Six actions cat owners across Wiltshire and Somerset should take to prepare for fireworks season
October 14, 2021
In a survey conducted by the PDSA, 40% of pet owners said their pets feared fireworks. The fact is, fireworks are not just limited to the weekends around Bonfire Night (November 5th) anymore.
Our ‘Cat Friendly Advocates’ here at Garston Vets have put together some seasonal advice for cat owners across Wiltshire and Somerset on how to help their pets cope with the now year-round risks posed by loud and sudden noises.
If none of the ‘natural’ measures recommended below do the trick, you should talk to us about other options like pheromone sprays and diffusers for cats. These remedies can help even the most nervous cats.
The problem with sudden noises, like fireworks, is that they put your cat into ‘fight or flight’ mode. More often than not this means they bolt off, increasing their chances of getting lost or injured. These behaviours are more prevalent at times of the year when sudden noises are everywhere, but they can actually be triggered at any time.
Use the tick list below and follow our advice to maximise the chances of your cat surviving a sudden noise scare in one piece.
Four things to do when you know it’s going to be noisy
- Encourage earlier meal times. We recommend introducing earlier mealtimes for your cat around the middle to end of October as it starts to get dark earlier. This should get them into the routine of coming back into the house before it’s dark and the noises start.
- Keep your cat indoors when it’s dark & noisy. When you know it’s going to be noisy, keeping them indoors at night reduces the risk of them getting injured if they bolt. Restrictions like this can be stressful for cats so you should let them back out to roam when it’s safe.
- Do not try to coax your cat out of hiding. If your cat has been spooked by the noise and is hiding, leave them where they are. A searching hand will not be welcome and it’s better to let cats ‘sit it out’ where they feel safe.
- Give them a treat. A stuffed chew-toy or a puzzle-ball can keep cats occupied for hours. Any novel stimulation can help take their mind off noise, which can significantly reduce stress.
Two actions to help cats with noise phobias year-round
- Tag and microchip. Ensuring your cat is both microchipped and wears an identity tag, makes it much easier for you to be reunited if the noise has caused them to run to un-familiar surroundings.
- Create a safe space. A natural reaction when any animal is scared is for them to retreat to their ‘den’. You should provide a safe, comfortable, and quiet space for every pet – including cats.
If all else fails – consider cat pheromones
Just as with dogs, pheromone diffusers can be used to help calm even the most stressed cat when things get really bad. Diffusers can take a couple of weeks to take effect so it’s important to start using them in advance of known noisy periods, or as soon as you notice your cat becoming anxious.
If the natural steps listed above don’t quite do the trick, contact our practice on 01373 452225 to discuss your cat’s particular needs.