Fireworks are notoriously upsetting for our dogs. However, they can also stress out cats. The loud booms are often enough to send any feline hiding underneath a bed.
It’s often impossible to avoid fireworks altogether. But you can take steps to keep your cat calm during the celebrations. Different cats may take better to certain techniques than others, so we’ve included many calming practices below.
The 6 Tips for How to Calm Your Cat During Fireworks
1. Let Them Hide
It may seem a bit counterintuitive, but if your cat has a safe spot, you should let your cat hide during the fireworks if that’s what they feel like doing. Humans associate hiding with anxiety and fear. However, hiding is a natural feline behavior that comes from their days in the wild. They’re known to hide when they feel threatened or uncomfortable with their surroundings.
Therefore, you should aim to provide your cat with a safe space to hide. Block up any spaces that may be unsafe, as you never know where your cat may try to run. If your cat hides underneath the bed, don’t try to pull them out, as this may only scare them more.
Keep in mind that for many cats, a “safe spot” might actually be your lap, shoulder, or just you in general. Your cat may cling onto you during a fright episode and inadvertently dig their claws into you during the process. This is normal behavior for a frightened cat, and if you do have a cat that loves to hold onto you for dear life, you might want to make sure their claws always remain well-trimmed.
2. Keep Your Cat Indoors
You should not allow your cat outside if you expect fireworks to occur. Inside, your cat is safe and can hide. Outside, fireworks may send them running somewhere unsafe or far away from home. A scared cat isn’t the most rational cat.
Plus, the walls of your home will help limit the sound a little bit. Many cats also know that they are safe inside, which may limit their anxiety a little bit.
3. Try an Anxiety Vest
Cats either love anxiety vests, or they create more anxiety than fireworks. Either way, the only way to know is to try—preferably before the fireworks begin. Cats need time to get used to the vest, so this isn’t something you can prepare the day before. You really need to start “vest training” a month or more before the event.
This is a special garment that wraps around your cat’s body and applies gentle pressure, similar to swaddling a baby. However, current research on the effectiveness of these products is still somewhat unclear, so it may or may not help your pet.
4. Drown Out the Fireworks
If the fireworks aren’t right outside your window, you may be able to help your cat by closing doors, windows, and having your windows double glazed to block out excess sounds. Anecdotally, some people claim that their cats seem to respond well to music. However, whether or not this will work during times of anxiety is uncertain.
5. Stay Calm
Just because your cat is running around in a frenzy doesn’t mean you should too. Stressing out will only stress your cat out more, so it’s important to stay calm.
You don’t want your cat to be wondering, “Why is she so stressed?” And then hear a loud boom, which will automatically make them think that’s why you’re so stressed. It turns a situation that they may not have thought scary into one that is very scary.
Therefore, even if all these other tips fail, try to stay calm for your feline.
If your feline simply cannot keep calm when the fireworks go off, you may want to consider medication. Your vet can prescribe medication that works by keeping your cat calm. However, this medication isn’t necessary in most cases—for cats that are only moderately stressed, you probably don’t need medication. It’s mostly used in situations where felines are a danger to themselves or others due to extreme anxiety.
You can also consider alternative medications, like pheromone diffusers. They can be a solid option if you just can’t get your cat to calm down.
Fireworks are big, bright, and loud—it only makes sense that cats would be scared of them. However, there are many ways you can calm your cat during these stressful times.
For many felines, keeping them inside and letting them hide will be enough. Hiding is how cats dissipate their anxiety and keeping them inside keeps them safe.
However, other cats may need extra help. Calming vests and medication may be necessary in some cases (whether you choose alternative medication or something more mainstream). For cats that are extremely stressed out, you should speak to your vet about the possibility of a prescription.
Featured Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, Pxhere