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Scratching Post: Holiday Stress

by ARLnow.com Sponsor December 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm 0

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Editor’s Note: The Scratching Post is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff at NOVA Cat Clinic.

It’s that time of the year that NOVA Cat Clinic starts to see an influx of patients for more than our routine standard of care. We see a significant increase in sick patients. The holidays for us are a sad time of the year since this is usually when we see a rise in euthanasia as well. But why?

Stress

While the winter holidays are supposed to be filled with hot chocolate, turkey, cookies, family visits, gifts, and silly winter sweaters, it is also the most stressful time of the year. And your cat feels it, too (it is not just your sweater).

Cats are creatures of habit. They love routine. What they don’t love is going on a car ride somewhere to board for a week or two while their favorite person(s) are away (even though all of the cats are loved on and spoiled here). Most cats are not fans of household guests either. The quiet, one-on-one time of 6:00 a.m. coffee and cat food might all of a sudden include several people, sometimes screaming children, and possibly even a dog in the mix, not to mention strangers using the bathroom where their potty box could be.

Their routine is changed. Change equals stress which can turn into a trip to the vet’s office. Sometimes they can be expensive ones. We see trends of cats not getting their medication that is needed daily.  In turn, their disease manifests into something that may need urgent medical care simply because our holiday hustle and bustle has made our lives too busy to pay them the attention they normally receive.

Cats that have high anxiety can develop problems such as urinary tract infections, while some can become suddenly aggressive or perhaps depressed. Some elderly or very metabolically sick cats take a turn for the worse and succumb to their diseases right around the holidays. All because the household is stressed even though you don’t think it is.

What can we do about this? If you have guests over, make sure your cat has its own room that you have set up for them. This way your cat is in a “safety zone” that only you or people that your cat are close to can go into. No one else!

Consider pet sitters if your cat does poorly at the vet’s office or boarding facility, especially if your cat tends to be aggressive or very fearful in nature. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to mind their manners around your cat, or even request that they don’t bring other pets over if your kitty really does not like dogs or other cats.

Teach visiting children that the cat is off limits if the cat doesn’t come out and about and want to socialize on its own. The use of Feliway diffusers or even Sentry Calming Collars can help aid in lowering their stress levels as well.

The most important thing is to stick to your cat’s routine as closely as you can and not wait until the last minute or the day you are supposed to catch a plane to take your ill cat to the vet. If your cat seems to be acting odd or “off,” make an appointment sooner rather than later to prevent those holiday woes of expensive vet visits.

Everyone at NOVA Cat Clinic wishes you a safe and happy holidays!

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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