Monday, December 31, 2018

Keeping Your Cat Calm During the Holidays

The largest part of the holiday season is over with two more major days of celebrating to come. We've read all over social media about humans having difficulty managing the stress during this time of the year, but what about our pets?

The holidays can be a difficult or stressful time for our felines. 

Cats like routine and safety and the holidays tend to interrupt their feeling of security. Family members and friends are in and out of the house, daily routines are changed, cats may be groomed more frequently, and humans can sometimes be more stressed during this time. Cats tend to be very attuned to our emotions and can take on our stress and anxiety. Every time I take Truffle or Brulee to the vet because of an upset stomach, a upper respiratory infection, or an eye infection, he asks if there have been any changes in their environment. This question usually causes me to pause a moment to remember what has happened in our home recently and I can usually narrow down the source of my stress, and ultimately, theirs. Veterinarian behaviorists affirm that behavior issues are the single biggest pet owner complaint. The last thing we want during the holiday season is a stressed out cat. Stress can lead to an upset stomach, avoidance of eating, aggressive behavior, or possible litter box avoidance.

Truffle and Brulee relaxing

Truffle and Brulee are usually pretty calm cats. They like to stay near me, but they do not like changes in their daily routines. It's important to keep their daily routines as consistent as possible (feeding, grooming, exercise, etc.). I don't have a lot of visitors during the holiday season, but when I know someone is coming to visit that the girls don't know, I let the girls adjust to the different sounds and smells on their own time period. If they prefer to stay in the back of the house, I don't force them to come out. Unless someone visits that has younger (and louder) children, the girls usually come out on their own and get to know our company. I do let visitors know that Truffle and Brulee need to approach them in their own way and to not reach out to them unless they are ready. When there are a lot of people and noise, I'll turn on the television or radio and close the door in the guest bedroom or my bedroom. The one thing that I have little control over are loud noises from fireworks and thunderstorms, which we have a lot of in South Carolina.

Truffle and Brulee checking out the package of Tomlyn® Relax & Calm Chews

Up until a couple of years ago, loud noises didn't bother Truffle and Brulee. In fact, Truffle would sit at the window and watch the fireworks display. However, something happened about two years ago to scare Truffle and now she hates thunderstorms and fireworks. To make matters worse, the general public is allowed to purchase fireworks and shoot them in neighborhoods, so the noise is even louder, especially during holidays such as Independence Day and New Years. I thought I'd share things I've done to help Truffle and Brulee when they are anxious about thunderstorms and fireworks.

Provide a Hiding Place

It's not unusual for a cat to be afraid of loud noises, especially from fireworks or thunder.  Many cats will show their fear through hiding.  Truffle and Brulee have hidden under the chair, the bed, and the dressers.  It's okay if they are hiding, as long as they don't appear to be too stressed. Truffle usually goes in my bedroom under the bed because it's in the back of the house and the the noise of firecrackers tends to be muffled there.   

If your cat doesn't already have a safe place to hide, provide one for her. If your cat feels comfortable in a crate or carrier, you can encourage her to go in there by leaving a few pieces of her favorite treats inside. I don't recommend closing them off in a bathroom or bedroom unless they are comfortable being in closed spaces.  Truffle and Brulee hate to be closed in a room and it would cause them more stress.  Close all of the doors and windows to help keep the noise level down.

Turn on the TV or Radio. 

If you usually leave your windows and doors open, it's important to close them during a thunderstorm or when there are fireworks. Some people recommend playing calm music to help quieten the noise. Truffle and Brulee are used to a television being on during the day and night, so I tend to turn up the volume slightly to normal programming to help drown out some of the noise. If your cat is used to having the TV turned on, this will help her feel that everything is normal. I also talk in a normal voice, so the girls feel comfortable. I don't try to pick up the girls to comfort them unless they come to me. I've read that overcompensating cats when they are fearful with excessive attention can encourage their fear. Sometimes, Truffle will want to climb into my arms and other times, she heads for her safe haven under the bed.

Use a Calming Product. 

Even with the recommendations above, some cats may need the assistance of a calming product to help with relaxation. There are several pet calming sprays and supplement chews on the market that can help relax your stressed feline. One shouldn't wait until the even actually happens before trying to give a calming chew. When you know an event is going to happen, provide a calming chew, such as the Tomlyn® Relax & Calm Chews for Dogs and Cats. These chews can help relieve restlessness, fear, nervousness and aggression, and stress.

