Remember, remember...your cat during firework season
28 September 2020
With bonfire restrictions across the country, many people will be celebrating with fireworks displays in their own garden.
Apart from the obvious physical damage suffered through accidental contact with fireworks, cats can be badly affected by fireworks' noise and lights.
Possible behavioural problems as a result of fear and stress could include house soiling or excessive grooming, while there is also the danger of a pet cat running away and potentially not returning home.
A few simple precautions can help owners to keep their cat out of harm’s way:
· Keep your cat in after dark with access to a litter tray as well as food and water bowls.
· Try to reduce outside noise and flashes by keeping windows shut and curtains drawn. Playing soothing music or having the TV on may also help. Try not to reinforce fearful behaviour by overly comforting a cat that is looking anxious.
· Cats de-stress quicker if they can hide, preferably in high and/or dark locations, such as behind sofas and under beds. A cardboard box on its side or blankets placed on shelves or wardrobes can help your cat feel safe.
· A Pheromone plug-in diffuser can be used to decrease anxiety and can have a calming a cat during fireworks - start using it a couple of weeks before the fireworks season starts and site it in the room where your cat spends most of his time. For more information, consult your vet.
If you are having your own bonfire night celebration this year, then consider:
· Buying hand-held cascading fireworks rather than the noisier varieties.
· Holding a ‘silent’ fireworks display – many companies now offer quiet or almost silent fireworks – giving you the same spectacle without the loud bangs.
· Keeping fireworks and bonfire displays as far away from homes as possible, to minimise any adverse effects on animals indoors, although remember to consider the effect these displays will have on wild animals.
· Check bonfires before lighting to ensure that no small animals are sleeping inside - they are ideal homes for hedgehogs.