Is your cat afraid of fireworks? I watched Hazel’s behavior during a recent thunderstorm with loud claps of thunder, and her only reaction was to move her ears back and look annoyed – the thunder was disturbing her sleep!
I found two short articles online about what to do if your cat is afraid of loud noises. With 4th of July fireworks coming up, I am posting them with their links here:
1. If your cat hides on top of cupboards or under furniture, leave him alone and do not try to coax him out. This ‘bolthole’ is where he will feel most secure. It is important that your pet can access his favourite bolthole at all times.
2. On the evenings you expect fireworks, ensure your cat is safely inside and secure doors, windows and cat flaps.
3. Plugging a Feliway® Diffuser in the room where the cat spends most of her time 48 hours before the festivities will increase her sense of security.
4. Make sure your cat is microchipped. If he does escape, frightened, confused animals can easily get lost.
5. Ensure your cat is provided with a litter tray both before and during the firework season.
6. Draw curtains to reduce the noise from outside and play music or have the TV on to help mask the noise of fireworks.
7. Ignore any fearful behaviour and do not try to comfort your cat. More importantly, do not try to pick him up or restrain him. Fearful cats prefer to be left to cope on their own.
8. Try not to go out while the fireworks are going off. Stay calm and act normally.
9. In multi-cat households, shutting cats in overnight may cause disharmony amongst your pets. A Feliway® Diffuser may help lower inter-cat tension.
10. If you are worried that your pet is taking a long time to recover from the firework festivities, speak to your vet. Your vet may also wish to refer you to a behavioural therapist.
Helping your cat cope with loud thunder and fireworks
It’s not uncommon for a cat to be afraid of loud noises, especially thunder and fireworks. They usually display by hiding. A cat suffering from a substantial fear of loud noises may begin to display anxious behavior before the thunder begins. Rain on the roof of the house, bright flashes of light or even the drop in air pressure before a storm may be enough to trigger anxiety. It is important to know what to do when the situation occurs:
Staying calm will help your cat feel safe. You might even try to play with your cat to distract from the noise of thunder of fireworks.
Make sure your cat has a safe place to seek refuge. Cats typically will run under a bed or under a chair to escape loud noises. Your cat chooses these places because she feels protected and the noise of thunder or fireworks is muffled. If your cat has not already picked out a place, provide one. Try leaving a few kibbles of a favorite Science Diet® cat food in safe place to encourage your cat to go there.
Try desensitizing your cat to loud noises so the sound becomes normal. This is usually done by playing recorded thunder at a low volume and in short intervals while you monitor your cat’s behavior. This process is long and requires patience, but in the end your cat will be much more comfortable during a storm or near a fireworks display.