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How to Destress Your Cat Over the Holidays: 9 Vet-Reviewed Ideas

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


How to Destress Your Cat Over the Holidays: 9 Vet-Reviewed Ideas


Dr. Maja Platisa Photo


Dr. Maja Platisa

DVM MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The holidays are notorious for bringing cheer, joy, and gratefulness, but they also cause a great deal of stress for many people. Even though we know that we are going to be putting things off until the last minute and preparing countless side dishes, we forget that we are not the only ones affected by this stressful season.

Our animals can feel tension in the air and notice the changes in habits, environments, and personalities. So, if it seems like your cat is a little stressed out over the holidays, they’re likely reacting to all of the activity, changes to the household, and people coming and going. Here are some tips to help destress your cat over the holidays and keep them safe.

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Top 9 Ideas to Destress Your Cat Over the Holidays

1. Remember to Relax

Every year around the holidays, things can get quite busy around the household. It seems that you’re always having errands to run, things to buy, and dishes to make. With all this preparation, it’s easy for one to get pretty scattered.

It’s hard to remember to take that deep breath in and really relax to alleviate a lot of that stress. But if you take time to relax, it can help your cat to feel more relaxed also.

Image Credit: Wanwajee Weeraphukdee, Shutterstock

2. Try to Keep Last-Minute Bustling to a Minimum

Anytime the gift giving season is around, it is imperative that you don’t put everything off until the last minute. We know you have 1 million things to get done, but it’s always best to do that when you’re in a fresh relaxed state of mind.

Trying to get all of your holiday shopping done on a timed basis so you aren’t scattered and going through the motions. Running around and rushing can cause a sense of unease in the household, and our cats can get stressed as a consequence.

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3. Give Them Space

Image Credit: Alex Di Stasi_Shutterstock

It’s time to give your cat a little bit of space! They are probably sick and tired of doors slamming, bags rattling, and tape rolls stretching. So, make sure to give them some space as well, as they are probably feeling the energy around the household for sure and the noises and activity could be stressing them out.

If you have nephews, nieces, or other family coming over for the holidays, make sure to tell them to give the cat space as well. It can be extremely exciting for a little kid to want to hold and snuggle up with a Kitty every time they see one. But not all cats will enjoy or tolerate this.

If your cat is already pretty stressed out due to the holidays, make sure that handling stays to a minimum, both for the cat’s safety and the childrens’. Kids can be rough and loud or may try to pick the cat up or squeeze them too hard, leading to pain and injuries. Or, the cat trying to wiggle out, scratch, or bite.

Also, understanding your cat’s body language is important, so you might want to suggest a hands off approach if they seem like they aren’t interested in affection at the moment, or keep your cat in a separate, quiet room until your guests leave. Make sure this is a room your cat usually loves using and resting in and they are likely to go there on their own, with plenty of scratching posts, perches, toys, a litter box, and food and water bowls, so they are not missing anything.

4. Include Your Cat

When your brain is busy, it’s easy to forget to enjoy the simple moments. Don’t forget to take a time out and snuggle, cuddle, and relax with your cat. But that’s not all! You can also include your cat by taking a holiday photoshoot with them if it doesn’t make your cat more stressed.

When your mom gets a Christmas card this year, she will enjoy her fur grandbaby as well! You could also put out an Instagram photo or even TikTok showcasing your purring pal enjoying the holiday season feline-style!

5. Give Them a Fancy Feast

Image Credit: Africa Studio_Shutterstock

Include your kitty during holiday meals. Make them their very own fanciful feast of turkey or chicken. Make sure to only give them cat safe options that are completely approved by your veterinarian.

Cats are carnivores and can surely partake in meat, but they cannot have any of the seasonings and additives put on human dishes. So, you can serve up their very own dish of boiled, plain meat. Even though it doesn’t have the delicious honey or clove seasoning, your cat will think it’s just scrumptious.

However, make sure all human food that may be harmful or even toxic for cats, such as pies containing raisins, chocolate, onions, and garlic, is kept well away from your kitty and safely stored in the fridge or a closed container.

6. Make Sure They Stay Busy

Don’t let your cat get bored. Make sure they have enough entertainment around the household to keep them satisfied. If your cat is stressed, they might have a little extra pent up energy. They might need to release it in the form of play.

When was the last time you went to the store to get your cat a present? You could always make sure that they’re stocked up on their own form of entertainment. You can get a cat tree, toys, or a new cat scratching post.

7. Keep Exterior Doors Closed

Image Credit: Natalliaskn_Shutterstock

Be mindful when you’re closing doors this holiday season. Many cats get out when you leave doors open due to carrying in boxes of gift bags and presents. They can also get out when you aren’t paying attention since you will be a little bit more distracted during this time.

They may try to sneak outside if they’re feeling stressed as a way to get away from whatever is stressing them. Try to keep the door shut behind you as much as possible and try not to slam doors either—you might get your cat’s tail!

8. Mind Electrical Areas

Electrical areas can be a huge cause for concern for our feline pals. Holiday decorations are very alluring, and many of them can seriously hurt your cat, including electrocution. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation didn’t just make a funny scene—it happens!

If you have a tree plugged in, Christmas lights hanging up, or other festive decorations, always make sure that your cat doesn’t have unsupervised access to them, especially if they are young, curious, and playful! It’s best to either unplug them if you are not there or to keep the cat out of the room where the electrical decorations are set up.

Your cat may try to play with the cords if they’re feeling bored, inquisitive, or stressed, so you don’t want to risk them getting hurt.

9. Keep Inedible Items Put Up

Your cat could try to get into all sorts of goodies, even the inedible ones. There’s a lot more around for them to get a hold of, knock around, and play with. Even though cats aren’t super notorious for swallowing things they shouldn’t, they can still accidentally get something in their system.

Not only can they get potentially toxic substances in their system, such as the poinsettia flower, but they can also ingest pieces of string or sharp objects from decorations and other holiday gear. All of these and many more will require urgent veterinary attention. You know your cat better than anyone. If you think that something might wind up in their mouth, put it up!

Image Credit: nadtochiy, shutterstock

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Now you can understand a little more about some things you can do to destress your cat over the holiday and keep them safe. Remember that you and everyone else will be stressed out and anything you can do to curb this reality is very important.

Your cat can certainly join in for the holiday fun, but be sure to be mindful of their body language and listen when you know they’ve had enough.

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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