Cats generally don’t like holidays. After all, their lives get turned upside down: Either you leave for days on end and leave them in the care of a cat sitter, or the party comes to your house and it’s a never-ending parade of strange people and strange noises.
Here are a few ways to make Thanksgiving easier on your cat — and on you.
Tell Her What’s Going On
It may seem silly, but if you talk to your cat before the holiday madness sets in and let her know what’s going to happen, you can help her feel less stressed.
Offer Shelter from the Storm
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving at home, give your cat a refuge from the chaos. Set up a bedroom or office with everything your cat needs to be comfortable — a bed, food and water, a litterbox, and some toys — and let her stay there, with the door closed, while the party goes on.
Don’t Leave Her Out in the Cold
With all the comings and goings, it’s easy for your cat to slip out the door unnoticed. A kitty search party might be a good way to work off some of those Thanksgiving calories, but it’s not an ideal way to spend a holiday evening. By keeping your cat in a safe room, you can prevent her from disappearing.
Contact your vet and find out if the clinic will have reduced operating hours during the holiday weekend. If so, ask if your vet has a care arrangement with other local animal hospitals and get information about emergency clinics in your area.
Don’t String Her Along
If you use string to bind the legs of your turkey or close the stuffing hole, be sure to put it out of your cat’s reach. It’s bound to be tasty with all those juices cooked into it, and your cat could chew and swallow it — with potentially fatal results.
Onions Can Make You Cry, in More Ways Than One
You may not be a fan of Grandma’s creamed onions, but don’t feed them to your cat. Onions contain chemicals that can destroy red blood cells and cause a potentially fatal type of anemia.
Don’t Let Her Chew the Fat
It may be tempting to give your cat some turkey skin to chew on, but don’t do it. Skin is very fatty, and all that extra fat can cause diarrhea. Not pleasant for your cat, and not pleasant for you.
Make No Bones About It
Although cats love to gnaw on bones almost as much as dogs do, cooked bones will shatter into sharp slivers that could puncture your cat’s esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
Ease That Tummy
If your cat does manage to get into the Thanksgiving feast and gets the runs as a result, try a teaspoon of plain, unsweetened lowfat or nonfat yogurt. The “good bacteria” in yogurt can help bring her intestinal flora back into balance and help get everything working properly again.
Prepare for the Sitter
If you’re leaving for the holidays, be sure to arrange care for your cat. Ask a reliable friend to stop by a couple of times a day and feed her, give her some love and make sure she’s okay. Alternately, find a well-regarded cat sitter to do the same. Be sure to leave contact information for you and your vet in case the need should arise.