How to Help Your Cat Handle Holiday Stress | Dr. Elsey's

How to Help Your Cat Handle Holiday Stress

A tree inside the house, noisy strangers and an array of shiny baubles and paper. This stimulation and heightened activity can be too much to handle for some cats during the holiday season. Taking time to provide for your cat’s physical and emotional needs during this bustling season can result in a less stressed pet—and ensure a peaceful home. We’re sharing our advice on how to provide a calm holiday environment for your cat to enjoy.

Maintain a Routine

Creatures of habit, it is important to maintain the everyday routine of your cat. This includes feeding them at the same time each day, keeping a well-maintained litter box and offering regular interaction through cuddles and play. While the holidays can be a stressful time for all, owners included, offering a normalized routine can help calm the chaos and even help prevent illness or stress-induced reactions like inappropriate elimination.

Create a Safe Space

A comforting and secluded space can provide your cat with a place to escape if feeling overwhelmed. Creating a private room for your cat with all the provisions they’ll need such as their food and water bowls, toys and a litter box can provide a hideaway from stimulation and strangers if easily stressed. Alternatively, if your cat prefers to watch the merriment while staying secluded, consider creating a hiding spot. A cat bed tucked behind the sofa, a climbing tree or a cardboard box can create a sense of safety while still allowing your cat to view the festivities.

Limit Guest Interaction

While some cats love the extra attention that comes from unfamiliar faces, others are petrified. When inviting new humans into your home, always let your cat decide whether or not they’d like to interact with them. A cat can feel threatened or fearful if approached by a stranger in their home, so have guests proceed with caution when making introductions to the family cat. If just the ring of the doorbell is enough to send your feline into a full-blown panic, encourage guests to ignore the cat unless your furry resident makes the first move.

Provide Comfort

While the party is in full swing, enrichment activities such as food puzzles and toys can help distract from stress while scratching surfaces can provide your cat a way to calm nervous energy. When hosting duties finally come to an end, make sure to spend quality time snuggling with your cat to help them understand that the excitement is over. Spending extra time curled up on the couch together or playing while unwrapping presents can help your cat associate the holidays with warm feelings and a calmer state of mind.

With a little extra comfort and care, you can help your cat feel at peace this holiday season.