It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but for our cats it can sometimes feel like the most stressful time of the year. Family gatherings, vacations and just general busy-ness can create a challenging environment for our feline friends.
To help our cat’s cope better during the holidays here are a few tips:
- Decrease stimuli. If your cats do not like loud noises or unfamiliar people, then do not subject them to the 40 house guests that will be coming over for dinner. Instead, try to keep them safely tucked away in a quiet room. You can play classical music or turn on the television to further drown out the commotion coming from all of the “unwanted guests”. Try this classical playlist!
- Decorations can be dangerous. Many holiday decorations resemble toys to cats and entice them to try and play with them. Tinsel, in particular, is extremely harmful to cats if ingested. Christmas trees, lights and ornaments can also present a problem to cats who like to explore new objects in their domain. Ensure your tree is highly secure and consider decorating with non-glass ornaments if your cat is particularly mischievous.
- Avoid feeding “people food” to your cat.While your pet may be hoping to sample something off your plate at your upcoming gathering, sudden changes to your cat’s diet can cause stomach upset or worse. Certain foods like onions (don’t forget about onion powder!), grapes/raisins, chocolate, etc. can be toxic. Getting into something that is not normally in their diet can cause gastrointestinal issues that are sure to make the holidays less pleasant for everyone.
- Make sure your cat has identification.Things happen and the busy holiday season is a prime time for the door to be left open or the gate latch to not fully close. For this upcoming holiday, and all year round, your cat should have a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have identification tags with your phone number, a license, and proof of rabies vaccination. And because collars and tags can fall off, make sure your cat has a permanent ID with a microchip. Keep your contact information current with your recovery service provider.
- Mimic the comforts of home. If you are boarding your cat during the holidays, it’s always a good idea to try and bring some comforts from home to ensure they have as positive an experience as possible. Packing their own food, favorite toys and extra bedding are some examples of things that might make the boarding process smoother. It is not a good idea to leave a cat at home alone for prolonged periods of time, they should always receive regular supervision and can experience separation anxiety. For additional tips around boarding, click here.
- Use a natural calming supplement. For cats who struggle with disturbances to their environment such as travelling, loud noises, boarding, or hosting a large family gathering, try a calming behavioral supplement such as Zylkene®. Zylkene is a veterinary formulated product containing a unique, milk-derived ingredient that promotes calmness and relaxation without causing drowsiness. For short-term therapy, begin administration 1-2 days ahead of the anticipated event (such as a holiday party.)
*This article does not replace advice from your veterinarian. If you are worried about your pet’s health or behavior always reach out to your veterinarian.