Will you be hosting guests for the holidays? If so, remember to make sure your cat’s needs are taken into consideration. While some cats are very social, interactive and may like meeting new people, others may find holiday visitors and festivities rather stressful. Stress in cats can manifest itself in multiple ways, including illness and objectionable behaviors. Here are some ways keep your cat healthy and comfortable when guests come to stay.
- Prepare a quiet, private place where your cat can retreat if he/she needs to get away. Ideally, this should include a bed or box to curl up in, a litterbox, and food and water stations. Allow your cat to explore and become familiar with this area days before guests arrive. You can make this area more attractive by adding their favorite toys, blankets, treats or catnip. Playing soft, soothing music or talk radio can help to cover unfamiliar sounds.
- Consider using a synthetic feline pheromone diffuser or spray such as Feliway®. These can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Monitor your guests’ interactions with your cat. Make sure they know if or how your cat enjoys being held, petted, groomed, or played with. Never force your cat to interact with strangers if they are uncomfortable. Additionally, if your cat has a tendency to eat or swallow foreign objects warn your guests and ask them to be aware of leaving things laying around. It may be helpful to make a “Cat Rules” list and put it on the fridge to remind everyone of the rules.
- If your cat is indoor-only, make sure your guests are aware of this, also. If necessary, post notes on doors as a reminder. If your cat is the type that will try to slip outside when the door is opened, ensure your cat has identification (collar, tag, and microchip with current registration) in case he/she escapes. If there is a chance that it will be difficult to prevent this from happening, consider setting your cat up in a secure room or making reservations at a boarding facility for the holiday duration.
- Go easy on the treats! Feeding even a little bit of human food or too many treats can cause mild GI upset and even severe illness. Maintaining your cat’s normal routine and diet are important. Ensure your guests know the rules about feeding your cat, as well. (This is especially important if your cat eats a special diet.)
- If your cat eats a special diet or takes medication, ensure you have a good supply to last through the holidays. If you purchase these items from your veterinarian, check to see if they will observe special holiday hours.
Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season from all of us at Boise Cat Clinic!