Cats and fireworks
The sound and sight of fireworks is sudden and can scare cats. Our experts have provided 10 things you can do during the firework season to minimise stress and keep your cat safe.
10 ways to help your cat through fireworks season
1. Make sure your cat’s microchip is up to date
Cats flee if they are scared. Make sure your cat can be identified should they run away by ensuring they are chipped and the details contained are up to date. They should also wear an engraved tag on an easy-release collar.
2. Keep your cat indoors at night time during firework season
Even if you are not having fireworks yourself, you cannot predict that others in your neighbourhood might be. Keeping your cat indoors will avoid them being caught out when fireworks start. When keeping cats indoors be sure to provide litter trays for them.
3. Escape-proof your house
Close all doors, windows and block off cat flaps to stop your cat escaping outside during fireworks. Cats can squeeze into surprisingly tight spots, so block off any dangerous or unsuitable areas they may go into.
4. Create a safe hiding place
If your cat normally hides in a specific place, make sure they have access and encourage them to use the space with treats and toys. A box lined with blankets and with the opening slightly covered is ideal. They will feel safer the higher up they can go, so placing the box on a top shelf or cupboard will help, ensuring it's safe.
5. Do not shut them in a confined area
It is very important not to shut your cat in a confined area as they could injure themselves trying to escape. Allow access to all safe areas of the house.
6. Cover the windows
It isn’t only the sound of fireworks that worries cats; the flashes can upset them too. It is important to cover windows and draw the curtains to block out any sudden bursts of light.
7. Turn on the radio
To reduce the impact of the sudden sound of fireworks, keep a radio or television on.
8. Act normal around your pet
Animals are very perceptive and if they notice you’re behaving unusually (like following them around or being overly affectionate) they’ll sense something is up. If they see that the fireworks have no effect on you, this may help decrease their anxiety.
9. Avoid picking them up
If your cat is distressed avoid trying to interact with them or picking them up as increased stress levels 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.
10. Buy them a treat
Wherever your cat decides to settle for the night, a new toy or treats can be a great distraction from the noise. There are also products on the market that can help pets to cope with stressful events.
If this doesn’t work
If your cat still suffers from anxiety during fireworks it's best to seek advice from a behaviourist or trainer as soon as possible. Do not wait until near the event as desensitising your pet to noises and flashes can take some time.