Posted on: November 22nd, 2013 by Dr. Melissa Mustillo

Whether you’re staying in town and having relatives over, traveling, or boarding your kitty, the holidays can be stressful for everyone. Here are some helpful tips to survive this holiday season:

If Boarding:

  • If possible, take a tour of the boarding facilities to make sure they are clean and you feel safe leaving your furry friend there. Ask for references from other clients that have boarded
  • Make sure you bring along your cat’s regular food, treats, and a toy or bed from home so your kitty will be comfortable during their stay.
  • Make sure your kitty is up to date on vaccines prior to boarding to eliminate any last minute stress of scheduling a veterinary visit.
  • Consider an in-home pet-sitter so your furry friend can remain in the comfort of their house.
  • Traveling with your kitty:

Traveling with your kitty:

  • If you are flying, make sure you contact your airline directly to determine the specific requirements for traveling with your kitty. Do this many weeks in advance, as some airlines require a health certificate by a veterinarian.
  • If your driving and staying overnight in a hotel, book your reservations before you leave so you can ensure the hotel is pet-friendly and does not have any special requirements.
  • If your kitty becomes easily stressed in the car, talk with your veterinarian about sedatives or other calming agents.
  • Get your kitty used to the cat carrier before you make them go on a 4 hour car ride. Use Feliway spray and catnip to help reduce anxiety.
  • Make sure you bring extra bowls, food, treats, medications, favorite beds and toys when traveling.
  • If your cat has a medical condition, make sure you speak with your veterinarian to ensure travel is safe.
  • It is a good idea to have your cat microchipped or wear a collar for identification.

Staying in town:

  • If your having relatives staying overnight in your home or if they are just visiting for the day, make sure your kitty has a safe, quiet hide-away area. You may like your guests (or not!) but your kitty may not like others in their house. This safe area may be a room, bathroom, or basement. Provide food, water, and a litter box in this safe area. Your kitty may also like a box to hide in or a kitty bed to feel safe.
  • If your cat is sensitive or stresses easily, tell your relatives (especially if they have small kids) to respect your cat’s space.
  • Use Feliway, catnip, or other calming agents such as Composure if needed.
  • While a couple pieces of holiday turkey are a great treat for your kitty, avoid excessive amounts of table scraps as it may give them an upset stomach. Do not give your cat anything with onions or garlic, and as always – no chocolate!
  • Yes the holidays can be a fun, joyous time with family and friends. Some cats may enjoy this time to be social too. By nature though, cats do not like change and many get stressed during this time of year. If your kitty is prone to urinary issues such as cystitis, this is a common time of year for flare-ups to occur. Talk to your veterinarian for tips on how to prevent flare-ups.

We hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday with family, friends, and furry companions!