Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 9, 2023 by Crystal Uys

cats with Santa hats

The holidays are meant to be a joyful time, but for many of us, they’ve turned into a stressful race to an imaginary finish line. Between parties, baking, shopping, and entertaining, there always seems to be one more thing that needs to get done. And all of this holiday stress affects our cats, too.

Cats are creatures of habit and don’t like to have their routines disrupted. They also pick up on our stress, and your stress can actually make your cat sick. I highly recommend managing your own stress during the holidays and take some time to enjoy the season rather than constantly rushing through the days – your cats will thank you for it.

Here are some tips to help your cats have a stress-free holiday season:

Try to maintain regular routines as much as possible

Feed, cuddle and play with your cats at the same time you always do. If you haven’t already established regular play sessions, now is a great time to do this. 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day will provide stress relief for you and your cats.

Give extra cuddles

Chances are, you’ll be spending more time away from home, whether it’s shopping, going to parties, or even traveling. Make up for this by spending extra time with your cats when you are home.

Give calming remedies

Spirit Essences’ highly effective Stress Stopper formula can help your cats cope with the increased hustle and bustle during the holidays. Composure Calming Treats may also help.

Create a safe room

If you’re going to be entertaining and your cat is not the social kind, create a safe room for her where she can be away from all the commotion. Make sure she has a litter box, toys, and water in the room with her. Periodically visit her in the room even while you have guests in the house, and reassure her.

Keep your cats safe from holiday hazards

Use common sense if you’re putting up a tree. Cats and Christmas trees can co-exist if you take precautions.  Mistletoe is extremely toxic to cats, poinsettas are also toxic. . Christmas lilies are deadly. For other holiday hazards, read More Toxic Than Poinsettas: Top 5 Holiday Cat Hazards.

To ensure that everyone will have a safe and happy holiday season, manage your own stress, and help your cats manage their stress. You may just find that by slowing down a little, you and your cats will enjoy the season that much more.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

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12 Comments on Don’t Let Holiday Stress Affect Your Cats

  1. Wow, thanks for this post. Animals also can be stress during holidays. Not only humans. And these tips are really helpful. Thank you so much!

  2. Things change very little in my house even around the holidays. We don’t get any visitors and this year I am not putting out decorations because of my mischievous baby.

  3. We have guests with dogs during the holidays. Our kitties are not amused. So when I know the guest are coming I set up a cat safe room as far away from the doggies as possible. The cats seem to appreciate the advance warning and will stay in the room with the door ajar knowing the dogs are coming and will stay there until I bring them out to show them the coast is clear.

  4. Hi Ingrid & Crew!

    This post could not have come at a better time…
    Lil Nona Balongna’s eye has become goopy, glassy, squinty & red w/in the past 2.5 days. We dealt with this before 2+ yrs ago when I adopted her. It was diagnosed as Herpes Viral Conjuntivitus. Many eye drops later, it was healed. It’s a very rare & complicated infection.
    We just returned from the vet tonight & the vet confirmed that it’s back in full swing again. The flare is stress induced.
    The only change in routine is that we’ve been playing alot more w/ a ribbon the past 4 nights for about 10 mins.
    What are your thoughts?
    Have you or your other readers dealt with this before? Suggestions on the increased play time?
    Thanks as always,
    Em – The Zoo Crew’s Mommy

    • I don’t think the increased playtime is responsible for bringing the Herpes out of remission, Emily, but stress can cause flare ups. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to figure out what causes stress for a cat. It could be something as simple as another cat walking by the window. If anything, the increased playtime should help reduce her stress, so I definitely wouldn’t change that. If she’s not already on Lysine, ask your vet about it. It can be helpful in cats with herpes.

  5. Thanks for reminding us – it can be so easy to forget pet feelings when we get ourselves all stressed over what is supposed to be merry.

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