We just adore our feline friends, but our human friends matter, too. Holidays come year after year, just like birthdays... and visiting for the fun of it... and parties... well, those come up sometimes as well. All of this socializing can take a toll on your furry buddy, though. So in this article, we will look into some useful ways to get your cat ready for guests, no matter if you're having some family over, celebrating a special occasion, or you're simply throwing that much-needed shindig.
Prepare With Training
Let's start with your kitty. Getting your cat ready for guests, ideally, would start well before your company arrives – in fact, it would start during your feline's formative years. If he is relatively young, now is the time to get him nice and socialized. Bring all of your people over to show off your fluffy new friend; hand them a toy, and let them get to know each other. If your “kitten” is already a cat, you can still work to get him socialized; however, your people might have to take things a little more slowly. Though, that said, a favorite toy can still be used to break the ice... just be sure they don't try to move things along too quickly.
In addition to the socialization aspect, there are other things you can do to get your cat ready. For example, have someone knock on your door or ring the doorbell, then offer your kitty a treat when that person comes in. This lets kitty know that, despite the unfamiliar – and jarring – noise, things are still copacetic. This is another great way to help break the ice. When your real guests arrive, give them a treat or two before they come in the door, then ask them to offer it to your cat – or at least, set it down within sightline.
Plan Well In Advance
Your furry little friend has a routine, and he bloody well likes it. Visitors tend to disrupt that schedule. In order to smooth out the edges of the interference, you might want to start planning ahead. If your guestroom is a favorite hiding spot for your kitty, you will want to move some of his favorite cuddling items – beds, blankets, toys – into a more desirable location, then close up the guestroom. If your guests will be around during the usual playtime or feeding routines, start to shift those events to a more appropriate time.
Give Kitty a Safe Place to Hide
In a similar vein as the tip above, before things start happening, be sure to provide your cat a new safe zone. So if the guestroom is suddenly off limits, allow him access to another room, if possible. If not – or if you want to offer several safe spaces – you may want to get a cat tree with plenty of hidey holes, attach some high perches to the walls, or strategically place cat caves throughout the house. If nothing else, you can easily create some cardboard caves that will offer your furry friend a nice place to shelter away from all of the excitement.
It's also important to make sure that your cat's litter box is looked after. I know, this seems like a strange area to focus on, but stress can cause litter issues, plus... if your guests are moving into the area where the box usually resides, you're going to have to rearrange. But! Don't rearrange without guiding your kitty to the new spot a few days in advance. That way, you can help avoid accidents during what might otherwise be a stressful event.
Let Your Cat Investigate His Surroundings
We all do it... when company comes, we put the house in order – after all, we don't want them to know how we really live. That said, the house is going to look a little different... what with all of the cleaning, furniture rearranging... maybe even some decorations. The point is, your furry little friend's environment has altered, and that's no good – for him, anyway. He's going to be a bit on edge, and you need to give him a bit of time to get used to all of the changes. Let him look around, sniff the freshly-shampooed carpet, smash down those newly-fluffed couch cushions.
Train Your Guests
If your guests have never spent time around your cat before, it's just as important to get them ready for the occasion as it is your cat. Let them know about your kitty's behaviors, likes and dislikes, and set some ground rules. For instance, if your feline is sensitive to loud noises, let them know that it's essential they avoid banging around their luggage. If your cat tends to “dart” when he's frightened, ask your guests to be extra cautious when coming in or going out. This may all seem like common sense stuff, but in all of the excitement, it can be easy to forget that your cat simply doesn't understand what's going on, and that can be a scary thing!
If All Else Fails, Herbs!
You can spend days and weeks getting things set up, and still be left with an edgy little kitty. If your cat is having a difficult time adjusting to this new – albeit temporary – change of routine, you can help ease some of the stress with a bit of old-fashioned medicine: herbs.
Valerian and catnip, for example, are both great for this purpose. If you choose these plants, administer them at least a half hour before your guests arrive. These herbs work by giving your feline a sudden burst of the “crazy cat” energy – which should always be mingled with a vigorous play session – followed by a calm, restful euphoria. On the other hand, dried hops or chamomile flowers have a soothing effect on the nervous system, without all the pre-calm madness. Other excellent herbs for calming your cat include lemon balm, California poppy, skullcap, and passionflower.
Most of these herbs can be found in tincture form, and it's important to follow the dosing guide on the bottle or instructions given by your vet. To administer, you can either add it to your cat's water, pop the drops directly into your cat's mouth, or – and this is just about the easiest method – mix it with some pure pumpkin puree, and rub it onto his legs and paws. Once he gives himself a good cleaning, the calming effects should start relatively soon!
Preparing your cat for guests should be a process that includes plenty of exposure, training, and care. Although it may seem like a lot of work, all of your efforts will pay off the moment you and your feline welcome your favorite humans into your home!
Cats Will Play is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. For more information, visit our Full Affiliate Disclosure.