Cats and Fireworks: Remedies for Scared Cats
In the USA, our Independence holiday is around the corner – the 4th of July. For many pets, the 4th of July is a very stressful time because of fireworks. And it isn’t always just the afternoon and evening of the 4th – it includes the days leading up to and following the holiday.
Many fireworks our outlawed in cities because of the fire dangers they pose, but in more rural areas or around lakes they seem to be more readily available making it even worse for pets.
My family loves to celebrate the 4th of July in all the traditional ways, including fireworks. However, it wasn’t until my parents German Shepherd, Tucker, that I realized how devastating they could be for an animal – loud noises over and over again from outside. He was a 90 lb. happy-go-lucky guy and fireworks turned him into a frighten, terrified, hiding pup.
Rags, the Ragdoll cat I grew up with, never responded poorly to fireworks – nor did he thunder. But, Charlie and Trigg really do not care for fireworks. The past few 4th of Julys, I have stayed home with them and I am glad I have. Prior to being with them on the night of the 4th, I did not know that they ran around the house growling at the ceiling in fear and confusion.
Many dogs and cats get lost because of fireworks too – they become afraid and look for a place to escape the loud noise, so it’s always important to have your animals indoors on firework-inspired holidays.
So what can you do?
- Stay Calm – As with any situation where your cat is stressed, you want to stay calm. If you’re stressed, you will only stress out your cat more, so it’s important to stay calm. I like to talk to Charlie and Trigg and say, “It’s OK.” And I tell them what’s going on – “Those are fireworks and people set them off in honor of our Independence Day from Great Britain a long, long, long time ago. And those fireworks will cause a big mess for someone to have to clean up tomorrow.” I do. I seriously just keep talking to them as if we are having a cup of tea. Ha ha ha – can you tell that we used to have to clean up the waste from the fireworks the next day as a little kid? Something I don’t miss.
- Give your kitty a safe place to hide – like under a bed or a covered ottoman. More than likely you have already found your kitty in these places – for example, Trigg’s is under the ottoman or the chair upstairs. He feels protected in those areas while being able to still hear what’s going on in the house.
- Desensitize your pets – You can also prepare your kitty or pup for loud firework/thunder like noises by playing a recording of them at a low volume leading up to the big day. That way they are used to the sound of the fireworks leading up to it. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why Rags was not bothered by fireworks. My dad, when we were teenagers and liked to sleep in, would (by 10am) play this fireworks CD at full volume to get us out of bed. So, Rags probably got used to it from that.
Products that might offer solutions:
- Pet Remedy – A product from the UK that made from herbal essences, Valerian, sweet basil, sage and vetiver. It comes in difussers and sprays. You can learn more about it on their website.
- Thundershirts – This product is a shirt that wraps around your cat or dog. You then velcro it tighter to make it feel like they are being hugged and therefore they feel more secure. The concept, I believe, was developed by Temple Grandin in her work with cattle.
Do your kitties or pups get scared from fireworks? What do you do to keep them calm? What works for you?