Christmas season is getting closer and the same goes for family gatherings. For some cat owners, however, this can be a difficult time. Having scores of relatives coming over could mean a lot of noise, loss of space and pinchy nephews and nieces. That is a lot to process for a cat who is generally used to having fewer people around the house.
After all, cats are cautious and shy by nature. So if you want to make sure kitty is calm and comfortable during the big Christmas dinner, here are some solid tips.
1. Check how sociable your cat is.
Some cats are shyer than others and that can mean the difference between being able to bring them out a bit during the party or giving a whole room to themselves until there are fewer guests.
If your cat is already familiar with a lot of the faces at the gathering (such as your immediate family), then there’s less to worry about. For particularly large parties, however, it is more advisable to isolate your cat. (You can always designate another room for anyone who really wants to meet your feline friend.)
2. Make sure your cat has stress-free access to food and litter.
Naturally, you’d want to keep the litter box fresh and clean while also away from the dinner table and other areas where most of the guests will be gathering. If you decided to give your cat a secure space, then the box should be there too.
The same goes for food and some toys. No matter how social a cat can be, it can get anxious when there are too many people getting between it and its necessities.
3. Keep a strict, closed-doors policy.
If you don’t want your cat to accidentally run out of the house, then make sure that the party has all doors and windows secured. Even if your cat is an outdoor one, they still need supervision (which you can’t really afford to give during a large gathering).
A similar policy can be in place when giving a cat its own room for the rest of the party. Make sure guests understand that the cat’s room is off limits until they ask permission. Make regular checkups on your cat too and keep it calm.
4. Implement noise control.
Whether it is soundproofing the room your cat will be in or telling guests to keep a certain volume, minimizing noise can help an anxious cat.
Cats are very sensitive to not just the sight of new people but also unfamiliar noises. This triggers their own fight-or-flight response. But unmanaged, this can lead to unhealthy anxiety.
So, no matter how big the party, always look for ways to keep the noise from startling your kitty.
5. Consider improving their social skills.
Lastly, you might want to also consider training your cat to be more open to unfamiliar faces. Make a habit of carefully introducing your cat to people at home. In fact, this is highly advisable when cats are still kittens.
The more exposure they have to people in their lifetime, the less anxious they will be. Even if you have to ultimately still keep your cat isolated during parties, frequent exposure will reduce your need to do so in the future.
Christmas gatherings can be stressful enough on yourself but make sure kitty doesn’t end up taking additional stress on its own! Be mindful of its behaviour towards people and make sure its Christmas is as comfortable as your guests.