This is the time of year when people are hustling and bustling, and celebrating the holidays with friends and family. There’s all the shopping for presents, going to parties and unexpected guests dropping by that keeps us busy. Sometimes, too busy to take notice of how all of these changes are affecting your cats.
Most people celebrate by putting up a Christmas tree and decorating their house. All of these shiny decorations and ornaments on a tree full of lights are beautiful to look at, but they can pose a danger to your cat.
Most cats are drawn to things that sparkle, strings or ribbons and let’s not forget the wires from the lights on the tree. You need to make the holidays safe for your cat by thinking about what tempts them. If it is harmful to them, leave it out when decorating. If you take these precautions when decking out your tree, and keep in mind what you cats like to get into and keep them out of his reach, your cat will remain safe and you won’t have the stress of watching them every minute.
Which brings me around to feline stress. Did you know that cats can feel your stress? Of course, if you think about it, they sense when you’re upset, sick or in a happy mood, so why wouldn’t they feel your stress? So when your life is scattered all topsy turvy, chances are theirs is, too. Like us, they have ways of showing that they are stressed out. The two most obvious ways are eating or urinating irregularly. Feline stress can lead to illnesses, so beware of strange behaviors and contact your vet as soon as you notice them.
When guests come around, let them know that the cat needs to set the rules. If he wants attention, he will come to them. When he has had enough, let him go his own way. This should be how you handle any visitation anytime of the year, but the cat will be even more sensitive to over-attentive guests due to the changes that the holidays bring.
Just the other day, a friend came over to visit and began to pet my cat. Mimi, who is the sweetest cat in the world, was loving it but all of the sudden she turned and hissed at my friend. This is not the norm for her, but she may have been a bit stressed from having someone that she doesn’t see everyday make over her. My friend wasn’t holding her against her will. Mimi was free to walk away at any point, but she didn’t know what to do with the attention, so she did what cats do … she hissed.
Provide a safe place away from all of the noise. This gives the cat a place to retreat to. Trust me … he’ll be better off in his own little space away from the attention that he doesn’t want. He’ll come out if and when he feels comfortable with all the goings-on.
Holidays are all about love, so spread it over your cat. I almost never give my cats treats, but around this time of the year, I put a few healthy ones in with their food. They don’t know that they’re the boring, healthy ones; they just know that they have been given something different. I also give them lots of new cat toys. This takes care of two issues: it makes them feel special (which we all know they are), and it draws their attention to the right toys instead of playing with that ornament the Aunt Mable gave you. Take the time to cuddle with them. It will not only be good for the cat, but it will sooth your holiday stress as well.
Finally, keep the normal routine. When it’s time to eat, feed them, regardless of your friends in the other room. Take a few minutes each day to play with them.
Make this holiday safe and stress free for both you and your cat.
Our thanks to: