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Top 10 Thanksgiving Tips for Cat Owners

By Brad Kloza

Top 10 Thanksgiving Tips for Cat Owners

In the chaos of getting ready for a Thanksgiving party, it’s easy to forget that little disruptions to your pet’s routine life can lead to big drama. To help you plan ahead, we’ve enlisted the guidance of E’Lise Christensen, DVM, a veterinary behaviorist at NYC Veterinary Specialists, and her colleague Patricia Joyce, DVM. Here’s what they advise:

1. Set up a Kitty “Panic Room”
Set aside a secluded room for your cat to use as a safe haven. Many cats are much more comfortable in their own special space rather than out with visitors, so don’t think of this as a bad thing for your cat. Set it up a few days in advance and spend some time in there with your cat. The room should include elevated resting and hiding areas, a litter box, food, water and toys.

2. Mind the Door
While guests are coming and going, cats may lurk by the door and try to make a break for it. Dr. Christensen recommends placing your cat in its safe haven while your guests arrive and leave.

3. Teach Kids About Cats
Kids often love cats, but cats don’t always love loud, energetic kids. Dr. Christensen advises isolating your cat in its safe haven if there will be many children around. If you have a small group of well-behaved kids, let the kids throw treats or toys on the floor for the cat. Teaching children how to properly play and behave around cats could make everyone happy. 

4. Protect Your Guests’ Belongings
Cats usually get stressed when their space is invaded by strangers. This stress can cause some cats to urinate on the new things in the environment. Put your guests’ belongings out of reach.

5. Keep Your Cat on Its Usual Diet
Dr. Joyce says many Thanksgiving foods can make cats sick. It’s tempting to want to share on a special occasion, but your kitty won’t be very thankful if you give it nausea.

6. Snuff Those Candles
With a large number of unfamiliar people in the house, your cat may decide to stay off the floors and jump up to higher vantage points to take in the scene. A candle placed in the wrong spot could be knocked over and burn more than your holiday turkey. Avoid that risk.

7. Beware of Guests Bearing Flowers
People like to bring plant or floral arrangements as gifts, but cats will want to investigate them and maybe even take a taste. Some plants, like those in the lily family, can be poisonous and even fatal. Keep the arrangements away from your cat, unless you know exactly what plants are in them and that they’re safe.

8. Mix “In-law” Pets With Caution
Out-of-town guests might bring the family pet. You may already know that your cat gets along with his cousin Fifi the poodle or Cleo the Abyssinian, but mixing unfamiliar pets should be avoided whenever possible.

9. Don’t Medicate Unnecessarily
Owners of particularly high-strung cats may be tempted to medicate a cat that’s likely to be freaked out by boisterous houseguests, but Dr. Joyce doesn’t recommend it. Instead, keep your skittish feline in its safe-haven room.

10. Consider Aromatherapy
Both Dr. Joyce and Dr. Christensen say products that mimic natural cat pheromones can help keep your kitty comfortable during parties and other stressful times. A pheromone is a natural chemical signal that triggers a specific response, and in this case, the response is to “chill the cat out,” according to Dr. Joyce.

There is one catch in this holiday planning: What if you and your cat are the ones traveling for Thanksgiving? With a little advance work and a friendly conversation with your host, all the above tips should be easy enough to implement wherever you are.

Brad Kloza is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Discover. He is a frequent contributor to The Daily Cat.


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Posted on November 12, 2010

MELISSA says: EVERY MORING I WAKE UP OR AT NIGHT THE CATS USE MY TUB FORR THEIR SPOT POOP IN . I DO NOT KNOW IF THEY ARE MAD AT ME

Posted on November 8, 2010

Gummy says: Izzy is the coolest cat ever!! She greets me when I come home. She loves to be petted,and to sit in my lap!! I LOVE Izzy!!!!

