People are coming over. There will be noise, lots of moving feet, tempting food, yelling if football is involved, and a burning fireplace. But your little ‘Bah-Humbug’ buddy in the corner is not at all happy about the situation.
Cats are quiet creatures. A cat’s senses are amplified greatly compared to humans. All of this excitement is sensory overload. They are also territorial, so these ‘friends’ of yours are his space-invaders.
So when it comes to planning holiday events, you can keep your kitty happy by moving him as far away as possible from the festivities.
Start by designating a stress-free room in the back of the house, and helping your cat to recognize this as his sanctuary. Bring in a pet bed if possible so he can establish that this is his spot. Make sure he has a place to hide, such as an open closet. He may also want a place to climb, because cats feel safer being higher up. If your cat will be spending a lot of time in the room, it would be nice to include a climbing tree. Give him a little quiet time in the room every day, until you find him preferring this room for relaxation.
When decorating or moving furniture around as you prepare for the upcoming event, do it a little at a time, and involve your cat, so he will feel like he has some control over the situation.
On the day of the event, make sure he has soft, comfortable lighting, food and water, special treats and toys, a small litter box, and perhaps some gentle music playing to help cover the party sounds. Everything in this room should speak of peace and safety. You can include some cat anti-anxiety pheromone spray to put your kitty in a zen mood.
If you have additional pets who get along well together, pairing them in a single room will provide enjoyable company.
Check in on your cat every hour or so, to make sure he is still comfortable. It’s not advisable to let people come in to meet your pet, because that breaks his assurance that this is a safe retreat.
As guests are coming and going, it’s possible that a frightened or adventurous cat who has managed to sneak out of a safe room could make an outdoor escape while no one is looking. So please be sure that your cat is up to date on vaccinations, and has a microchip, plus a collar with ID tags.
Include “Indoor Only” on the tag, so anyone who finds your cat will know he needs help to get home. Also add an alert if your pet has any major health issues that would need immediate attention.
Just think of it as planning two parties. With some early planning, plus a lot of assurance and praise for your little guy as he overcomes his discomfort, both events will be a success.
Heron’s Crossing provides end-of-life care for pets in the Metro Atlanta area. In-home appointments with compassionate vets are available. If you’d prefer a home-like setting away from your home, our Decatur office is also available by appointment.