Is your cat terrified on New Year’s Eve or Independence Day because of the fireworks? Even though you enjoy them and don’t mind the sound, your cat does not understand what is causing the loud explosions and may be terrified. When you see your cat hiding under blankets, running around and whimpering, does your heart just break? Fortunately there are several things you can do to try to help your cat remain calm during fireworks. If fireworks are a common occurrence where you live, you may also want to take the time to help her gradually get used to the sound of them so that they don’t scare her as much anymore.
Keeping Your Cat Safe
1Close all doors and windows. It is extremely important that you do not open doors or windows while your cat is highly agitated, because she may panic at the sound and bolt outside. Many pets who have run outdoors during fireworks have been lost or run over.
- Additionally, closing doors and windows will stop some of the explosion-like sounds from coming into your house.
2Get your cat to go into a room far away from the fireworks. For example, if your bedroom is the farthest to the west of your house, and the fireworks are to the east, you would obviously pick your bedroom.
- Be careful picking up the cat, as they will probably be terrified and jumpy. At the same time, they may love having someone they know there comforting and loving them. It depends on what personality type your cat has.
- If your cat seems liable to claw you because she is so frightened, drop a towel or throw blanket over her body and pick her up using the blanket instead. Be sure to speak soothing words to her as you do so, to help her understand that you are trying to help.
3Do not try to hold her. Except to move her to a safe location, it is unwise and unnecessary to try to hold a cat while she is panicking unless she seems to prefer being held.
- Holding a panicky cat can result in scratches and bites as well as injuries to the cat herself, who might strain her muscles or hit her head trying to get away from you.
4Use a crate. If your cat is crate trained and does not have negative experiences in a pet crate, a small crate like a pet taxi can be a great place to keep her safe during fireworks. It keeps her from running around, escaping the house, or hurting herself or others because she is confined in a small space.
- It also has the added benefit of helping her to feel secure and cozy. Try putting her favorite treat or toy in the crate along with a blanket or towel that smells like you.
- However, if your cat does not like to be crated, now is not the time to try to get her to use one. A highly agitated cat will only panic more if you put her in a crate against her will.
Calming Your Cat
1Play calming music. Don’t blast it, or try to drown out the sound of the fireworks. Play the music at a normal volume level. Just enough so you can easily hear the music. Piano playing music is great.
- If you typically keep a television on in your home, consider putting it on your regular programming at a slightly increased volume from what you normally use. This way the sound of the television will help drown out a bit of the fireworks while also helping her feel that everything is normal.
2Try an herbal remedy. There are several herbs that are tasty and appealing to cats and that have stress-reducing properties. Try one or more of these:
- Catnip is a classic cat treat, which helps your cat feel less stressed by giving a slight feeling of drunkenness and calmness. Because it first works by stimulating the cat and then causes feelings of calm, you should give it to her fifteen minutes before the fireworks begin. Keep a plant of live catnip in your home for special occasions, or purchase a toy that is infused with cat nip.
- Try valerian root, which has the same effect as catnip but usually results in a cat falling asleep. That should definitely calm her down!
- Experiment with dried flowers. There are a few types that are soothing and safe for cats: chamomile, hops, and a combination sold under the name Bach Rescue Remedy. You can find all of these online or in some health food stores.
3Talk to your cat in calming words. Use a calm, relaxed voice, say things along the lines of “It’s okay honey” or “Calm down, it’s ok.” Stroke her gently.
- It really doesn’t matter what you say. If your cat is used to your voice and loves you, she will likely be comforted by anything you say. In fact, you could read the newspaper aloud or read your favorite novel and she wouldn’t mind. It would help to reassure her that you are with her and not leaving her.
Helping Her Get Used to Fireworks
1Find or record a quality video of fireworks. You will need this video to play for your cat, to help her acclimate to the sound and appearance of fireworks.
- You can do an internet video search for fireworks, or record a high quality video of your own if you happen to be around fireworks frequently.
- Look for videos that feature a very high sound quality in particular, with clear “booming” sounds at irregular intervals.
2Play the video at a low volume. If possible, play it on your television or other large screen so that your cat can hear and see it. You want it to be loud enough to hear, but not loud enough to be frightening.
- Play the video or put it on repeat for about fifteen minutes, or however long fireworks displays typically last in your area.
3Increase the volume. Over the course of a few days, play the video once or twice a day over the next few days, increasing the volume just a bit each time.
- Try to make the volume increase subtle enough that she doesn’t notice it, but if you only have a few days to prepare her for a real fireworks display, you can increase it a little more each time as necessary.
4Continue increasing the volume each time you play the video. Do not burst your speakers, but eventually you want to increase as high as you can without damaging your ears or your sound system.
- The goal is to get the volume of the video as close to the sound of real, booming fireworks as possible so that your cat learn to accept the sound without fear.
- Reduce the volume and try again if your cat seems fearful at any time during this process.
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|You can help your pets stay sane despite the loud crackles of fireworks with these steps.|
- Talk to your cat’s vet if you are very concerned. She may be able to prescribe a pill to help calm your cat.
- If you have an especially high strung cat and you are worried about her safety, try to transport her elsewhere before the fireworks begin (for example, take her to a friend’s house the day before or board her at a pet hotel).
- Don’t purposely take your cat somewhere that there will be fireworks unless you absolutely can’t help it. If you do have to take her to an outdoor fireworks display, put her in a safe pet carrier with a soft bottom. Otherwise, she is very likely to get lost or hurt.
- Play with your cat once she is calmed down a bit.
- Don’t try to hold a highly agitated or fearful cat. You will end up scratched or bitten, which can result in infection or disease.
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