Posted on September 11, 2010

amster says: hi

Posted on September 11, 2010

o my god says: hi ppeople

Posted on January 10, 2010

ashley says: how do you know what your cat means

Posted on January 19, 2010

phyllis says: My husbands cats in heat. How long will Sammy be in heat?

Posted on August 29, 2010

Wanda says: Every morning to wake me he bites me hard leaves teeth marks and blood, when I try to pet him when he is laying around he attacks my hand.

Posted on January 10, 2010

debbielamb says: lemy was abonded as a kitten i got from a friend an he knows he is loved anshow do i he meets me at the door everyday when ilay down he is right thereim so happy an he is so smart i woudent know what to do wihout lemy

Posted on January 3, 2010

m.mathis says: she is 7 yrs old,attacked me once a year

Posted on January 4, 2010

antonio arriaga says: I am a animal lover,but my new wife 8 yr old cat wants to attack me.

Posted on January 4, 2010

Evelyn Wooten says: My cat did the same thing to me and my family. my cat had kidney stones and was in much pain.The vet changed her food to URst/ox veterinary diets, and I had her fixed.She has been more loving and no more attackes.!Maybe your cat was in pain. JAN OF 2010

Posted on December 19, 2009

SarahEgbert says: Sine moving two months ago my cats have been introduced to the outside. One cat is donomint and is trying to run off the ohter cat. It is always hissing and my other pets. Whiskers , the donimant cat left for 6 days. I had already mourned his fate. Whiskers would jump on Puff (the sweet one) close to a buildig outside. Puff got very sick. She stoped eating and drinking. Vet said she had a fever of 103.8. Gave antibiotic and trying too ge her well. I have taken her outside because she loves it. I am afraid to let her come and go through gthe cat door like before.They are 6 years and never been outside until two months ago when I moved here. Puff will try to break ou the kocked kitty door trying to get outside. Last nighg I made Whickers stay outside. When i go outside and he sees me he can be the sweetest cat to me but Puff is scared to death of him. The are driving me cracy. I also have a toy poodle and 3 month old new kitty which will be neutered Jan. 6. and toy poodle who feels left out and now only wntsto eat cat food. Temptations in a pouch is every expensive whille I try to nurse Puff alongg with her antiobiotic.

Posted on December 5, 2009

john says: Our cat O.B. claws the piano (butthead) .We holler at him and he stops. He is a little slow, but he isnot stupid.

Posted on December 9, 2009

katie says: i love cats

Posted on November 26, 2009

S.L. says: My 2 1/2 yr old male cat, which I got in June as a rescue, absolutely will not allow me to clip his nails, and they are getting pretty long. He is an indoor cat, and he is scratching me up whenever he puts his paws up on my lap. I promised not to have him declawed, but it may come to that, or give him up. What can I do? I want to keep him, and can't really afford a declaw procedure anyhow. What can I give him to calm him down enough to clip the nails?

Posted on November 21, 2009

Luckie says: Good advice. Cousin Kitty is coming to visit and we are all a little nervous about spending so much time with her. Having separate panic rooms sounds like a good idea.

Posted on November 24, 2009

Beth says: My cat has taken to clawing at the walls. He strips any paper sealent put up. How can I stop him and why is he doing this in his new home?

Posted on November 24, 2009

Sandra Moryn says: my sister is the new owner of my 5 yr. old male nuetered cat since he attacked me and he sitting/laying with back to my sister the new owner since2 weeks my grand daughter who's 1 and 1/2 sat in cats bed which must of set him to viciously attack me, i've owned him since he was 8 wks. old, and had him for 5 yrs., he has always shown biting aggression / he sits in door ways /makes you step over him what does this mean thank you

Posted on November 16, 2009

India Hardin says: She is a indoor outdoor Cat! She is a Huntress,but she also likes to be at Home with our new pd.pup Grace,it took her awhile to accept Gracie but now she goes out with her and moniters her every outting! It is so Motherly,My ouestion is Mia likes to come and Go as she wills? Is that good?

Posted on April 30, 2012

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