Do your cats enjoy the holidays, or does it add stress to their world? With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a good time to offer some tips for keeping your cats (and guests!) happy. Read on for 6 holiday tips to keep cats calm (say that fast five times, LOL!)
You’ll also like how to pet-proof your holiday in this post.
6 Holiday Tips to Keep Cats Calm
Schedules goes out the window during the holidays. School breaks mean kids come home, holiday shopping and parties take hours away, and family visits mean absences or STRANGER DANGER in the house.
Less worry about your cats being stressed, and your guests being offended by cat-centric issues (WHEW, what’s that bad cat litter SMELL???!) means less stress for you and more time to enjoy the holidays. Here are ways to make a cat safe Christmas tree, and use these tips to help keep your cats cool, calm, and collected.
Change Schedules Slowly
Cats love the status quo. They dislike abrupt change. Anything that throws their routine out the window may prompt them to “spread some spray” around to self-calm. Yes, I mean they may urinate outside the box, because the smell of their own signature odor comforts and helps to keep cats calm. So if you KNOW the schedule will change, introduce changes slowly to keep cats calm.
Give the Sniff Test
A clean kitty potty helps ensure your cats will maintain litter box allegiance. Remember that a cat’s sense of smell is many times more sensitive than our human noses. So by all means, keep the box clean but also avoid spritzing strong holiday scents that may offend your cat. Baking aromas and roast turkey smells as well as a pine-tinted tinge on the air are fine.
As much as possible, maintain the status quo. Feed at the same time even if you must move the food bar away from the guest bedroom, for example. As long as MOST of the routine stays the same, most cats will be flexible.
Use Baby Gates
I love using baby gates to control temporary access to portions of the house. Baby gates can keep the cats (or young kids) away from each others’ territory. You don’t want the toddler in the cat’s litter box! And neither does the cat. When a youngster will visit over the holidays, invest in some baby gates and set them up early so your cats become used to the notion. Kitty can still see through them, too–and may be able to vault over some. That works well to keep obnoxious visiting dogs away, while allowing the cat continued run of the house. Or, if you don’t want cats to get through, you can stack two shorter baby gates to keep climbing cats at bay.
Train Your Guests
Many of our friends and family also love cats, and the people who don’t…well, maybe they aren’t great friends, LOL! Just be sure to set down some rules of the house. Too many treats can upset kitty tummies. And even the most affectionate cat may get fed up with being passed around like a stuffed toy.
Give Cats Privacy
We want our cats to be part of the celebration. Some kitties, though, become fearful or over-excited by strangers in the house. In these cases, it is not cruel to shut the cat in a room by herself. She’ll consider it a vacation from stress, and you won’t have to worry about her hissing at a guest or leaving a hairball in someone’s shoe.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!