Firework season has definitely begun, and with Bonfire night coming up (and fireworks to be expected until the New Year) it can be a stressful time for pets and their owners. Not all pets are bothered by fireworks, but for many, the sounds and also the lights can make them stressed or scared.
Signs of stress or fear in cats can include:
- Being startled by noises
- Running away and hiding
- Eating or drinking less than usual
- Being restless, pacing or circling
- Showing fearful body language
- Being more withdrawn than usual
- Grooming excessively
As all cat parents will know, our cats have really good hearing: if they can hear the rustle of a treat bag from across the house, imagine how loud fireworks can sound to them! While we can’t avoid fireworks altogether, there are some ways we can make this season calmer for our cats and help to keep them safe.
Keep track of important dates and be prepared
Know when local events are taking place: Bonfire Night is the 5th of November, but your local fireworks displays could be happening on a different evening. While you can expect some fireworks to be going off throughout the season, these organised events tend to be the loudest, so keep an eye on the local calendar.
Call cats inside before it gets dark
If you have cats at home with access to the outdoors, it’s important to make sure they’re back inside during daylight hours whenever you expect fireworks. Provide access to food, water and litter trays, and remember to keep any cat flaps locked shut for the night.
Get cosy and give them places to hide
Stay indoors, keep the curtains closed to block out as much light and noise as you can, and make a cosy hiding place for your cats in parts of the house that they usually hang out in. Provide them with a nice cosy bed—like a cardboard box with a blanket—where they can hide away if they want to feel safe. Avoid keeping your cats closed into one room, though: it can make some cats feel stressed and they may try to escape.
Turn up the TV or pop on a cat-friendly playlist
If your cat doesn’t mind the TV or radio then increasing the volume on your TV show can help to disguise the noises coming from outside. Alternatively, try a playlist of calming cat music to help soften any firework noises and create a nice relaxing atmosphere.
Provide toys and treats
Make sure to have a few toys and treats around, for any cats who want to play. Playing can be a great way to distract them from fireworks outside, and a cat-friendly treat is always appreciated! But if they’d rather just hide away in their bed, let them do their own thing.
Stay cool, calm and collected
We might be worried about keeping our cats calm and comfortable around fireworks, but in fact, our cats can pick up on our own nerves and stress! If we show too much anxiety ourselves, it can risk reinforcing any fears our cats may have of fireworks. Our cats are more likely to remain calm if we’re calm ourselves, so don’t make a big fuss over them and simply interact with them as you usually do.