they need.

If you want to make sure that your pet is on the best diet, why not consider raw food for cats? Bella & Duke offer pre-packed raw cat food, making it easy to transition to a healthier regime. Delivered frozen, straight to your door, you simply need to defrost a new container as needed. If you want to find out more about the benefits of a raw food diet for cats, you can learn more here.

3. Getting Older

It’s not unusual for cats to slow down as they get older, so if your cat’s advancing in years, this might be why they’re enjoying a little more rest. While kittens and young cats will play for long periods of time, older cats will go out less often and play less frequently. In fact, you might find that an older cat sleeps from 12 to 20 hours a day!

Providing your cat is healthy and happy, this isn’t usually a cause for concern. Instead, it’s a sign of the normal aging process and simply means that your cat’s needs are changing as they get older.

4. Excess Weight

If your cat is on the heavy side, this could explain why they have less energy than they should. Obesity in animals is a major issue, and something owners aren’t always aware of. After all, giving your pet treats seems like an excellent way to reward and praise them. However, your cat won’t moderate their weight or limit their eating alone. Instead, they rely on you to do this for them.

A quick trip to the vet will confirm whether your cat is overweight. If so, switching to a healthier diet and increasing the amount of exercise your cat gets could help them return to a normal weight. As well as boosting their energy levels, this can also reduce their risk of developing additional health problems, such as diabetes, liver disease, and arthritis.

5. Boredom

People tend to assume that cats are solitary animals but, even if your pet enjoys their own company, this doesn’t mean that they don’t require mental stimulation. If your pet is lonely or bored, this may present as lethargic or seeming disinteresting in things, such as toys or food.

Fortunately, this can be relatively easy to rectify. Making sure that your cat doesn’t spend too much time alone and giving them your full attention for set periods during the day can have a major impact on their behavior and well-being. Using a toy to mimic their prey and allowing your cat to chase it is always a popular game, and it does not require expensive toys or bags of time. Instead, just make sure your cat gets to spend regular, quality time with you to prevent boredom and loneliness.

6. Depression

Depression might be widely known to affect humans, but the condition can affect animals too. Although cats of any age can develop the symptoms of depression, it’s more likely to affected older, senior cats. Lethargy can be a sign of depression in felines, but there may be other indicators that your cat feels depressed, such as vocal cues, hiding, aggression, or a change in grooming habits.

Additionally, excessive scratching, spraying, a change in appetite, and being overly clingy can also be signs that your cat is depressed. While other medical causes will need to be ruled out first, your vet may prescribe medication and/or behavior modification plans if they believe that depression is the cause of your cat’s listlessness.

7. Hot Weather

Like people, cats can struggle to maintain their energy levels when the weather is hot. In fact, all animals tend to adapt their behavior when the temperature increases. Of course, this is an effective way to protect themselves from excessive heat and the health risks it poses. If there’s no underlying medical cause for your cat’s excessive sleepiness, and it only seems to occur when it’s hot outside, it’s likely not a cause for concern.

However, you should always ensure that your cat has access to a well-ventilated and cool space, as well as a constant supply of freshwater. If your cat is long-haired or has tangles or mats, think about giving their fur trim before the hot weather arrives, as this will help to keep them cool. In the height of summer, draping a damp tea towel or cloth over your cat’s back can prevent them from getting overheated, while putting their toys or treats in the freezer can be a great way to keep them cool.

Boosting Your Cat’s Energy

If you’re worried about your cat’s energy levels, the vet should always be your first port of call. It’s always concerning to see your pet acting out of character, and there is a chance that their listlessness could be related to an underlying health problem, such as anemia or a urinary tract infection. If so, your vet will be able to prescribe the best course of treatment.

Even if your vet can’t find any medical reason for your cat’s lethargy, you’ll have peace of mind that they’re not unwell and be able to look at lifestyle factors to determine why they’ve lost their zest for life.

Whether you change their food, spend a little more time with them, or provide extra reassurance after a lifestyle change, there are many ways to help your cat feel happier and healthier. Often, making relatively small changes to your day-to-day routine is all it takes to boost your cat’s energy and give them a new lease of life.

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