Cats and Fireworks

With fireworks seemingly no longer confined to 5 November, spare a thought for your feline friend this autumn.

While the festivities – particularly those based around Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve – are entertaining for us, they can be distressing for pets. Apart from the obvious physical damage that can occur as a result of accidental contact with fireworks, cats can also be badly affected by the resultant noise and lights. In some cases, behavioural problems could arise as a result of fear and stress, including soiling of the home or excessive grooming, while there is also the danger of them running away. The following recommendations should ensure that you can enjoy the celebrations with the peace of mind that your cat will be safe and sound.

First of all, keep him in after dark and provide him with a litter tray if he is used to having outside access. In order to feel secure, cats need to be settled in cosy, familiar territory such as a comfy bed or favourite chair, so make sure these are available. Make sure that all doors and windows are securely closed – this will also reduce the level of noise from outside. To create a semblance of calm, pheromone plug-in diffusers – available from pet shops – have a beneficial effect, but you must start using them a couple of weeks before the fireworks season starts in order to maximise the benefit. Playing soothing music or having the TV on may also help.

If you are having your own celebrations, you could consider buying hand-held cascading fireworks rather than noisier varieties. Similarly, many companies now offer quiet or almost silent fireworks – giving you the same spectacle without the loud bangs. Try to keep fireworks and bonfire displays as far away from your home as possible, but do bear in mind the effect these displays will have on wild animals. Finally, check bonfires before lighting them to ensure that no small creatures are sleeping inside.