When you think of a pet being fearful of fireworks, the image of a trembling, whining or drooling dog may come to mind, but what about cats? Your cat may also be frightened by fireworks.
It makes sense that July 5th is the busiest day at the shelters due to dogs and cats who have bolted out of their homes in fear or become disoriented and terrified from the sight, smell and sound of July 4th fireworks. New Year’s Eve is another popular time for fireworks.
A time that is festive, fun and exciting for most Americans is often terrifying for dogs, cats, horses, other livestock and even wildlife. Unfortunately, the fireworks aren’t always confined to just one day either. Your enthusiastic neighbors may begin the celebration several days in advance and continue for days after the Independence Day holiday.
Before getting into the calming tips, here’s an important safety tip that should be taken care of if you haven’t already: Have your cat microchipped. Even indoor cats should be microchipped in case of an escape outdoors. ID tags on collars are good but they can become separated from the cat. The safest form of identification is the microchip. The information on the registry should also be up-to-date. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a current picture of your cat. Most cat parents have quite a few current pictures on their phones already but just double-check that you have a clear and sharp picture just in case the unthinkable happens and your cat gets lost.
Here are my tips to help you ease your cat through fireworks fears.
Keep Your Cat Indoors
Even if you normally allow your cat to go outdoors, bring her in several days before the 4th in case neighbors start celebrating early. Keep in mind that your cat may try to sneak outdoors or may even bolt in terror during loud noises so be mindful of opening and closing exterior doors.
Stay Home if Your Cat is Frightened by Fireworks
Skip the local fireworks celebration and stay home if your cat is frightened. Even if she chooses to hide and not interact with you, it’s safer to be home rather than leave her alone.
Don’t Leave Windows Open
During warm weather, even with secure screens, a cat may be able to escape in a panic. Opened windows also allow too much noise in as well as the smell of the fireworks. Cats have very sensitive noses and the burning scent of fireworks can be disturbing.
Close Curtains and Blinds Before Fireworks Begin
This is will help buffer the sound a tiny bit but will also help with unsettling flashes of light.
Provide a Safe Spot for Your Cat
When frightened, most cats seek out hiding places. Create a safe room that has several cozy hiding places in it as well as a litter box and a water bowl. If your cat has a history of being frightened by fireworks or thunderstorms, place her in the room to get settled before all the noise begins. If she’s terrified, create a tunnel to the litter box so she can get there without feeling too exposed. You can use a cat tunnel you already have or make a temporary one out of papers bags. Cut out the bottoms and tape the bags together to make a long tunnel.