July 4th is only a few days away, and we all know what it means: fireworks, and loads of them. For adults and children alike, the spectacular fireworks displays are a sight they all anxiously await every year. Unfortunately, for our furry friends, they do not watch the fireworks with relish; instead, they cower and run away in search of refuge. If you have observed such behavior in your pets, then here are a few tips on keeping your cat calm during the July 4th fireworks, and how to tell if the feline is scared or not.
Can you tell if your cat is afraid of fireworks?
Before you start researching on how to keep your cat calm during the fireworks displays, it is crucial to know if they are even scared in the first place. If even the sound of your door banging sends your cat under the bed, then he most likely cannot remain at peace during the July 4th celebrations. Additionally, if your furry friends continuously lick themselves during such events, do not conclude that they are in a class of their own when it comes to cleanliness. Excessive grooming is only a strategy to cope with the fear that is creeping in on your four-legged friend.
On the other hand, your pet may feel that grooming or hiding is not enough to deal with the noise, and when he cannot take it anymore, he will run away to seek comfort elsewhere. According to ASPCA, one in five pets goes missing during the fireworks displays. Although it has been said dogs are usually more prone to running away from home than cats, it is still possible that your feline friend is among the few that do. Reports say that 70% of pet owners are caught off guard when their pets go missing during such celebrations. Therefore if your feline has exhibited these three main signs of being noise-phobic, it is time to equip yourself with tactics to deal with such scary moments.
Helping your cat keep calm during the fireworks
Before even the fireworks begin, start preparing the cat for this eventuality. First of all, be proactive by ensuring that your cat is microchipped, and the information regarding your address is updated. As discussed above, some cats prefer running to deal with their torment instead of hiding under the bed or couch; therefore, by ensuring that your cat can be tracked, you can rest easy knowing that even if they run off, they will still be traced back to you. Proactivity also means that you desensitize the cat to the noise. A cat that will scamper at the sound of thunder will behave the same way during the fireworks. Therefore you can record loud noises and play them regularly, first on low volume while watching the cat’s reaction. Once he gets acclimatized to the noise, increase the volume, and use fireworks noise; before you know it, you will have a cat that can sit through any July 4th celebration.
Then again, some cats can never get past their fears and will still run off at the slightest noise. Therefore just like babies cry more when we are impatient with them, cats will also pick up on our anxiety and became more scared. For this reason, regardless of how afraid your pet is, always remain calm; you are their refuge, and they look up to you to feel safe, so reassure them that everything will be okay. If that does not work, then Conscious Cat advises that you get Rescue Remedy or Comfort Zone with Feliway. Rescue Remedy is packed with natural stress-relieving ingredients while Feliway restores that calm feeling in a cat.
Sometimes, even these preparations may still not work, so the only thing you can do is ensure that your cat’s favorite hiding spot is ready and accessible. You should note that your cat may still choose to hide in a different spot, and it is okay; at that moment, he feels safe there, so do not try to lead him towards his usual spot. Additionally, keep him comfortable by blocking out as much of the noise as possible by shutting the doors and windows and keeping your cat indoors. That also means drawing the curtains since the flashing lights may be upsetting for the feline too.
Serious health effects of fireworks in cats
If you thought your pet going missing is the worst thing that could happen to you, then you are yet to fully understand the grave consequences that fireworks can have on our furry friends. Exposing your cat to the fireworks crackers can cause them to go blind due to the explosions, according to Animal Ethics. Besides losing eyesight, cats are also exposed to toxic chemicals from the crackers.
Fireworks are made up of poisonous ingredients such as potassium nitrate, coloring agents, and charcoal. If you let your cat roam around the compound the next few days after he displays, it is most likely that he will find some of the firecrackers and ingest them. The effects of the consumption usually depend on how much the cats ingest, but the usual signs of toxicity include bloody diarrhea and vomiting. In severe cases, pets have been known to suffer from kidney problems, jaundice, seizures, and bone marrow changes.
One pet owner also reported that her cat had seizures due to fireworks. According to The Verge, the pet owner had no idea how her cat would react since it was her first July 4th celebration. Unfortunately, once the cat, Kagetora, was exposed to a rapid-fire succession of fireworks, the cat started convulsing, prompting his human mum to do more research surrounding the subject, animal behavior experts advise pet owners to keep their pets away from loud noises because such overstimulation can result in epilepsy