How to keep your cat safe around firework season
Understanding your cat’s needs over the firework season can help you keep their anxiety to a minimum
While they may not be as vocal as their canine counterparts, cats can still find fireworks scary and stressful. Keep an eye out for signs of stress which include:
- Freezing and refusing to move
- Staring with their eyes wide and their pupils dilated
- Pinning their ears back
- Swishing their tail and tucking it around their body
- Hair standing on end
- Hissing, growling, meowing or yowling
- Refusing to use the litter box, and potentially urinating or defecating in places they wouldn’t usually
- Acting aggressive, potentially swiping with their claws or biting
- Becoming more clingy
- Becoming less playful
- Spending a lot of time hiding
- Spending more time sleeping than they usually would
- Altered grooming habits, sometimes overgrooming to the point where bare or sore patches appear
- Changes in appetite and eating habits
What you can do ahead of time to help your pet stay safe and calm around fireworks
There are a few things you can do to make your cat feel at ease while fireworks are going off near your home. You can:
- Make them identifiable: Cats will hide or run from scary sounds, so making sure your cat is identifiable if they get lost is critical. A microchip is the best way, but an engraved tag on a safe release collar is a great back up.
- Consider how you can best cat-proof your home: This includes making sure everyone in the house knows not to let your cat out, but also includes blocking off any dangerous areas your cat may squeeze into if they are scared. Your cat should still have free access to all safe areas in your home so they don't feel trapped.
- Make them a den: If your cat has a favourite hidey-hole, make sure it is accessible and has everything they need for a comfortable stay. If they don't already have a safe space, you can create a den by lining a box with blankets. Putting it up high will make it more appealing for them when they’re feeling anxious.
- Use a pheromone product: Pheremone products can create a safe feeling for your cat, and help to provide them with some reassurance in stressful situations. Owners can start to use these products at least one month before bonfire night. Take a look at Pets at Home's selection of calming products for your cat to find the best choice for your pet.
- Speak to your vet: If your cat gets very upset by fireworks, speak to your vet or behaviourist ahead of time. Noise phobias can take a long time to address so it’s important to start this process well in advance of bonfire night.
What you can do on the night to help your pet stay calm around fireworks
- Give them a treat: Providing your cat with their favourite treat (or two) is totally fine! Get them their favourite treat or a new toy to distract them.
- Keep the curtains drawn: Another way to stop your cat being scared of fireworks is to keep the curtains drawn, to block out the sounds and flashes of light.
- Muffle the sound: Turn up the sounds in your home by putting the TV or the radio on at a moderate volume to block out the sounds of the fireworks.
- Don't react to the fireworks yourself: If you try your best to stay calm and create a calm environment, your cat will also pick up on your mood. While it's fine to be reassuring if they are scared, try and act like you normally would - this will help show your cat that there is no cause for anxiety.
- NEVER punish your cat for displaying unwanted behaviour as a result of fireworks: This will only make them more distressed. Fireworks can make pets anxious and on-edge, so it’s important not to punish them for their behaviour - simply try to keep them as calm as you possibly can and give them reassurance
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Read more of our expert cat advice to keep your cat happy and healthy.