Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 26, 2023 by Crystal Uys
I’ve always felt that the 4th of July is probably cats’ least favorite holiday. A recent study by Wakefield Research, commissioned by Bach® Rescue Remedy® Pet, a liquid remedy for pets made with natural flower essences, revealed that 54% of current and former pet parents say fireworks are a leading cause of stress for their pets.
Study says: cats hate thunderstorms!
The report goes on to share the other major stressors including thunderstorms (53%), being left alone or separated from their humans (46%), going to the veterinarian or groomer (44%), and traveling (28%). Nearly 91% of current cat or dog parents say their pet has felt stressed by at least one of these situations. In addition, a stressed pet can mean a stressed human. Nearly 43% of current cat or dog parents say they get stressed or have felt stressed seeing their pet stressed out.
None of these findings surprise me. If anything, I think the percentages reported are lower than the actual occurrences. Allegra used to be terrified of fireworks, but as she is getting older, and as we’ve been using various methods to help keep her calm, she’s much better with them. Even Ruby, who was pretty fearless and not afraid of thunderstorms, became unsettled when fireworks started going off in our neighborhood.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help your cat cope with fireworks and thunderstorms.
The 5 Tips on How to Relieve Your Cat’s Stress During Fireworks & Thunderstorms
1. Create a safe space
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.
Close windows and lower shades and/or draw blinds to at least lower noise levels somewhat.
2. 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.
3. Bach Rescue Remedy® Pet
Bach Rescue Remedy® Pet is a liquid remedy made from flower essences. The gentle, healing essences have been used since ancient times to provide vibrational healing for mind, body and spirit for people. Hildegard von Bingen (12th century) and Paracelsus (15th century) both wrote about the use of flowering plants to treat health imbalances. The healing method became better known in the 1930’s when Dr. Edward Bach, a British practitioner of homeopathy and bacteriology, developed his range of 38 essences known as the Bach Flower Remedies. Rescue Remedy®, a blend of five different essences designed to calm and soothe, is probably the most well-known of the remedies.
I’ve used Rescue Remedy® for decades, both for myself and for my cats. And it works!
It can be given in your cat’s water, food, with a treat (the creamy squeezable treats are great for this,) or directly into their mouth. It can also be rubbed into their ears. To help your cat cope with fireworks, start administering the remedy a few days before the 4th (or sooner, if your neighborhood is like mine and fireworks start going off at least a week before the holiday.) For thunderstorms, don’t wait until the storm is moving in. If storms are in the forecast, start giving the remedy early in the day.
4. 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 adamantly disagree with that advice. It is nonsense to believe that reassuring your cat that everything is fine is going to make her associate fear with being rewarded with your attention. Let your cat be your guide: some cats will do better if you’re right there with them, others will prefer to be left alone in their hiding place.
If your cat has reacted very badly to fireworks or thunderstorms in the past, you may want to talk to you veterinarian about prescribing anti-anxiety medication.
How do your cats react to fireworks and thunderstorms? What do you do to help them cope?
Bach® Rescue Remedy® Pet is available from Amazon.
Featured Image Credit: Vincent Scherer, Shutterstock
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.