Keeping Your Kitty Stress-Free During the Holidays

by Jazmin Murphy   December 24, 2020

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Christmas and New Year’s are the primary sources of holiday stress for our furry companions. The scents, noise, and general holiday festivities are a bit much for the fur-babies to handle. Though many people still find themselves in quarantine this holiday season, millions of others are happily planning to invite friends and family over. Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice your cat’s sanity to do so. 

How can I keep my cat stress free during the holidays? The best ways you can provide pet stress relief during Christmas and New Year’s is to minimize loud noises by confining your kitty to a “safe room,” keep your kitty occupied with fun and engaging toys, and stick to a routine as much as possible. 

You’ll need to know what makes your kitty happy to fulfill all these tasks appropriately and effectively reduce their stress. The toys at home may not cut it, and you may not yet have the pet-friendly space required for a suitable “safe room.” With the holiday stress tips below, you can prepare your home and cat for a calm yet fun Christmas and New Year’s. 

Common Pet Stressors During the Holiday Season

Casual pet owners and veterinary experts alike know that coping with holiday stress is difficult for kitty and human companions. According to NC State Veterinary Hospital’s vet, Barbara Sherman: Despite your desire to include your fur-baby in the annual festivities, the event may just be too overwhelming for your little buddy to handle and can negatively impact their mood. 

Many of the typical cat stressors tend to all culminate during Christmas and New Years’ time, including: 

  • Loud sounds: Whether it’s in the form of traditional Christmas jingles or New Years’ explosive fireworks, your kitty has a natural aversion to high-volume, abrupt noises.* 
  • Strong smells: Peppermint, pine, cinnamon, an open fire, gingerbread – the list goes on! There are so many smells that emerge during Christmas time that may be overwhelming for your cat. Minimizing the scents flowing through your home will definitely make your cat’s holiday much easier to endure. 
  • Stranger danger: No matter how friendly your little kitty may be, having too many new people in the home at once can be downright scary. To accept your guests into the cat’s space, your kitty may feel the need to mark the house (or people) with the scent glands located in their head. For this reason, adding a few more scratching posts in the house couldn’t hurt. 

*As Cornell University’s Dr. Bruce Kornreich explains, humans can quickly figure out the source of such startling noises and infer that a firework or jingle bells won’t hurt us. Unfortunately, your cat may not have the same luxury and instinctively falls into its predator evasion behaviors to calm down and stay safe. 

To help your cat work through the madness of Christmas time and New Year’s, you’ll need to do some planning in advance on how you intend to manage pet stress over the next week or so. Pointers on how to do just that are listed below.

Pet Stress Relief Tips for Christmas (And New Year's) 2020

Cats are quite sensitive to environmental stressors. They’re so sensitive that they can face an unusually high risk of developing stress-related illnesses, more so than some other pets. If they are forced to experience the common stressors listed above with no opportunity to escape and collect themselves, then they might face a higher chance of developing:

To combat this, the most helpful things you can do to help your cat get through the holidays as happily and stress-free as possible are as follows:

  • Minimize excessive noise

  • Keep your cat occupied by providing toys and taking it on walks

  • Maintain as much of your daily routine as you possibly can

Suggestions on how you can accomplish these tasks are listed below. 

Minimizing Excessive Noise and Activity

One critical thing you must do for your cat’s health this Christmas is provide it with a “safe room.” This is a great holiday stress reliever, where your cat can get away from all the festivities and have some time to themselves if things get a little too crazy and energetic. 

For example, if you know you’ll be playing loud Christmas music, dancing with your family, or expect chaos when opening presents, then take the initiative and set up a quiet room in the house that your cat can retreat to. 

In that room, it’s best to make sure that your kitty is as cozy as can be. Providing them with a small, confined space where they can feel secure is key. Luckily, you don’t have to look very far for the ideal beds that can meet your cat’s needs in this regard:

Kitties love to hide away in small, enclosed spaces. It helps them feel secure and serves as the perfect shelter to block a bit of noise from the outside environment. This soft and plushy Christmas Tree bed is the perfect solution for giving your kitty a reliable place to hide away if the celebration gets a little too wild for them. 

Just like the Christmas Tree enclosed cat bed, this adorable banana cushion is perfect for giving your fur-baby an escape from the crazy holiday energy. As you may know, loud noises can be exceptionally stressful for your kitty. (Yes, this includes high-volume Christmas music!) So, if you expect the party to amp up, open the flap and invite your kitty to jump in! 

While your cat is hidden away in their safe room, do your best to keep loud, sudden noises to a minimum. Although your kitty has the protection of the quiet room’s four walls, lowering the volume can do wonders for keeping your fur-baby’s stress levels low.  

An added bonus of confining your cat to a more peaceful area of the home is that you can virtually guarantee greater door safety. With only one room designated to your cat throughout the holiday festivities, there is a significantly reduced chance that they’ll go scurrying out of the front or back door without you noticing. 

Keeping Your Cat Occupied

One of the keys to pet stress relief over the holidays is actively keeping your kitty engaged and in positive spirits each day. The best way to do that? Toys and games, of course! 

Researchers have repeatedly shown playtime to be a critical part of domestic cats’ health and wellness. In fact, it is so important to your cat’s life that veterinarians consider it to be one of the “five pillars of a healthy feline environment.”

