GudFur Blog Cats and Fireworks

Cats and Fireworks

It is almost that time of the year and where you live may determine the number of fireworks you are going to hear and see. So if you have recently moved home and you have not experienced a firework’s night it may be worth finding out when fireworks will occur and what to expect.  The obvious occasions are Guy Fawkes (in the UK), Diwali, New Year’s Eve etc.  Whilst we enjoy watching a glittering display of fireworks not all of our pets do.  Many cats are very laid back and will not react to the loud noises and flashes but it is our responsibility to make sure we try and prepare and help the ones that are sensitive and anxious to deal with these situations.
 
Cats have sensitive ears and all the sudden loud noise and flashes of the fireworks can disorientate and terrify your cat because they associate the loud noise with danger and this can cause stress and an impulse to flee for safety. This can be extremely dangerous for your cat as it will instinctively run and try and find somewhere to hide. This fight-or-flight response puts them at risk and if it can get outside it may get lost, be injured by passing vehicles or encounter other animals. If they do not have a place in your home where they can feel safe during these periods they may panic and injure themselves trying to escape or find a safe hiding place. Firework displays tend to go on for a period of time and the sounds are unpredictable.
 
Fireworks anxiety signs may include:
  • Pacing
  • Trembling
  • Vocalizing – they may start to hiss, growl, bite and act differently from their normal behaviour
  • Pawing or climbing on people
  • Hiding behind furniture or in a closet
  • Unpredictable, sudden or destructive behaviours
  • They will try to run away
  • They won’t use litter trays
Here are some ideas for cat calming steps to provide relief from anxiety and to have your feline friend purring again! 
  • Try and desensitise your cat in advance by playing noises of fireworks in short bursts and at a low volume to familiarise your cat with the sounds. You can find sounds like this by visiting YouTube 
  • Remember to close all windows and doors as this will help to dull the sound and will make your cat feel safer. It will also make your house escape-proof 
  • Put them in the room furthest from the noise as this will help your cat to feel more comfortable and create a safe hiding space but do not shut them in a confined area as they may harm themselves trying to escape. Cover the windows so they can’t see the flashes and turn on a radio or TV to reduce the noise
Remember if your cat is distressed avoid picking them up as this can provoke sudden aggression. Cats also take a long time to calm down, so leave them until morning to settle before interacting with them again.

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