As we reach the end of October, we enter the dreaded “Fireworks Season” – every pets worst nightmare.
I thought I could talk about some basic safety and sanity tips to help get your cat through. Keep in mind that the Christmas and New Years period is also quite fireworky.
- Start keeping your cat inside from a little before sundown to sunrise. Cats love the dark and are quite nocturnal. By putting a curfew on your cat you can make sure they are safe inside, in case of any fireworks being set off in the neighborhood. The noise will be slightly quieter inside the house and there will be plenty of safe spaces for your cat to hide in if they want to. Having them inside also makes sure that they wont panic and run across the road, or hurt themselves by panicking.
- Draw your curtains. This wont get rid of all the bight lights from fireworks outside, but it will help reduce them. It will also help deaden the sound of windows rattling and give your cat less stress to focus on.
- Be calm for them. Cats can sense if you are stressed out and if you are stressed about the fireworks going off than your cat will be upset by a) the fireworks, b) the human being upset by the fireworks. Talk to them in a quiet relaxed tone and if they want to hide somewhere leave them to it! Odds are your cat will want to hide somewhere and wait it out.
- If your cat gets really upset by fireworks you can always spray their favorite hiding place with Feliway. There may also be something your vet can suggest to help with extremely effected cats. Feliway is fairly noninvasive – and much easier on your cat than being forced to have a pill.
- Distraction, put on a movie or play some music. This wont completely mask the sound of any fireworks, but the noises outside will appear less loud comparatively.
- Have a routine your cat looks forward to in order to make having a curfew seam like a punishment. You can quite easily train a cat to expect treats at a certain time of day, or when a certain event occurs (curtains closing, dishwasher starting) – in fact sometimes they never ever let you forget.. Use this to train your cat to expect treats as they come inside for the night and it will feel more like a reward than remand.
- Be aware of when any public firework displays are. Public displays are louder, brighter and longer. Being aware of when these are happening you can make sure your cat is definitely inside and safe by the time they start.
Good luck NZ!