Since the holidays are a particularly tumultuous time for your kitty’s psychological stability, it’s best to provide them with some high-quality toys that engage all their senses. This way, they can remain occupied and fulfilled, no matter how their human chooses to spend their Christmas and New Year’s. 

The best toys you can provide your cat with much-needed pet stress relief over the holidays include: 

Just like the Christmas Tree enclosed cat bed, this adorable banana cushion is perfect for giving your fur-baby an escape from the crazy holiday energy. As you may know, loud noises can be exceptionally stressful for your kitty. (Yes, this includes high-volume Christmas music!) So, if you expect the party to amp up, open the flap and invite your kitty to jump in! 

Cats love playing with squeaky toys – these are perfect for awakening their predator instinct! As they chomp on one of the 10 adorable plushy designs, the toy will emit a funny squeal that’ll engage your kitty’s playful energy like nothing else can. With this keeping them busy, you won’t have to worry one bit about whether your kitty’s going to get into trouble from scratching or stealing things out of boredom. 

Help your kitty get as comfortable as possible while still having a bit of fun during relaxation time. This bed is the perfect combination of coziness and playfulness, as it features a tunnel, bells, and hanging toys to keep your cat entertained while they lounge on the 21.5” soft bed. 

*If you’d rather have a more personal touch to your cat’s toys or scratching post, consider opting for Purrty Presents’ DIY Cat Rope

Whether you choose to play with the rope on its own along with your kitty (with caution!) or wrap a post to make your own scratching post, rest assured that your kitty will enjoy the heck out of this natural sisal rope. 

This is a widely used material for cat toys, and works as a highly reliable scratching textile that your kitty will never get bored with. On its own, the sisal rope will catch your cats’ eye – which has specially evolved to detect precise movements – and activate its hunting instinct when you swing it back and forth. 

However, as a wrap for scratching post, this material will provide the perfect amount of friction to help your kitty unsheathe a fresh layer of their claws, keeping their feet as comfy as possible over the holidays. 

(Note: If you do choose to use the sisal rope on its own for your cat’s entertainment, please choose an option with a large diameter. This will help prevent the potential risks of ingestion or tangling that cats often experience when playing with string or rope.)

Sticking to Routine as Best as Possible

Just like us humans, cats are creatures of habit. In the same way that we cling to our daily routines (including eating, hygiene, etc.), we must recognize that our fur-babies do the same. Disrupting that so suddenly with the onslaught of holiday celebrations can be quite jarring to your pet’s health. 

You’ll want to do your best to keep things as normal as possible for your little one, so they don’t get thrown off by the festivities. (After all, your cat doesn’t realize that it’s Christmas. For them, it’s just another regular day – there just happens to be a ton of flashy lights and tinsel in the house. Let your cat live their life like any other day, and they’ll stay happy and stress-free.)

To keep your cat on their regular day-to-day schedule, it is best to prepare yourself with these basic necessities:

Kitty needs attention! It’s tough to split your concentration between your guests and pets, but it’s crucial that you don’t forget that your kitty still needs love, even when guests are over! This sweater is perfect for bringing your little fur-baby along for the ride and giving them the cuddles they deserve. 

Note:Be mindful of your cat’s temperament while wearing this snuggly hoodie. Although your cat may be demanding of your love and affection, they may not enjoy meeting everyone that came to visit for the holiday, even if they are nice and cozy in your “kangaroo pouch.”

Cat Walking Harness

Just like you, your kitty may need a few moments to get away from it all. Out of the house, away from the bright lights, Christmas music, and guests’ chatter. You’ll need to set aside some time for you and your cat to spend quality time together in peaceful silence or enjoying the sounds of nature. Taking your cat out for a walk is the perfect way to grab a few minutes of tranquility and escape from the holiday chaos. 

You can still maintain a festive spirit, even when you’re walking through the neighborhood with your little buddy! These Purrty Presents cat harnesses are available in a wide variety of colors, including red and green. 

Part of maintaining your regular routine means that you’ll need to make sure you feed your cat at their standard times as well. Luckily, you don’t have to compromise your beautiful holiday décor to whip out the kitty’s feeding equipment. 

If you want to spruce up your little one’s food and water station and maintain a nice aesthetic throughout your home for your guests, Purrty Presents is prepared to help with the Double Feeding Cat Bowls and the easy-to-use Pet Food Scale Scooper. 

We know how it is to want to hide your pet’s normal food dishes. You don’t want guests seeing those eyesores: the old, dingy metal dishes or the extra mixing bowls you had lying around when you adopted your kitty. To make sure every corner of your home is aesthetically pleasing all while keeping your cat on its regular schedule and feeding routine, set up this simple, sleek feeding set anywhere you like. 

With this guide, you are ready to be a rock-star cat parent over the 2020 holiday season. Know your cat well to identify which of these seasonal precautions they require, so you can ensure a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (free of holiday stress) for your fur-baby, too! 

About the Author

Jazmin “Sunny” Murphy began writing informal scientific content on nature and animals in 2015. Four years later, she launched her freelance career as a digital content and copywriter. This work merges her academic perspective, rooted in her B.S. Zoology, and professional experience as a veterinary tech, university research assistant, and more with relevant marketing, SEO, and engagement techniques across various industries. Jazmin now covers pet care, pest control, cannabis, outdoor recreation, STEM research and news, and product reviews across several niches.

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