Independence Day, the 4th of July, is a day of fun-filled family cookouts, barbecues, swimming, and good-times. But, because of noisy fireworks and rambunctious houseguests, it’s also one of the most traumatic and dangerous days of the year for our cats. Here are some tips to help keep your feline friend safe during the 4th of July holiday.
Keep Your Cat Inside
Yes, most cat parents do keep their cats indoors all the time, but if you’re one of the 25% that lets your cat go outside, too, be sure to keep them indoors for a few days before and after the 4th of July. The sudden noise of fireworks can be frightening and disorienting. A cat that’s usually very street-savvy may find herself easily lost. Loud noises from firecrackers may cause her to dart into traffic.
If your neighbors are anything like mine, they usually start lighting fireworks a few days before the 4th of July and every night up until the big celebration. It’s best to keep your cat indoors as soon as you start hearing your neighbors setting off fireworks and keep kitty inside until after the 5th.
Give Your Cat a Safe Room
Frightened cats will seek shelter, so prepare a sanctuary for your cat in advance! Try a cat bed inside your closet or another interior room that will be the quietest when fireworks are going off. Get your cat used to her new sanctuary in advance by putting her favorite blanket and toys in the space. You might also try pheromone therapy to keep kitty calm by spraying the area with Feliway or plugging in a Comfort Zone diffuser in the area.
If you have a cat that is afraid during thunderstorms, you can bet that the noise from fireworks are going to be an even worse problem. It might be wise to invest in a Thundershirt for your nervous cat and have it ready for when the fireworks begin.
Keep a litter box and food and water in your cat’s safe room, and you’ll also ensure your cat isn’t bothered by guests if you have a party at your house for the holiday. Your guests may love your cat, but it’s almost impossible to keep an eye on everyone – and it just takes a second for one forgetful guest to leave a door open and the cat to dart outside; Or for a well-meaning guest to slip table scraps of food to your cat. Barbecue is too rich and greasy for cats to eat. It’s best to keep the cat locked up while the house is full of people.
Keep Your Cat’s ID Current
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a thousand current photos of your cat on your smartphone, but just in case – make sure you take an up-to-date photo of your cat to keep on hand in case your cat gets lost this holiday. Also, it’s a good idea (any time of the year) to have your cat microchipped, or at the very least, have a collar on him with your current contact information on the tag. Microchips and tags are useless if the contact information on them isn’t kept up-to-date!
Distract Your Cat During Fireworks
If you find that your cat is getting anxious while fireworks are going off, try distracting her with her favorite interactive toys. Some favorites are DaBird, and Neko Flies. Or, play some music to block out the noise that’s happening outside. “Through a Cat’s Ear” is music developed specifically for cats that are stressed or fearful and is said to calm them during car rides, when dealing with visitors or other animals, and also – coping with loud noises (like fireworks!).
Take a few minutes out of your festivities every couple of hours and check in on your cat. Let her know she hasn’t been abandoned during this stressful time. By taking a few precautions for your cat, you’ll ensure he or she has a safe and uneventful 4th of July. Happy Independence Day!
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