Making Your Cat Feel Special During the Holidays

November 13, 2012

by Vicky Anscombe

Today I’m featuring an adorable guest post by a new friend from across the pond (in the UK) who tells the tale of her cat, Tabbeh (love that name) and how Vicky makes him feel special during the holiday season.

There are many poignant moments in life that should be treasured – one of mine was watching my silver tabby, Tabbeh (not just a clever name), see snow for the first time in November a few years ago. My boyfriend and I were thrilled at his prancing antics, and watched with glee as he carefully lifted each paw out of the snow. “This is great! He’s a winter cat!” we cried, unwittingly. “He’s happy all year round!”

However, December to February showed us that Tabbeh was not, in fact, a winter cat. He’s a funny one. He loves being given his cat flea treatment or being taken to the vet that he has a crush on, but even the slightest drop in temperature puts him into a foul mood. We had to work hard to make an extra-special fuss of him throughout winter (Christmas especially!), but it was definitely worth it.

Here’s how we did it.

Make your cat a nest: I often found Tabbeh curled up in the wardrobe or my underwear drawer, which was great for him, but inconvenient for me. I solved the problem by stuffing an old cardboard box full of soft fabric, placing it somewhere quiet and off the floor, and letting him do what he wanted with it. Despite their winter coats, cats are creatures of comfort – and they love being warm as much as we do.

Make them welcome indoors: Tabbeh found that his usual source of entertainment (catching mice et al) was lacking somewhat, so he began to spend a lot of time indoors. Always make sure that you show your cat that he or she is welcome to share your space during the day, and never force them to spend the day outside if they don’t want to. Your pet won’t thank you if they get caught in rain, snow or thunder, and the back door is locked.

The heat is on: I was initially skeptical about getting Tabbeh a heated cat mat, as I thought he’d be a bit nervous of it, but I was wrong. On the coldest days, I always plugged it in for him and he seemed perfectly content to lounge on it all day. Saying that, a hot water bottle underneath a towel or blanket works just as well – and I reckon lots of cats would enjoy the rolling, waterbed-like sensation.

Fuss is a must: Because he was a bit fed up with the lack of hunting and outdoors action, I played with Tabbeh once a day using a variety of toys. He especially liked ‘hunting’ games, where I would trail a piece of string behind his scratching pole, and let him chase of pounce upon it. If you have an old rug, another brilliant game is to tie a toy to a piece of string, put it underneath the rug, and gently pull it out. Your cat will be beside itself with joy. It goes without saying that cuddles in the evening and bedtime went down a treat.

Vary food – and include treats: We didn’t change Tabbeh’s diet, but we did start to include bone-free fish and the occasional oven-cooked chicken breast to his menu once a week. It was so lovely to watch him wolf it down, and it really made a difference to his energy levels, the shine on his coat, and his mood. We found plenty of supermarkets selling chicken breasts for a low price. It doesn’t have to be expensive to provide your cat with a warm meal on the coldest days.

Give them space during crowded times: Last Christmas, as well as giving away my heart (just kidding), my entire family came to stay. Tabbeh was initially charmed by this, but then chose a multitude of places to hide in. I would advise any cat owners having huge amounts of people to stay to do the following: always make sure they have a selection of ‘secret’ places to hide in, never leave small children alone with a cat, and don’t pass them around semi-drunken relatives like some kind of toy. Of course, you may find that your cat loves nothing more than being mauled by various relatives, in which case, enjoy!

LOL! Pug might like being passed around but I certainly would not! Thanks, Vicky, for sharing! And thanks to Animed Direct for supporting our FURPOWER efforts!

Photos of Tabbeh courtesy of Vicky Anscombe