The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone--pets included! Cats can be especially sensitive to the stressors of the holidays. There are many unfamiliar guests, strange interior decor, loud noises of celebration, new scents from holiday candles or baking, and even the transference of anxieties exuded from us as their human companions.
8 Cat Stress-Reduction Tips for the Holidays:
-Feliway plug-ins or spray and/or Nurture Calm collars can help cats feel more secure as the world around quickly changes for the holiday season.
-These can be especially helpful to have in place when unfamiliar guests are going to be staying in your home for extended periods of time.
Calming noise to drown out loud sounds
-“Music for Cats” by David Teie is my personal favorite, as it has some cool scientific research behind it!
-Nature sounds, new age, or classical music are good options too.
Quiet, separate away time for your cat
-Provide your cat with alone time in a quiet place, such as a back bedroom. This can be a safe place away from all the hustle and bustle that may be going on in the house around the holidays.
-If locking your cat in an area, remember to provide a litterbox and water source.
Interaction with your cat in a quiet space
-Talk to, sit with, pet, and/or play with your cat a little extra during this time. This lets cats know that at least you are still a constant in life when everything else seems to be changing with the holiday.
-Have new guests calmly give your cat treats to make a positive association with new people.
Reduce the use of candles and scented sprays.
-New scents can make cats feel like they are not in the same house.
-This is especially important if you have an asthmatic cat to reduce the risk of coughing flares.
Slowly introduce new decor
-If possible, give your cat time to adapt to and explore the new surroundings, especially before any holiday guests arrive.
-Monitor your cat around new decor to assure that no ingestion or injury can occur. Cats love to try to eat tinsel, garland, ornament strings, christmas trees, glitter objects, artificial snow paint on trees, etc. Some cats will also go to great lengths (and risk injury) in their attempts to access and play with “fun” decor items.
WATCH THE DOOR
-Cats can be startled very easily. When guests are entering or exiting your home, it is especially important to monitor your cat’s whereabouts. It can be easy to miss a fearful (or mischievous) cat slinking out the door during holiday greetings!