Maine Coon cat became depressed after the pandemic

There is a story online today about a ginger tabby Maine Coon cat who became depressed when the Covid-19 lockdowns ended. The cat’s name is Mango. He’s male because nearly all ginger tabby domestic cats are males because the coat is sex-linked. He lives in Romania. His owner is Mady Mondan and partner. She says that Mango showed signs of depression when she began to return to the office to work ‘normally’.

Maine Coon depression due to isolation resolved by adopting another Maine Coon
Maine Coon depression due to isolation resolved by adopting another Maine Coon. But is the problem fully resolved? I think not because domestic cats need the company of their human caregiver as well and it should be as often as possible. Image: Screenshot from video below.
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How many other cats have suffered depression under these circumstances? How many other dogs have also suffered depression when their owners have gone back to work? In a lot of instances, the owners have remained at home or adopted a hybrid working system in which they spend three days at home and two days at the office. This method would certainly help to alleviate depression in companion animals.

The story highlights what I think is a major and hidden issue with companion animals caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. A lot of people adopted dogs and cats during those lengthy lockdowns. These were ideal periods for animal companions because their owner was there for them all the time. Suddenly there was a sharp change in the wrong direction in terms of the well-being and welfare of these animals.

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The video on this page comes from TikTok and its of Mango whose depression was resolved by adopting another cat. That seemed to fix the problem. The problem was that Mango became isolated with a lack of stimulation. We don’t know but I think he is a full-time indoor cat. You can’t leave a full-time indoor cat alone all day because domestic cats are essentially social creatures although they originate in a solitary cat namely the African wildcat.

But you can’t ignore that need for socialising in the modern domestic cat. To be perfectly frank, I don’t even think that adopting another cat totally resolves the problem because domestic cats need to socialise with humans as much as they do with other cats.

What’s remarkable in some ways is that the comments under the video on this page indicates that people sometimes don’t realise that domestic cats can be depressed. They ask for signs of depression. A lot of people are unsure. Those of us who know domestic as well understand that they can be depressed. They can feel a range of emotions. We don’t know how advanced those emotions can be but certainly this Maine Coon cat would have felt depressed and his demeanour and general lack of desire to be active supported the assessment.

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Mondan took her cat to a veterinarian who did all the usual tests and declared that Mango was healthy. Yes, he was physically healthy but she must have realised that he wasn’t mentally healthy. He was so upset with being left alone that he didn’t even want to be petted. He lost interest in his food treats. He used to be obsessed with them according to Mondan.

And when the couple were away from their home for eight hours, working, Mango “wouldn’t drink, eat or use the toilet at all. It was very hard to move him because he was in an immobile state”.

You couldn’t get a clearer sign of depression than that. It brings to mind many shelter dogs waiting to be adopted who become totally immobile by their unhappy experience.

On adopting a nine-month-old Maine Cooon companion named Hera, Mango’s mental health improved immeasurably, Mondan said. She said that it was love at first sight. I don’t think it was that quick to be honest because it’s very unusual for a resident cat to get on with an incoming cat instantly but nonetheless they got on very well and now are best friends.

There has to be a word of warning in this story. Of course, Mango’s mental health has improved. However, I don’t think that adopting another cat is a complete solution. Mango needs more. He needs his human companions to be there a little more.

I would hope and believe that Mango’s human caregivers can find some way to adopt a hybrid working model which allows them to be with Mango more often. That would tick all the boxes of cat caregiving. Remember when a cat is stuck in the home, a captive animal, there needs to be an added focus on mental stimulation through and enriched environment. This is so important. A lot of people aren’t aware of this.

Domestic cats are essentially solitary creatures but over 10,000 years of domestication they are now sociable animals. That sociability needs to be directed at humans. There is no substitute for it.

It is probably fair to say that a lot of people have misplaced expectations and thoughts about domestic cats, believing that they are solitary creatures who can cope very ably when living alone all day, distanced from their human caregiver. They can’t. It is a formula for health problems due to stress. Yes, domestic cats hide their illnesses and their stress but you can see signs. The classic sign of stress in a domestic cat might be cystitis which the owner might think is inappropriate elimination. They might even think their cat has become naughty but they haven’t. It’s a medical condition.

Domestic cats can never be “naughty” like humans because they act instinctively to the environment around them. It’s normal. It’s nature. It is not naughty!

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My thanks to Mango Maine Coons for the video. They allow it to be downloaded and uploaded. Link to their TikTok channel:

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