There are a lot of exciting things that take place during the holidays. A common example for many people is hosting guests at their home. Some guests may only come over for a few hours to enjoy a holiday meal with you. Others may stay for a longer period of time. Although you probably enjoy having these kinds of guests in your home a lot, your cat may not feel the same way.
If you know you’re going to have guests over this holiday season but you’re worried about how your cat is going to respond to having new people in your home, we have several strategies to help take care of both your visitors and cat:
1. Avoid Pressuring Your Cat
Even though it comes with good intentions, a common mistake cat owners make is trying to get their cat excited about interacting with a visitor. While that’s fine if you have an especially social cat or a kitten that you want to help get used to new people, for a cat that’s already set in its ways, you’re better off letting it hang out wherever it wants to be and eventually coming out on its own if it chooses.
2. Give Your Visitors Helpful Tips
While you can’t really tell your cat how to act around visitors, you can give anyone who comes over for the holidays a few tips for interacting with your cat. First, let them know that your cat takes awhile to warm up, so they shouldn’t feel pressured to engage. Another very helpful tip is to let visitors know that if your cat does start coming around them, they can maximize the likelihood of a successful interaction by using eye kisses. In case you aren’t familiar with this term, it’s done through slow blinking and avoiding direct eye contact. This lets a cat know that someone is in no way a threat to them.
3. Focus on Positive Associations
One way you can help minimize your cat’s stress about visitors and build momentum towards successful future interactions is to focus on positive associations whenever someone comes into your house. This can include managing your own energy, along with exposing your cat to something it really likes whenever a visitor first comes inside.
4. Create a Safe Space
A simple but very effective way to keep both your cat and guests comfortable during holiday visits is to create a safe space for your cat. This should be an area in your home where your cat doesn’t feel pressured and can enjoy activities like scratching. By giving your cat this space, which should include a bowl of tasty cat food, you can minimize the likelihood of your cat having any bad experiences while guests are over.