Caitlin UltimoHealth / Pet Safety & Injury Prevention

How to Create a Safe Space for Your Indoor Cat During the Holidays

The winter holiday season is one of the most joyous times of the year. No matter which holiday you celebrate, this season is filled with memories, fun and excitement for everyone.

Everyone, that is, except for your indoor cat!

With all the new décor, sounds, smells and strange people in your home, the holidays can feel overwhelming for kitties, especially for an indoor cat who’s used to calm and quiet. Cats are not big fans of change as it is, so the holiday hoopla and constant celebrating can leave you with a pretty stressed kitty who’s desperate for a safe space at home.

In addition to uncomfortable situations, holiday gatherings can be full potential escape opportunities for a stressed cat if you haven’t prepared a safe space for her. In fact, with all the activity, your cat might seek out that open door and seize the opportunity to escape from the party.

To prevent stress and escapes, learn how to easily create a safe space for your indoor cat—away from all the noise, people and that open door!

How to Create a Safe Space for Your Indoor Cat

There are several ways you can create a safe space for your cat, from a private room to a catio to a cat pen or other type of enclosure.

Types of Safe Spaces

Private Room
Ideally, the safe space should be a separate room with a closed door. This prevents your feline friend from seeing or hearing all the party happenings or escaping through an opening front door as guests come and go.

To prevent guests from opening the door to the room you’re using as a safe space for your indoor cat, tape a “do not enter” sign on the door.

Catio
If you live in a part of the country where it’s warm outside during the winter, an outdoor catio could be a good option. A catio is a secure outdoor play area that provides indoor cats with enrichment and exercise without the worry of outdoor threats or dangers. It would give your cat a break from all the holiday commotion indoors while giving her a taste of the outdoors she might crave.

You can do a free-standing catio or convert your existing patio for feline use.

Cat Enclosure
If you haven’t created a catio at home or if you don’t have an extra room to spare, you can set up a cat gate or cat pen, like the Precision Pet Products soft side play yard, in a quiet part of your house to give your cat complete privacy and security.

Safe Space Accessories

To add entertainment and comfort, your stressed cat will appreciate you filling her safe space with the following:

Since cats love to hide—it’s part of their survival instinct—providing your kitty with a cat covered bed can help her feel protected and hidden from the world. Frisco’s bed cave is an ideal choice.

To further reduce stress, try a pheromone spray, like Feliway’s 30-day plug-in diffuser. It mimics a cat’s natural facial pheromones they use to mark their territory as safe and secure.

You also could hire a cat sitter during the holiday gathering or someone your cat knows well to play with her and keep her happy and secure.

Other Tips to Keep Your Indoor Cat Safe During the Holidays

Of course, there are other concerns besides guests and open doors to consider when preparing your indoor cat for the holidays. After all, cats and Christmas trees don’t always mix.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Holiday decorations may attract your cat, but they can cause harm. Hang decorations high on your tree or mantle, or avoid them altogether. Noses, tails and frisky paws can knock them over, and your cat may get hurt on the broken pieces.
  • If your cat tries to climb up the Christmas tree, use a deterrent like PetSafe’s SSSCAT spray to make the tree less appealing to your cat. Whenever she gets close to its motion detector, a harmless spray will startle her, and she will stay away. You also can use Frisco’s 8-Panel exercise pen to block the tree from your cat.
  • Make time for your cat during the holiday season with playtime, love and attention. In the business of the season, it’s easy for your cat to get neglected in favor of all the celebrating.
  • Wrapping holiday packages with ribbons and string may be tempting for kitty if she decides to chew on them. These items can get twisted inside your cat’s intestines if swallowed, and that could prove harmful or even fatal.
  • Poinsettia plants are among the most toxic of plants for cats and can be fatal if eaten. Skip them if you have a cat, or you may end up with a very sick kitty and a large vet bill.
  • As tempting as all the holiday foods may be, table scrapes are not for kitties. Seasonings and spices can make her sick, and some items like onions and grapes can be toxic to your cat. Instead, give her some plain tuna or broiled chicken as a special holiday treat instead.
  • Remember to give your kitty a gift (or even a stocking filled with cat supplies for her)! A special toy or treat will make her feel like she is part of the celebration while she’s helping to open all the packages.

Your cat gives you love and affection all year long. It’s worth taking some simple steps to ensure your cat remains a healthy and happy part of the family


Rita Reimers’ feline behavior counseling and pet sitting services are sought after by many Hollywood celebrities, and she has helped countless cats remain happy and safe in their forever homes. Her feline behavior counseling services are offered through her company, The Cat Analyst. She is also owner and CEO of Just For Cats Pet Sitting.

Featured Image: By Lindsey Johnston

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