Holidays: source of stress for cats

Between cooking, shopping, gift-wrapping and entertaining, you may feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done before the big night. Chances are your cat is experiencing anxiety as well. To help make the holidays easier on your feline friend, consider the advice below.

Whenever possible, stick to your cat’s routine

Cats prefer when things happen according to their plan, which includes regular feeding times, play sessions and plenty of napping. Unexpected changes to their schedule can be a cause for puzzlement and worry. Keep feeding and caring for your companion as you usually do. If you think you’ll often be home late from Christmas shopping, spend the night elsewhere or sleep past breakfast time, consider getting a timed feeder to automatically dispense food when your cat expects it.

Create a holiday-free space for your cat

If you’re having friends and family over, all the noises and commotion can grow tiresome for cats used to having the whole house to themselves. Make sure your cat has a comfortable spot they can retreat to when they need some peace and quiet, like a bed in a less busy area or even their carrier box (leaving the door open) with a blanket.

For larger gatherings, consider keeping your cat in a closed room with all their essentials—food, water, litter box and favourite toys—to make sure they don’t sneak out as people come and leave.

Protect your cat from holiday hazards

While they make beautiful centerpieces or accessories, most holiday plants are highly toxic to cats, including poinsettias, holly and mistletoe. Keep them out of reach, or better yet, out of your home entirely. In the kitchen, holiday staple ingredients like garlic, onions, many spices, raisins and chocolate are all dangerous for your pet’s health, so it’s best to advise guests not to feed table scraps to your cat or leave food unattended.

Cat-proof your Christmas tree

Cats are fascinated with shiny baubles, dangly bits and sparkly stuff, so to them, Christmas trees must look like treasure troves! To help prevent accidents, use pet-friendly, unbreakable ornaments and avoid hanging any fragile or highly attractive decorations, such as tinsel and ribbon, within your cat’s reach. Consider securing the tree to a wall or piece of furniture, just in case your cat decides to climb it. Finally, if using a natural tree, make sure to cover the water bowl with tinfoil or cloth to prevent your pet from drinking from it.

All your cat wants for Christmas is you

The holidays are a busy season, and chances are you’ll often be rushing from one task to the next. Every once in a while, remember to slow down and take a moment to spend quality time with your cat. Whether it’s through grooming, petting, playing or talking, there are many ways you can make your cat feel loved and safe, and help reduce their stress level. While your cat may enjoy a snazzy new toy, nothing beats a few extra minutes with their favourite human.