Cats and fireworks don't mix. If your cats are anything like my gang, at the first distant sound their ears spin like turrets towards it and after intensely listening for just seconds the look of panic appears. Rolling thunder does the same thing. You can see the little wheels turning in their heads as they quickly process where to flee. Then they're gone!
The 4th of July may be a wonderful celebration for us, but for the cats its pure hell on earth. Over the years I've discovered a few things that work...and tried many that didn't. Here are a few tips that work around my household at this time of year.
Most of those who follow our Cat Health Detective website are aware that we have six cats. So we have learned that all cats don't respond to fireworks in the same manner and not all solutions work with our six mouseketeers. But we are able to lower the stress for the four cats that do the worst with all the "bombs bursting in air".
First, try to be home with them when the racket is noisiest. I know that's not always possible because you might be taking the your kids to a fireworks display nearby, but if you can't be there see if you have a friend or relative that is available to spend a few hours at the house with your pets...if not, you might consider having a pet sitter. There is a link below for SitterCity, a reputable company.Looking for a petsitter or dog walker? Sittercity.com has petsitters in your area. Sign-up today!
An alternative is to prepare a "safe room" for your cat. A couple of days prior to the event take a favorite blanket that has her scent on it, food and water, and a litter box into a room that will be farthest away from the noise. If the room has a music source have soothing classical music to play. Our cats enjoy light jazz or some New Age music such as Crysalis.
Take your cat into that room with a toy and get her familiar and comfortable with both the room and the location of her food and litter so she feels like its a comfort zone. Most of us don't have a permanent "safe room" area available all the time but if you do have the additional space then it's great to have it for many holidays or times when friends or family visiting might be stressful. Unfortunately, our safe area is our office so it's only used temporarily during key stress times.
Secondly, whether you are home or not, close all the windows and doors to block a majority of the sound and flashing lights. Sounds will be muted and the lightning-type flashes won't be visible. We also close off the rooms that have skylights where we don't have the ability to cover them with curtains or shades. This will cut down on the cats and fireworks stress.
Play music that has a calming effect. If you are home and your cats are accustomed to your television being on in the evening, then by all means keep things normal and have the volume turned up a bit higher to help dampen the outside sounds. You can do this even if you're slipping out for a few hours because it keeps the home "more normal" for a cat.
Thirdly, keep your cats indoors. Cats and fireworks don't mix as I said at the beginning. Max and Giorgio (our two males) are usually allowed outdoors for varying times during the day. Even though those two show little fear of fireworks, they will be kept indoors on the 4th and perhaps the 3rd if kids in the neighborhood are jumping the gun.
All it takes is an extra loud bang to send your cat into the bushes or into traffic so outside is a no-no. Our other four (females) who react badly to the noises and get extremely stressed will have stress relief treats and a "safe area" in our office.
Stress Away... Vetri-Science Composure...Pet Naturals Calming Chews
Fourthly, there are stress medications and stress relief cat treats that are marketed and sold in pet stores, grocery stores or online companies like Amazon and our affiliates Entirely Pets, Only Natural Pets and U.S. Pets to name a few. Others are listed on our Pet Products page and I've relisted the stress products from that page here. Your local pet store may have some of these items available or something similar to help lessen the cats and fireworks trauma.
Comfort Zone with Feliway.....Refill........Naturvet Quiet Moments Cat Calming Aid