Cat Friendly Festivities

The holiday season is a fun time, full of family and friends, good food, and festivities. It can also be stressful, with too many activities, family feuds, and failed expectations. So how do you make holidays less stressful for sensitive, furry family members?

Here are some tips, and who knows? They may help relieve some of your stress, too.

It’s important to understand how your cat responds to the holidays. Does she/he hide under the bed at the ring of the doorbell, or is she/he at the door, ready to greet visitors? Is she/he upset by changes, such as moving furniture and putting up decorations–or does she want to lend a helping paw?

Giving your kitty the best holiday season possible depends a lot on what her/his needs are and providing a stress-free environment. 

  • Give shy cats a safe haven. If your cat hates changes and company, create a quiet space away from noise and activity.It could be a bedroom or other relatively large, enclosed area that includes things that smell like him–a favorite bed, toys he/she loves, a scratching post or cat condo. It’s best if you set this up well ahead of time so that he/she learns this spot is especially for him. That way, your pet will gravitate to it in a less stressful frame of mind when the rest of your home is too hectic for them.
  • Let your friendly cat be part of the festivities. Don’t lock her up for the evening (unless you have highly allergic guests) because she will be frustrated and bored. If you have cat-loving guests, all the better–have some interactive toys ready in case they want to engage your kitty in some playtime.
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  • Dress up your kitty for the holidays? Give it a pass–most cats don’t want to wear an elf hat or Santa suit. If yours is one of the rare ones who doesn’t mind, go for it and print up some cards. Same thing with visits to Santa at the local pet store. Unless your cat is leash trained and has already had pleasant visits to the store, don’t do it. You will just stress him/her out and make him/her unhappy.
  • Use cat-friendly decorations. Cats may chew on and get tangled up in the most unlikely things, so keep that mind. Instead of tinsel and tinsel garlands, consider using decorations made of paper, cardboard, wood, metal, and fabric.
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  • Many holiday plants can be poisonous to cats. While the dangers ofpoinsettias have been exaggerated, it’s still not good for your cat to chew them, and mistletoe and holly are very much a danger. So are amaryllis and other bulb plants. Investing in silk versions of holiday plants is the best way to keep your cat safe. Or get a festive holiday planter and plant catnip in it!

Pine needles from a real tree are poisonous to cats, as is the water the tree is kept in. Fake trees are safer, but the “needles” can still cause intestinal blockage if swallowed. If you think your cat is a chewer, you might want to settle on a ceramic tree or other option less tempting to a mouthy cat.

  • Christmas decorations often involve electrical cords and breakables. Cord covers are a lifesaver for kitties who like to chew on them. If you must decorate your tree with fragile ornaments, keep them more to the top of the tree where they are (maybe) out of reach. Decorate lower branches with fabric, paper, and cardboard ornaments…or cat toys.
  • Speaking of cat toys, why not buy holiday-themed toys and decorate your cat’s cat tree with them? It looks festive and is fun for your kitties. Hang stockings especially for your cats and fill them with your cats’ favorite treats and little toys.
  • A lot of holiday food isn’t good for cats. The ingredients are too rich, and some, like onions and garlic, are toxic. But you can still give your cat special treats during the holidays, just check with your veterinarian to see which options are best for your pet!
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  • Fun kitty Christmas gift idea: wrap up an empty, cat-size box as a present and then help her tear open the wrapping on Christmas day. Crumple up some of the wrapping and throw it in the empty box. Instant kitty toy!
  • And if the holiday stress is getting to you, shut yourself away with your cat for 10 or 15 minutes of cuddling or play. A break will do both of you good.

If you are having any other concerns for your pet during the holiday season, don’t wait to ask! No question is to simple or silly, we know how special each furry family member is. Give us a call today for more information, and have a Safe and Happy Holiday!

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