"The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat". Jules Renard

Brulee and Truffle were immediately attracted to the smell of the Tomlyn Relax & Calm Chews

Tomlyn's Relax & Calm is an easy-to-give chicken flavored chew that helps both cats and dogs cope with stressful situations. This product contains L-tryptophan and chamomile which help promote a sense of calm and relaxation. There is also ginger in this product which can help with uneasy stomachs that can often accompany stress and anxiety in pets. Tomlyn recommends that you give your pet 1 chew per 10 pounds of body weight approximately 2-3 hours prior to a stressful event. According to Tomlyn these treats are great for travel, separation, storms, motion sickness, tension, and loud noises. These chews calm naturally, without causing excitation or sedation, with proven ingredients.

As soon as I opened the package, both immediately jumped on the footrest and wanted a taste. The smell must be wonderful because neither was hesitant to take it from me. These chews are a little larger than the normal treats I give my girls and they had a little difficulty eating a whole treat with their smaller mouths. I ended up breaking the chew into smaller pieces and they readily ate them. Both girls were very calm after eating the chew and I am interested to see how these chews help with unusual circumstances, such as fireworks later tonight. 

Update: I gave both Truffle and Brulee a Relax & Calm Chew New Year's Eve. When I got home, there were already fireworks, but the girls weren't hiding yet. I broke the chews into smaller pieces. Both of the girls soon settled down in the living room with me (at first inside their Catit Cubos). Truffle eventually climbed onto my lap and settled down, even with all of the fireworks blasting around us! I must say, these chews worked for my girls!

Brulee introducing the Tomlyn Pre & Probiotic and the RElax & Calm Chews

Tomlyn also recommends their Pre & Probiotic that can help support digestive health during the holidays when diets may change, new treats are introduced, or your pet gobbles up food scraps that fall on the floor. This is a nutritional supplement for cats that helps maintain balanced intestinal health.

Tomlyn, a world-class animal health and wellness company founded in 1976, carries a complete line of scientifically developed, veterinarian-approved animal health products. The company’s wide selection of product categories range from immune support, vitamins, digestive support and hairball remedies, to joint and hip support, calming aids and sanitizers. Tomlyn expanded into the equine and bovine industry in 2017 with the EPIC® line and now the addition of three new Equistro® equine health supplements. Tomlyn is owned by, Vetoquinol, the eighth-largest veterinary pharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, please visit www.tomlyn.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram,  Twitter or YouTube.

I highly recommend Tomlyn products. I've used their hairball treatments and the Pill-Masker with the girls with much success.


As part of our Catmas Wishes holiday series, We're excited to announce that two of our readers (one dog parent and one cat parent) have the opportunity to win $100 in Tomlyn® products (from hairball, Pre & Pro biotic, joint & hip, multivitamin, llysine, ear cleaner, eye cleaner and pill masker).  No purchase necessary. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States 18+ years, except where prohibited by law. The giveaway will run from December 31, 2018 – January 10, 2019, ending at 11:59pm ET. One winner for each species (dog and cat) will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter (powered by Random.org) and notified via email. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize; failure to do so will result in forfeiture of the prize and a new winner will be randomly chosen. To qualify for the giveaway, a comment must be left on our blog post.  Other entry options are available after a comment is left.  Please check your email and be sure to add sweetpurrfections@sc.rr.com to your address book!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Would you like to comment?

  1. My human always had private areas for Boodie back when she was super-shy, but eventually she started coming out when people were over. Stresses now seem to happen more when my human is sick, or worried about something.

  2. Momma always makes sure we have a safe, comfortable place to go and never forces us to be around strangers. She also makes shure we're all inside when fireworks might go off - she had a dog who used to like to go to da fireworks show, but since Kinley seems scared of loud noises, she leaves her at home in her crate where she is safe and happy.

  3. The new catit towers you got would give the girls great hideouts. It is going to rain/ice/snow here tonight which I’m happy about because it will keep the idiots from the fireworks. It’s not usually too bad here on New Years anyway - too cold to hangout outside with fireworks in the great white north

  4. That company sure makes lots of good things!

  5. Pixie is very shy, and usually our guests think Claire and Momo have only one cat. Purrs

  6. To help my cat stay calm, I don't play loud sounds and move carefully around him.

  7. Happy New Year!!
    We try to keep the noise level down, and the routines as close to regular as we can. We provide rooms of refuge, that Pipo can come and go at his pleasure. (We do not have many house guests other than those he already knows)

  8. Well, last night, I made sure to have my dogs potty around 10:40 PM so they wouldn't hear the start of firecrackers and booms. I had the TV on at a little louder volume, but my German Shepherd has huge ears and there's no masking it for her.

