It is not just dogs that can be afraid of fireworks, cats can find it very distressing too. While for dog owners it is fairly easy to tell that their pet doesn’t like the noise, cat owners are often unaware of the fact that their cat is uncomfortable.
When cats hear a loud bang or see a sudden bright flash of light, their instinct is to hide in a safe place. If your cat is an outdoor cat, it might be far away from home at that time, so it will try to find a place to hide nearby, which could be a stranger’s shed or garage. Often cats in this situation can find themselves trapped or locked in inadvertently. The best thing to do if you have an outdoor cat is to keep it indoors or within the boundaries of your garden for the period of the celebrations. At least then you will know your cat is safe.
Having said that, the problem isn’t just with outdoor cats. Indoor cats can be afraid of fireworks as well. You can help your cat by providing a few safe hiding places. It doesn’t have to be complicated: a cardboard box with only one opening, a travel basket that remains open, or a small bench or stool draped with a cloth. Watch out for any narrow spaces your cat might try to squeeze itself into when panicking. Some places could be dangerous for your cat, like a tumble dryer that was left open.
Once you have established their “safe place”, it can be helpful to prepare the area with a stress relieving product like Feliway Spray. These types of products make cats feel safer by mimicking naturally occurring facial pheromones. These pheremones are the same ones your cat deposits when he cat rubs his face on objects around the house – or even you. Once marked, these pheromones serve to remind the cat that the location is safe territory, causing them to feel calm and secure there. Sprayed in/on the cat’s environment, it helps creates a comforting, reassuring feeling in the cat that has a calming effect.
If you are going to be away from home at the time of the celebrations, it would be a good idea to place your cat’s food and drinking bowl near a hiding place and perhaps a litter box as well. Remember that a cat’s memory works by association, so if your cat has had a ‘bad’ experience in a certain place, it won’t feel safe there again. That is why it is better to give your cat a choice of hiding places. Before you leave, be sure to close the curtains. You can also leave on the radio, because the background noise will help your cat. In extreme cases, the veterinarian can give your cat a mild sedative.
It is important for people in general to be aware of the misery fireworks can cause our pets. During scheduled celebrations cat and dog owners can be prepared for what’s to come, but many people let off fireworks randomly, before or after the main holiday. These times are the toughest to deal with as a pet owner. So, on behalf of our furry friends, please keep fireworks restricted to the day of celebration only.