You MUST Read These Tips For Keeping Your Cat Safe On Bonfire Night!
Bonfire night is on the 5th of November, but its not uncommon for firework season to extend from now until the New Year. The loud and sudden bang of fireworks can make this time of year very frightening for cats - be sure to read the following advice so you can make your kitty feel relaxed and comfortable this winter…
Bonfire night might be an exciting time of year for us humans, but its quite the opposite for our feline friends. Being so sensitive to noise and bright flashes of light means even the most confident cat can run for cover at the hint of a firework display. Its your responsibility as the cat’s owner to ensure they are kept indoors on 5th November and that you do everything in your power to reduce the amount of stress and fear they experience as a result of nearby firework diplays.
Preparation, Preperation, Preperation
Find out when and where local firework displays in your area are being held, and be sure to ask your neighbours whether they are planning any fireworks of their own too. This way you know what to expect and when to expect it - it is also highly recommend that you feed your cat a while before the displays start, as your cat may later on be too stressed to eat.
It’s also absolutely essential that your cat is microchipped and has an ID collar (preferably reflective and with a bell)! Petlog, the UK’s biggest database for microchipped pets, received a 40% increase in the number of calls about missing pets on 5th November 2012. If your kitty gets spooked they may well use any opportunity to run away such as an open door or window, so its important that they can always be traced back to you!
Giving your cat a ‘safe place’ in the run-up to firework season can offer them somewhere to retreat to where they feel more secure and less anxious. If your cat has no place like this already, you can easily introduce one in the weeks or days leading up to Bonfire Night. A cupboard or corner of the room with familiar cushions and blankets is ideal. Leaving your cats favourite toys in their den will encourage them to use it.
On The Night
It’s really important to remember that no matter how much preparation you’ve done, your cat is very likely to still be frightened by the loud bang of fireworks. To minimise the amount of noise they hear be sure to shut all doors and windows and draw the curtains (this will block out bright flashes as well). Ensure that your feline friend’s ‘den’ is located in the same room as you will be in most and never put your cat in a room on their own. Put the TV or radio on - this will distract your dog from the noise and, if you are going out for the evening, get a catsitter who your kitty is familiar with. Most of all, its important to keep to their normal routine as much as possible - if your cat thinks you’re worried as well this will only increase their anxiety.
Needless to say you should absolutely NOT let your cat go outside on bonfire night, and ensure you give them no opportunities to run outside if they get spooked. Keep all windows shut and exercise caution when going in or out of the front door. Make sure your cat is safely indoors a while before the first firework display.
If Your Cat Becomes Frightened…
Cats indicate fear or distress by pacing, meowing and bolting suddenly. It can be distressing for you to see your feline friend like this, but its very important that you don’t try to comfort them as it could make their behaviour worse. If your cat is hiding don’t try to coax them out or pick them up, just let them do what they need to do and be around so they can come to you if they wish. Under no circumstances try to make your kitty face their fears, they will just become more frightened and could become angry with you.
You can’t stop your cat from being startled by fireworks, but by following the steps above you can make them as comfortable as possible during bonfire night and throughout winter.
Head down to your local shelter today and find a feline best friend!