Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: November 1, 2022 by Crystal Uys


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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 was not afraid of thunderstorms, became unsettled when fireworks started going off in our neighborhood. Allegra used to be terrified during fireworks. Thankfully, the last few years, she’s handled the noise better. What makes dealing with fireworks so challenging is that 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.

These tips can help 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 Rescue Remedy, 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. Even though some experts claim that trying to comfort your cat when she’s scared will reward and reinforce her fear, I disagree with that advice. As long as you don’t overdo it and just act like you normally do, you’ll reassure your cat that everything is fine.


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

*FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and affiliated sites, and an affiliate partner of Jackson Galaxy. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated.

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16 Comments on How to Help Your Cat Cope with Fireworks

  1. I had a cat who got scared of thunder, but only once when it was a real strong one. He cried a bit and hid under the table.

    Now I have new cats. The first one, Hazelnut, was only a five weeks old kitten abandoned by her mother. She wasn’t scared of noise, maybe because she’s used to it, living in a building with loud neighbors and cars and an occasional motorcycle.

    She wasn’t even scared of the air raid alarm that was loud enough to raise the dead, or the explosions that shook the building, not when she was home. When I tried taking her to the shelter, the noise made her run back home.

  2. When I know there is going too be fireworks or a thunderstorm I stay home with my cats too keep them calm.

  3. At my previous home, fireworks were not legal for residents, but of course many still get/use them, especially being close to the NH border where they are legal. Now we are in NH and I hear them often, not just around July 4. Neither place was close to where the town displays are, so there really is no issue that I have seen. What does get them is the snow avalanching off the metal roof! One group flies off the bed when this happens! Thunderstorms have not been as bad here so far (at least when I have been at home. We had nasty ones at previous home), but the other night was a doozy and those same cats bothered by the snow were going nuts in the bedroom! Hopefully we will not have too many of those…

  4. My Siamese loves the fireworks, he sits in the window to watch them. Our new kitten was scared of thunder so we desensitized him to it. Whenever​ it stormed we brought out his favorite toy the laser, it distracts him and he ignores the thunder. You can do the same thing with a dog using a toy or treats, it just takes a little time and patience. I used same method with a gun-shy German Shepherd.

  5. I’m surprised my neighborhood has been quiet so far. But I’m sure it all ends tonight, even though it’s illegal to shoot them in my town. I can only imagine how bad the noise will be. And not only will it scare my cats, but my husband has to work in the morning and he is super cranky if he doesn’t get a good night’s sleep.

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

  7. 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.”

    • 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    • 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.

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