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How to Prevent Holiday Stress in Cats…

How to Prevent Holiday Stress in Cats…

Posted by Andrea on 4th Dec 2021

The holidays are the time of year when families and friends come together--and especially this year after last year’s Covid restrictions. However wonderful it is to plan and hosts guests and parties, it is important to remember that it can be a time of great stress for your cat.

Remember how we always say that Kitty thrives on a daily, even hourly, routine? Well, that routine can be left in shreds when it comes to holiday visits and entertaining. Felines will experience stress and frustration simply because their routine has been turned upside down. Let’s look at what causes their stress, how they act out when they are stressed, and what we can do to prevent their anxiety. Our enjoyment of the holiday should not turn into a nightmare for our furry ones.

Causes of Stress: As mentioned, changes in your schedule can have a severe effect on your cat’s schedule. Are you working longer hours in preparation for the holiday? Are you visiting friends and family on the weekends? This means you are away more often and feeding Kitty at different times than usual. By deviating from your normal schedule, Kitty can become anxious, bored and angry.

Have you decked the halls? Lights, trees and gifts can make Kitty nervous. She doesn’t know why you have altered her environment. Are presents in the way of her Zoomie run? Cats have very acute senses of hearing and smell. Do you have candles burning and Christmas songs playing? Kitty could well find this overabundance of smells and sounds frightening to her delicate senses.

Do you have guests coming and going? While the indoor cat lives a fairly solitary existence with you and your family, the arrival and departure of a stream of new faces may scare her. A party with many guests can be literally overwhelming.

How To Recognize Feline Stress: If you are spending significant time visiting others or simply out shopping, Kitty will notice your absence. Being left alone can result in separation anxiety and lethargy which signals depression. Cats may display their unhappiness by inappropriate elimination outside their litter box. They may hide in new spots where you cannot find them, or they may meow incessantly. They may refuse to eat, venturing towards their food when everyone is asleep. Finally, they could show signs of aggression. A normally calm cat may hiss, growl, and bite if a stranger attempts to pet them. Short visits by a variety of guests will not allow Kitty enough time to acclimate to these new people, so she may act out in the form of aggressively defending her territory.

How Best to Prevent Stressed Out Cats: The most obvious way to prevent holiday stress is to control changes to your cat’s environment as much as possible. Try to keep her on her regular feeding schedule despite whatever may be going on in the household during this busy time. Make sure there is no decor blocking Kitty’s pathways to her food or her litter or to her Armarkat cat tree, where she should find a bit of escape from the antics going on below. Try not to put new clutter near her cat tree as this is truly the place she calls her own.

Before your guests arrive, ask them to coach young children on how to behave around your cat. Try to avoid any loud or boisterous activities or visitors. Cats like everything calm and as quiet as possible if they are to remain cool and collected.

If you are unable to control the situation, it may be best to relocate Kitty to an adjoining room where she can have the run of the space to herself. She may be happiest out of the way of any guests and will be just fine with her food, water, litter box, and favorite toys all in one location where she feels safe and secure.

Determine how your cat will be most comfortable. Some cats are sociable and enjoy the company of others. But many a kitty will feel threatened by new people in her territory. Be aware of her needs, and you can both enjoy the holidays!

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