Fireworks and your Cat
Options for your cat when there are Fireworks nearby.
Why Does my cat not like Fireworks?
Animals have a more sensitive sense of hearing than humans do, so noises that are a little loud to us can be downright deafening to them. When panicked, our pets will do most anything to get away from a frightening situation. With a little pre-planning you, as a pet owner, can make special occasions a fun and exciting day for you as well as your pets.
Can I do anything to change the reactions?
Yes, over time you can desensitize your pet to loud noises. The use of compact discs with recordings of loud and scary noises such as firework explosions, trains, thunder etc… can be used to aid in the desensitization of your pet. Start with the volume down low and gradually increase it to a loud level. Training will take months so do not expect it to work right away.
10 tips on what can be done for your cat during fireworks
- Know when fireworks will be happening in your neighborhood by contacting your local city hall. Mark the dates on your calendar.
- Never let off fireworks near or next to your pet. If ignited to close to your pet, fireworks can cause very painful burns to the body, face, nose and mouth in addition to the psychological trauma they are sure to produce.
- Think about fitting your cat with a microchip or collar and ID tag, so that if they do run away they have a better chance of being quickly reunited with you. Make sure your contact details are up to date, this is really important as it gives you the best chance of being reunited with your cat if they become spooked and get lost amid the bangs and crashes.
- Make sure your cat stays inside at night during firework times.
- Close all windows and doors, and block off animal doors to stop cats from escaping and to keep the noise to a minimum.
- Draw the curtains to block the bright flashes and if the animals are used to the sounds of TV or radio, switch them on (but not too loudly) in order to block out some of the noise of the fireworks.
- Do not shut off all the lights in the house. By leaving some of the lights on your pet will be calmer and it will also reduce the flashes of light that may be affecting your pet. Leaving them in a pitch black room may frighten them further.
- Prepare a ‘den’ for your pet where it can feel safe and comfortable – perhaps with some of your old clothes. They may like to hide there when the fireworks start.
- Let your cat pace around inside your home and meow if they want to. If your cat finds a den to hide in, for example under the bed, don’t try to coax them out – your cat is trying to find safety and shouldn’t be disturbed.
- Avoid leaving your pet alone during such potentially upsetting events, if you do have to leave the house, don’t get angry with your cat if you they have toileted after being left on their own. Shouting at a frightened cat will only make it more stressed.
Although it’s difficult when it’s obvious your cat is stressed, try not to let them know you are worried as it may make the problem worse. Stay calm, act normally and give lots of praise for calm behaviour. It’s OK to cuddle and stroke your cat if it helps them relax, but sometimes it reinforces nervousness and fear, in that case try to redirect their attention.
If your cat gets especially upset, talk to your vet about using a calming product.
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