How to Help Your Cat Cope with Fireworks

cats_and_fireworks

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The 4th of July is probably a cat’s least favorite holiday. I know it is at our house. Even Ruby, who’s not afraid of thunderstorms, becomes unsettled when fireworks start going off in our neighborhood.  The noise usually begins a few days before the holiday, extending the stress for cats beyond just one single day.

A cat’s sense of hearing is much more acute than ours, and all the noises associated with the holiday are much more intense for them. Add to that the lack of understanding of what is going on, and you can have a very scared cat on your hands. Here are some tips for helping your cat cope with fireworks:

Create a safe room or safe hiding places

If there’s a room in your house where the noise from fireworks is the least noticeable, you may want to designate that as a safe room during the holiday. Put beds, food, water, toys, and cat trees and scratchers in the room. Leave a radio or tv on in the room; this may act as white noise and block out some of noise. “Igloo style” cat beds can also be a good option. If you keep these types of beds in areas where you and your cats spend a lot of time, they may use them to hide from the noise rather than hiding under the bed.

Close all the windows

Close windows and lower shades and/or draw blinds to at least lower noise levels somewhat.

Play some calming music

Don’t try to drown out the sound of fireworks by blasting the music. Choose soothing classical music, or calming music especially designed for cats.

Natural calming remedies

Remedies such as Stress Stopper or Storm Soother can help keep kitties calm. Pheromone plug-ins such as Comfort Zone with Feliway can also help – use in the area where your cat tends to hide during storms.

Remain calm

Our cats pick up on our emotions, and if we’re anxious, they’ll be anxious as well. Reassure your cat, but don’t overdo it. While it’s tempting to cuddle and comfort your cat during fireworks, in your cat’s mind, this rewards the fearful behavior. Speak in a calm, but cheerful voice.

Medication

If your cat has reacted very badly to fireworks in the past, you may want to talk to you veterinarian about prescribing anti-anxiety medication.

Photo by Walt Eis, Flickr Creative Commons

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11 Comments on How to Help Your Cat Cope with Fireworks

  1. onyx&daisy
    July 4, 2017 at 6:43 pm (3 months ago)

    Thank you for this very helpful article! This will be my two kitties’ first July 4th and my first as a cat owner.

    Reply
  2. Janine
    July 4, 2016 at 7:28 am (1 year ago)

    I hope y’all have a good 4th

    Reply
  3. Marg
    July 4, 2016 at 1:04 am (1 year ago)

    Happy 4th of July Ingrid, Allegra & Ruby …

    Reply
  4. Val and Roo Prrt
    December 30, 2015 at 2:29 pm (2 years ago)

    I have several friends who swear by Thunder Shirts (for their dogs). Not sure how one would work on a cat, assuming the cat is ok with “clothing” in the first place. Anyone have any experience trying a Thunder Shirt on a cat? (Not cheap, but if you want to try, I found both Petco and Amazon to be good good about refunds for things “my cat hated.”

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 30, 2015 at 4:32 pm (2 years ago)

      I’ve heard mixed reviews for cats. The theory doesn’t make sense to me for cats, since most cats don’t like being held very tightly – which is essentially what the Thundershirt mimics.

      Reply
  5. Sometimes, Cats Herd You
    June 25, 2014 at 9:29 pm (3 years ago)

    We have nearby fireworks all the time, so we aren’t too bothered by July 4. We are lucky to be acclimated so that it doesn’t scare us like it does so many other cats. Brenda is right, though, in most areas, law enforcement can help with the neighborhood fireworks if they get out of hand. Here’s hoping that everyone stays safe this upcoming fireworks week.

    Reply
  6. Brenda
    June 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm (3 years ago)

    You also may find that if the fireworks behavior is too ridiculous law enforcement will help you (as long as you live where laws assist them in being able to) though they are overwhelmed with many calls.

    Reply
  7. Brenda
    June 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm (3 years ago)

    Handel’s Water Music is one of our choices or Mozart. Safe rooms are popular with our cats.

    We also try to be home with them even more than usual not only during the awful fireworks holidays, but when they set cannons off during football season.

    A lot of brainless wonders have taken all the fun from fireworks holidays for people and pets. I don’t understand why fireworks aren’t taken seriously by law enforcement. I think extra forces should be brought in to assist.

    Reply
  8. Sue Brandes
    June 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm (3 years ago)

    I hate fireworks season. All my kitties get so shook up. No where to hide around here. We live to close to neighbors. Last year it went on for over a week. It was awful. I will try some of your suggestions.

    Reply
  9. Karen and Gerard
    June 25, 2014 at 6:13 am (3 years ago)

    Our dog seems to be more bothered by the fireworks than our cats. I’ll have to remember the music next time.

    Reply
    • Debbie
      July 6, 2015 at 9:41 pm (2 years ago)

      The same here, the dogs seems more nervous than the cats here. They wind up upsetting the cats more. The cats just go to a safety zone. However, my Beagle goes all crazy from one room to another even though the back bedroom where his bed is located is quieter. I also had to give him his seizure med early to help calm him down. I be glad when the neighbors run out of fire works.

      Reply

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