- Fireworks cause distress to millions of pets every year
- Cats have highly developed, acute hearing and are sensitive to noise
- Check out our guide to preventing stress for your cat during firework season
The whizz, crash and pop of fireworks – Bonfire Night is so exciting! Unless you're the family cat of course – in which case, it's not so much fun.
That's because, in general, pets become stressed, anxious and upset when they hear and see fireworks; studies have shown household pets to demonstrate emotions of fear when exposed to them. In some cases, cats can become so distressed by fireworks that they start to display behavioural problems, including excessive grooming and becoming aggressive – not to mention there’s also the danger of them running away.
We've put together some basic tips to help you look after the health and wellbeing of your beloved cat during any display of fireworks so that when it comes to late October and early November, everyone can have a rather grand time.
First things first
Before the firework season starts, you could consider a quick visit to your local vet. The RSPCA explains that your vet may, for example, prescribe you with pheromone diffusers, like Feliway, designed to create a reassuring environment for your cat.
This may be worth exploring, as the animal welfare charity states that 'firework phobia' is a treatable condition. You could try some sound therapy at home too: CDs of 'scary sounds' are readily available and are designed to help your furry companions get used to the sounds of whistles, whooshes, cracks and bangs.
Top tips to comfort your cat
- Although some cats hate to be confined indoors, try to keep your cat in after dark and provide her with a litter tray if she is used to going outside
- Keep windows shut and curtains drawn to help reduce the noise and flashes of fireworks. You may find that playing soothing music or having the TV on can also help. Try not to reinforce fearful behaviour by overly soothing and reassuring a cat that is looking anxious.
- While most cats like to be curled up on a cosy bed or favourite armchair, when they're scared, they seek safe places to hide. Make sure your cat's got access to a secure hiding place indoors, such as under the bed, an igloo-style cat bed or something as simple as a cardboard box.
- Make sure all doors and windows are firmly shut – sensitive, skittish cats may be startled by the noise and try to run away.
And one last thing...
It goes without saying that if your cat accidentally gets out during the firework season and is injured, make sure you've got the details for your local vet, pet hospital and your insurance company within reach so you can get help as quickly as possible.
Got dogs? We've come up with some top tips to look after your dog on Bonfire Night too.