Cat Behavior May Be Affected By The Holiday Season

Cats can be creatures of habit. Changes in the daily routine, additional house guests or the hectic pace of the holiday season can be stressful for your cat, often leading to a change in behavior or personality.

With environmental changes like holiday decorations and an increase in visitors, your cat may become more elusive — hiding from all the activity or showing signs of aggression. There may even be a change in your cat’s litter box habits.

Reducing Stress on Your Cat During the Holidays

Luckily, cats and holidays can mix, and there are some things you can do to help with the stress your cat may be experiencing at this time of year.

  • Stick to the Routine: Feed and play with your cat at the usual times. They will appreciate keeping on their regular schedule.
  • Provide a Peaceful Place: Give your cat an area of the house such as a bedroom where he or she can go to be alone and get away from the commotion.
  • Keep Introductions Casual: When it comes to new people or unfamiliar pets, allow your cat to initiate the contact instead of forcing them to interact.

Why Does my Cat Climb the Tree?

Festive decorations can be irresistible to your cat, resulting in dangerous behaviors. For example your cat might climb the tree to perch and rest. This is an instinctive behavior; your cat feels that a high place is a safer place. In addition, not only are ribbon, tinsel, lights and ornaments choking hazards, they can cause intestinal blockages if they are ingested.

Certain decorations can also bring out a natural hunting instinct, causing your cat to stalk anything that moves or blinks. Also, some cats like to chew on lights and extension cords, which can lead to an electric shock.

Keeping Your Cat Safe During the Holiday Season

Let’s start with the holiday tree. It’s best to limit your cat’s access to it, especially if he or she is a climber. Keep them out of the room where it’s located, use a barrier in front of it or try spraying your tree with a repellant such as bitter apple to keep your cat away.

The tree can fall over if your cat climbs it so make sure that it is secure by using a sturdy stand and affixing your tree to a wall or the ceiling. It’s ideal to hang lights, ornaments and tinsel higher on the tree as well. If you put any chemical additive into the water to keep the tree fresh, be aware that it can be toxic to your cat and limit access to the water supply.

Many holiday foods can cause illness or be toxic to your cat. Don’t feed your cat from the table and ask that any guests also refrain from giving people food to your pets.

Keep any presents, especially those that might contain food, away from your cat and be sure to put away all ribbon after it has been used. If you suspect your cat has ingested any of the things discussed in this article, take your cat to your nearest Banfield hospital immediately.

Learn More

For more information on curious cat behavior during the holidays, please read the articles below from our pet behavior resource library. You can also learn more about training, common challenges and behavior-related health issues in our preventive care center.