What’s stressing your cat out about the holidays will surprise you

K.J. Johll

Feeling stressed about the holidays? Wish you were a cat that didn’t have to worry about the decorations, the presents, the baking and (well, maybe not this year but…) the guests?

Surprise! Surprise! Your cat’s feeling stressed about all these things too. And get this…

Your cat is even stressed out about…


While I work with many cat owners this time of year to figure out how to keep the tree up and the cat away from it, just the mere presence of this towering, sparkling, glorious celebration piece can spiral your cat into a frenzy of the NOT Feline Fine kind.

Changing a cat’s environment – even for the good – is still change and change is not the friend of your little fur baby who still has it in her DNA to watch out for predators. The tree can block her usual view of her surroundings. It may provide a new hiding spot for that pesky little brother cat to come flying out from under at any moment.

(And for those who follow me on Instagram, yes, I am referring to our own pesky little brother, Johnny Storm.)

Your tree may sit in a room your cat never goes in and you tell me, “KJ, my cat doesn’t care about the tree.”


Just keep in mind if your cat is exhibiting any change in behavior from not eating what is usually her favorite treat to not being interested in her favorite toy to even not sleeping in the usual spots, it may be because holiday decorations have made this usually safe environment different. Cats try not to show stress in big ways. We want to watch for it BEFORE they resort to the big ways.

Here are several other things you may not realize can trigger stress in your cats during the holidays:

#1 Holiday scents — From baking to that favorite Christmas scented candle (that you’re safely burning somewhere that he can’t get near), any change in scent is a HUGE warning sign to your cat. He’s thinking “My environment smells different. It doesn’t smell like ME. Yikes!”

#2 YOUR ANXIETY — Oh, how we love our pets for helping US cope with stress. Make sure YOU return the favor. Cats are highly sensitive to your energy. Give them time and attention. Assure them that they are safe and loved just as they assure you.

In the latest PAWDcast, we go in depth on both cats AND dogs during the holidays with easy tips to ease stress not only at the holidays but every day! Special guest, the Indy Dog Whisperer, Nathan Lowe joins me for this holiday episode. You can listen on your phone’s podcast app or click here to listen on our website!

KJ can be seen sharing positive stories about cats regularly on Pet Pals TV! She has spent her entire life “raising cats” from her beginnings on a farm to over 10 years working in a cat clinic. She now works to improve feline lives by supporting shelters, rescues and providing guidance to cat lovers experiencing behavior issues or in need of help speaking their cat’s language. Want to make the story of your cat a positive one? Contact KJ here for a Kitty Konsultation.

Changing a cat's environment