Cleaning, shopping, cooking, more shopping, wrapping, last minute shopping—for many of us, the frantic pace and massive to-do lists that accompany the holidays are a definite source of seasonal stress. But did you know that cats often get a little cranky this time of year, too? You may have hung Marshmallow’s stocking by the chimney with care, but you’ve also disrupted her routine—and that always causes cat stress.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make the holidays a little less disquieting for your disheartened feline friend. From special treats to extra snuggles, these tips will temper the stress of even the most cantankerous of kitties.
1. Feed her some tasty tidbits. While you should not get into the habit of feeding your cat ‘people food,’ a little indulgence on special holidays won’t hurt—provided you’re careful in your selection. Turkey, roast beef, ham and other meats are generally acceptable options, as long as they’re not heavily spiced or salted. If your pet has health concerns or is on a special diet, check with your veterinarian first, of course.
2. Keep changes to a minimum. Most cats thrive on routine. Whenever possible, keep changes to a minimum. Feed her at the usual time. Don’t put the Christmas tree in front of her favorite napping window. And don’t relocate her food, water or litter box to accommodate the preferences of non-pet appreciative holiday visitors.
3. Provide soothing scents. It may sound like hokum, but Bach Rescue Remedy works relaxation magic. This combination of flower essences seems to relieve trauma of all types—spiritual and emotional as well as physical. Rescue Remedy Pet is an alcohol-free version you can add to your kitty’s water or apply to her fur a drop at a time. You’ll find it online and at many natural grocers.
4. Create a safe space. If your home is usually a quiet place, unfamiliar houseguests and raucous parties may be outside Fluff’s comfort zone. Makes sure he has a holiday-free retreat in which to relax and unwind or just ride out the festivities. Include his favorite bed, some food and water and a litter box so he doesn’t have to venture forth unless he wants to mix and mingle.
5. Take time for snuggles. You know why you’re busy during the holidays, but your cat doesn’t—she just feels like you’re ignoring her. Whenever possible, make time to sit quietly with your pet for a moment or two or get in a few minutes of rambunctious play to help her unwind. This break from the hustle and bustle will probably make you feel a little less harried as well.
How will you know if your usually cool-as-a-cucumber kitty is feeling the stress of the holidays? Common cat stress symptoms include inappropriate elimination, pacing, lack of appetite, pulling out fur, excessive meowing and hiding. Of course, physical illness can also cause stress, so consult your veterinarian if symptoms appear severe.
How do you keep the holiday season stress-free for your pets? Give us your ideas in the comment sections!