  9. We hope you have a wonderful New Year - full with love, peace, and happiness.
    We're embarrassed to admit that we've talked to the Tomlyn people every year - but we never have tried their products. Our first resolution for 2019!

  10. Darling pics of the girls! Good advice, sounds like a good product.

  11. We love Tomlyn! Since I take medicine twice a day, the pill masker is a life saver! And I love the maple flavored Immune Boost! Happy New Year!

  12. I've never used Tomlyn products before, but am excited to give them a try!

  13. I've tried various calming products - treats, pills, and sprays. For my dogs I've used Thundershirts. No single product has really done all I would like it to do (although with the dogs I combine the chews, shirts, and sprays when it's thundering really hard or fireworks are going off near our house). Mostly I try to keep the stresses from the furbabies, but there are times, like when I have to take my cat, Moko, to the vet for her shot or weigh-in, that I could use help. I do make sure to include a small blanket that she's been laying on so it has her scent, and I talk to her while she's in her carrier. I'd love to try these chews for her.

  14. We try to keep noises down and babe distractions with music .

  15. We've tried a variety of things including music, treats, pills and sprays. For fireworks, we've been resorting to pills. They're really loud here!

  16. I keep my pets calm by giving them something to chew on and a safe crate to rest in.

  17. when i know there are going to be fireworks or loud noises from my neighbors i stay home with my girls. when there is a severe thunderstorm, which did not bother them when they were younger, i comfort them but holding them. i may also give them a homeopathic calming pill. i have tried the thundershirts and they did not work with my girls. i have tried many of the all natural products and have found one that works very well. i also sometimes use essential oils to calm them. my oldest has hissy fits when doing her nails, so bad that i have had to resort getting her a sedative at the vet and let them do her nails. so i would love to try something that would really help with this, because it is very expensive to get her nails done every few weeks.

  18. I just got a thunder shirt for my dog. It seems to be really really helpful to keep her calm.

  19. You're so right about changes in routine leading to stress, I've always seen that with my animals. You've given some great tips to keep things as cool as possible for everyone. Thankfully I've never had a dog or cat bothered by fireworks, but they can be so annoying. It's one thing to celebrate a holiday but sometimes here they start a week before and it goes on after the day has passed. Poor Truffle, do you know what scared her?

  20. I try to keep a routine with my dog. I have used a thunder shirt in the past

  21. We tend to go other people's homes for the holidays. My mom is a much better cook than I am so we go there. LOL. We also are kind of homebodies so our pets don't have much change or stress at the holidays - unless we travel. Though I would still like to try these calming treats with Rosie (our cat) as she is still not totally accepting of our new cat Teddy.

  22. Thunderstorms just suck! My previous dog was severely phobic. I'm glad they both survived the holiday season.

  23. I made sure Layla kept on schedule as much as possible and calm when necessary, thank goodness we do not celebrate in our house anything as it is tiny and no place for guests which makes it easier for me.

  24. We have a very quiet Christmas but I can imagine the hell it is in some households with noise and visitors!

    Great post!

  25. We love Tomlyn products, in fact, I need to order more of the L-Lysine for the bros Ollie and Baggie. When we adopted them, Baggie had a persistent respiratory infection and we give him this supplement everyday with his food. He still gets leaky eyes on occasion but not as frequently as before.

    We don't get many visitors over the holidays, but these two bros are the most social cats I've ever had. They would want to be pet by strangers, circling their legs and sometimes even wanting to jump up onto shoulders! MOL

  26. Oh sweet girls, I'm so-o glad the calming treats helped relax you during the fireworks, 'cause it is no fun to be stressed during the holidays or at any other time. Kisses. -Valentine (& Kerry) of Noir Kitty Mews

  27. Your suggestions work well for dogs, too! I do keep my TV on, and use calming spray and treats, and my one who gets the anxiety over fireworks (which seems to be the case for so many holidays now) loves to hide in specific spot, too! I had never heard of Tomlyn, thank you for the great review! It's so great there are calming treats for pets today, and especially glad they helped your beautiful girls.

  28. I've read that in studies, dogs love reggae music, and classical music too. It really does seem to help a lot!

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