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Cats and Fireworks

The fourth of July, Independence Day, is upon us. We both love July 4! We love dressing up in red, white and blue and celebrating with our families. Rita has red, white and blue clothes that are ready for the celebration, and Linda has jewelry for the occasion that only comes out once a year! She even has one of those goofy head bands with stars on the end. There are picnics and fireworks! It’s awesome! Bring it on!

But we are humans…

Cats, on the other hand, aren’t too keen on the festivities. THOSE FIREWORKS!!! They don’t know what that is about. All they know is they are loud and scary! Our furry felines are very sensitive to loud noises, something you probably have already experienced. Loud, sudden noises sound even louder to cats, since their hearing is more sensitive than ours. Since cats are prey animals, when they get startled they of course flee from the perceived danger, searching for a place to hide.

Cats in nature are both predator and prey. They are always on the lookout for something that may be dangerous. Those loud bangs sure sound dangerous to our kitties and when kitties are in danger, they get anxiety and stress. Now if you have an inside cat, you may not see these behaviors, depending on how close the fireworks are happening. Or, you may notice that your cat feels stressed and he might retreat to a closet or far corner. There she can hide from not only the fireworks, but from the noise of party guests and cheering if you have people over.

Keep in mind that stress and anxiety can lead to illness. They can also lead to “naughty” behaviors. Out of fear, your male kitty might feel the need to let any possible intruders know this is his house! He will do that by spraying. He might eliminate somewhere that is not the litter box, and it might be your bed. He’s not being naughty; he’s just scared. Cats in nature are both predator and prey. They are always on the lookout for something that may be dangerous. Those loud bangs sure sound dangerous to our kitties and when kitties are in danger, they get anxiety and stress. The noise from fireworks has even been known to cause seizures in cats.

To help keep your cat calm and lower his stress, it’s a great idea to set up a separate room inside for your cat, whether he is an indoor or outdoor cat. Put on some soothing music, such as Music for Cats by David Teie on Amazon Music, or Relax My Cat on YouTube. Also offer him a warm snuggly blanket, his favorite food and treats, leave the lights on low, and don’t let anyone else into the room. Well-meaning friends who want to say hello might cause your cat to rush out of the room, and right out any door that might be open. Be around to comfort your kitty if she gets scared, or hire a kitty sitter to be with your cat if you are going out for the festivities.

As for outdoor cats, they might become so frightened that they bolt from the area, trying to outrun the perceived danger. They may run so far to get away that they become disoriented and end up in an unfamiliar area. Many “stray” cats end up in shelters this time of the year for exactly this reason. Be sure your outdoor cat is microchipped. Even better, invite him indoors to wait out the loud noises and get some extra pampering from you. If there are feral or stray cats in your neighborhood, leave a garage or shed open for them, placing some food, water, and cozy nooks inside for these kitties. Give them a place to escape the noise and lessen their fears, where they can wait out the firework noises.

Of course, there are cats who are just plain curious and not at all fearful. Rita remembers one July 4th when she was cat sitting, the kitty sat up on a table by the window to watch the pretty display of colors in the sky.

While you can’t stop the fireworks from happening, giving your cat a safe and secure environment will help make the noises less scary, so he can keep being a calm and happy cat.

Have a question about cat behavior that you’d like answered?
We’d love to hear from you!
Send us an email at questions@stopcatlittersmell.com

For information or help with your cat’s behavior, visit The Cat Behavior Alliance
 

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