Having friends or family visit gives you the opportunity to relax, talk and enjoy time together. However, having new people staying can be stressful for your cats and making them comfortable and having your guests also feel at home can be difficult.
When coming into your house, guests will need to understand that they must allow your cat to ‘warm up to them’ in its own time. You should make your guests aware of your cat’s personality and quirks, for example, if your cat likes to jump off the sofa and onto an unsuspecting shoulder or you might suggest they keep their shoes on if your cat is boisterous around feet. Making them aware of these things isn’t intended to make your guests wary of your cat but forewarned is fore-armed!
If your cat is prone to being nervous or getting stressed, they are more likely to fear visitors. This could lead to them showing negative behaviour – become aggressive, destructive and they could even eliminate inappropriately. In these situations, BudgetPetCare suggests Feliway, an air diffuser that mimics a natural comforting facial pheromone used to reduce anxiety. The wall plug-in discourages inappropriate elimination, but also soothes cats.
Once your visitors arrive, encourage them to treat your cat gently. Body language is incredibly important to animals, ask your guests not to challenge your cat by staring at it, looming over it or speak loudly and also only pet the cat if it allows them to. Also, ask them to be mindful when leaving your residence in case the cat runs out of the door, people who don’t own cats often don’t think about these things. If children are guests in your home, simply explain to them, if your cat isn’t gregarious enough to tolerate kids, they are to leave the cat alone.
By discussing with your guests how to reduce stress for your cat, it can make life a lot easier for you as host. It is usually easier to introduce a younger cat to visitors regularly visiting but with the right treatment and time, a timid cat can learn to enjoy ‘strange’ human company too!