Cats and fireworks
Fireworks displays are exciting for humans - but not so much for most cats! Here’s how to keep your cat calm and safe during the fireworks season.
Added on: 10 Oct, 2020
5 min read (859 words)
Many people love to see the beautiful lights of fireworks exploding in the night sky - but cats do not think as highly of them! Like all wild animals, cat's associate loud noises with danger and will be stressed and fearful. The sound of fireworks isn't a natural one that a cat would hear in the wild, so it makes sense that they would be wary. However, there are lots of things that you can do to help your cat stay calm before, during, and after fireworks.
- The best way to ensure that your cat stays calm during fireworks displays (such as on Bonfire Night) is by keeping them inside at night during this time of year. If your cat doesn't like being inside at night, then check the dates of local fireworks displays and only keep your cat inside on those nights. However, bear in mind that some people let off fireworks outside of set dates and times.
- To help keep your cat inside, you should lock all windows, doors, and the cat flap - this will also help reduce the loud noise. Ensure your cat is microchipped and your contact details are up-to-date with the microchip company - the number of missing cats increases by a third around Bonfire Night. Scared cats tend to bolt outside and into unfamiliar areas, and smoke from bonfires can make it even more difficult for your cat to find their way home. A microchip will help reunite you with your kitty if they get lost.
- You can also create a little den for your cat. There are many options; you could put blankets in a box or around a cat bed or create a little tunnel for them to hide. Your cat may like being high up on a cat tree or shelf too. If possible, make this small safe space in the room of your house that will be the quietest during fireworks.
- Finally, try to stay in your home with your cat during potentially loud and upsetting firework nights. You'll be able to keep an eye on your feline friend, and your presence might be comforting to them.
There are things you can do to calm your cat while the fireworks displays are going off:
- Firstly, make sure that your curtains are drawn; this will help in a few ways - it'll slightly reduce the volume of the fireworks, and it will also stop the bright flashes from worrying your cat.
- Put a familiar sound on in the house, such as music, the radio, or TV. Familiar noises will help distract your cat from the scary, unfamiliar ones happening outside. But don't make it too loud! Cats' ears are much more sensitive than ours.
- Your cat may still be distressed and want to pace through the house or hide - it would be best if you let them do that. If your cat has found a hiding spot that feels safe, don't try to lure them out for cuddles - this is where your cat wants to be. If they want to be comforted, they will come to you. Take a new toy or a favourite treat to their hiding spot, which may be a good distraction from the scary lights and noises.
- Finally, make sure that you're acting calmly around your cat. Even though it can be distressing to see them so scared, your cat will find it more reassuring if you're acting normally - this will show your furry friend that there is nothing to fear!
Your cat may still be acting skittish after the fireworks display has ended; this may be because they haven't all finished! Cats have much better hearing than humans, so your feline friend might still be able to hear the whizzes and bangs of fireworks that are miles and too far away for you to hear.
- Check your garden the morning after a fireworks display. If you live particularly close to the display - or if neighbours are setting off their own fireworks - you may find some debris. Clean it up immediately - fireworks can stay hot for a fairly long time and will burn your cat's mouth if consumed. Fireworks and sparklers also contain many toxic chemicals such as mercury and phosphorus, which will poison your cat if ingested.
- If fireworks continue to terrify your cat, you can also talk to your vet, who may be able to prescribe calming products that can help reduce your cat's anxiety.
It's important to remember that although we might find fireworks fun and exciting, they are often very distressing to your furry friends. Be calm and patient with them, and you'll be able to get through fireworks nights together.