Feline Wellness

Managing Stress During the Holidays: Keeping Your Cat Calm and Bright

November 29, 2023

The holiday season can be a stressful time with hosting parties, cooking lavish meals, and shopping for the perfect presents. But have you considered that your cat may be feeling overwhelmed too? Here’s some advice to keep your furry friend’s stress under control so you can all have a peaceful holiday. 

Cats love a routine and they aren’t big fans of change. When there is disruption to their beloved schedule, they can get anxious. When cats get stressed, they can get sick, stop eating, develop diarrhea, etc. so it’s best to keep your furry friend as calm as possible! Try to stick to their mealtime, playtime, and bedtime routines as best as you can. 

While decorating a Christmas tree, hosting a big party, or singing carols around a piano may be fun for you, it could easily overwhelm your cat. To protect their peace, create a safe space for them. Leave at least one room of the home undecorated and undisturbed so they feel comfortable. Provide cozy nooks for hiding spots or elevated perches so they can feel safe while observing - or avoiding - what’s going on. Put some of their favorite toys, bedding, and food here and allow your cat to retreat to this room when activities become too much for them. Consider gifting your cat a puzzle feeder or two to keep them occupied while they’re alone. 

Cats can hear three times as well as humans so they can easily become overwhelmed when things get noisy. If they’re hiding out in their safe space, consider putting on some cat TV or a white noise machine to help drown out any startling sounds. 

Make sure to make time to properly play with and exercise your cat. A tired cat is a happy - and well-behaved - cat. If you’re having company over or leaving the house for an extended period of time, have a good 15-20 minute play session beforehand. Get out the wand toys and really play. Let your cat jump, pounce, chase, and really get the sillies out. Once they ‘catch’ and ‘kill’ their prey they will be ready for a snack and a nap.

If your cat seems very stressed and isn’t acting like themself, consult your veterinarian. They can recommend calming aids or prescribe medication if needed. The holidays should be fun for everyone, pets included, so don’t overlook any signs that your cat’s anxiety is getting the best of them. 

However busy you may be, remember to spend quality time with your cat. Grooming, cuddling, playing, and just hanging out with your furry friend will keep them feeling peaceful and joyful. Spending time together will help to lower their stress-level and yours too!

Love, Nala