The annual holidays can be a very stressful time for your cat. This is the time of the year when that strange tree goes up, bright trinkets are hung (but all your cat hears is « No, no, bad kitty! » when she tries to explore them), delicious food is prepared (cats need not apply to eat it!), and lots of strange people come tramping into the house.
Some cats are in their glory, being in the middle of the tree decoration tradition, while others react to differences in the household by cowering in fear. Plus, if the holidays stress you out (raise your hand if they don’t; the rest of us would like to know your secret), it’ll be communicated to kitty, and she may react in kind. And sometimes that fear and stress manifests itself in your cat urinating outside her litter box.
Here are three steps you can do to reduce holiday stress for your cat.
First, keep the household changes to a minimum. Think about where you might put the Christmas tree. If you put the tree in a place that normally belongs to kitty, she could be mighty upset with you. Her reaction could range from hiding for days to urinating underneath the tree, if not trying to pull it down. Look for a location that pleases both the human and animal population in your house. If that’s not possible, and knowing how cats can be, you’ll have to settle for pleasing one or the other. My bet is it’s whoever pays the bills.
My cat Scout thinks the Christmas tree is a new litter box location. She’ll urinate on the tree cover. That’s a treat to clean! I have to keep a plastic liner under the tree to facilitate the clean up. I make double certain to keep all the litter boxes clean, but she feels a need to express herself creatively at this time of the year. It’s her way to contributing to the tree decorating tradition.
Next, if you own a scaredy kitty, confine her to a safe room when hosting holiday events in your home. If possible, confine your kitty in a place that guests won’t stumble in. Put her food, water, and a clean litter box in the room. Stop in from time to time to reassure her that it’s alright. If there aren’t adequate hiding spots in her room, think about putting a box or large paper bag in with her, and encourage her to burrow in it.
Finally, purchase some natural flower essence compounds to put in her food or water all during the holiday season. There are several good remedies that are recommended for situational stress. Add a few drops in kitty’s food or water twice a day, and you’ll see results within 24 hours. Flowering essences are also safe for human consumption, so if you’re contemplating a fall into insanity, take a few drops yourself!
You can also purchase synthetic hormone substances that come pre-packaged in a bottle that plugs into any electrical outlet in your home. This remedy lasts approximately a month.
Good luck, and happy holidays to you and your family – humans and animals!