Cats like to be in control of their environment. Visitors disrupt the normal routine in the home which can be upsetting for cats.
Changes to routine such as:
The longer the visitors stay, the longer this stress remains for the cat. Assess your cats stress level.
Ask visitors to ignore the cat, letting your cat approach visitors when comfortable.
Give your visitors a toy your cat enjoys playing with or a treat she really likes so that they can interact in a fun way.
Let your cat hide in an area separate from visitors. When she's comfortable, she'll come out and explore.
Teach children to gently play with the cat and not bother the cat while it’s sleeping or eating
Plug a Feliway diffuser in the room where your cat spends the most time
Visitors can also spray their clothing with Feliway as another way to make the cat feel more comfortable
Interestingly, the non-cat person tends to ignore cats. The cat finds this body language non-threatening and may move towards the ‘non-cat’ person to explore further!
While the cat lover seeks out the cat to show affection, which may actually work against them as the cat doesn't feel in control.
The solution to this change in routine is to ensure that your cat continues to have unrestricted access to resources including hiding places for privacy. Additionally, if you know visitors are coming, place a Feliway diffuser in your home about a week before the visit. For additional support, you may even have visitors spray themselves with Feliway so the cat feels more comfortable around them.
See how to make a Cat friendly home to help your cat have suitable hiding places.
The bad-tempered cat I've been used to has gone and she is now the family pet I wanted her to...