What do fireworks and summer rain have in common? Noises, which often frighten animals. The Humane Society Naples recommends the following tips to help deal with cats and fireworks, or cats and thunder.
By Ericka Basile
1. “Accustom your pet to loud noises early on when they are young. Bang pots and pans and then give your pet a treat,” suggests Tiffany Campbell, trainer with the Humane Society.
2. For older cats or anxiety-prone pets, give them a crate to hide in. Cover this den with a towel for added security.
3. Turn on the TV or radio to create ambient noise which will lessen the shock of sudden loud noises.
4. Speak calmly to your pet and offer soft massage. TLC goes a long way in easing anxiety. So do treats.
5. Try an anxiety wrap such as Thundershirts. Used by leading behavior experts across the country, these Velcro-wrap shirts comfort pets; akin to the time-tested trick of swaddling an infant.
6. Another option is to rub a sheet of fabric softener along the coat of your kitty prior to a storm. Static electricity, which often accompanies a thunderstorm, causes fur to stand up and this alarms your pet.
7. For severe cases, visit our clinic medical director at the Humane Society Naples, or your veterinarian, and ask if your pet needs anti-anxiety medication for occasional use.
How do we know so much about stress in pets? The animals at the Humane Society Naples sometimes arrive in an anxious state, due to their sudden environmental changes. Transitioning pets from a house to a shelter has given our staff a keen understanding of how environmental noises can play a role in a pet’s stress level. Offering a place to hide, soothing voices and anxiety wraps often help the shelter pets manage stress.
Prepare yourselves and your pet ahead of time is key. Anxiety in pets is stressful not only for the animal, but also for the owner. Make this summer a true celebration where you and your pet can enjoy the evening. Utilize the tips and tricks mentioned above to make summer rain showers and thunder stress-free.
Visit hsnaples.org to learn more about the shelter.
Thumbnail: Photograph by Eric Hart / Shutterstock.
This post was originally published in 2011.
About the author
Proud cat lady and founder of CatLadyBox, the subscription box for cat ladies and their cats. One of my missions is to help kick the “negative” crazy cat lady stereotype to the curb — we’re not crazy, just crazy about cats! For as long as I can remember, I’ve been doing things to help cats. I founded Santa Paws Drive, an annual online holiday toy and donation drive for shelter animals, and we raised more than $55,000 for homeless animals. I blogged for years at YourDailyCute.com, which led to me starting the Cute Transport Network, a more than 800-volunteer-strong cat transport network to get cats from shelters to forever homes all over the country. Through the blog’s readers and transport network, we helped save more than 450 cats over four years. Now I spend my time volunteering for local rescues, helping them fundraise and spread the word to get more cats rescued and adopted.
8 thoughts on “Cats and Fireworks: How to Prep Your Kitty for Summer Fireworks”
I couldn’t believe that advice was posted either. I thought Catster was a reliable source for information. But rubbing your cat with dryer sheets? Really?
My cat has to LICK the fabric softener off his coat! Fabric softener contains BLEAH, BORAX (Probs the same thing) CHLORINE. This was NOT useful :/
I tried organic CBD for pets, seems to have made a slight difference. He hid but seemed to recover quickly. We live in an area where people go crazy with them, also, the major ones are very close to us.
KEEP YOUR CATS INSIDE. That’s the most important thing. They may end up under the bed but at least you’ll know where they are.
My late cat Tripod wasn’t bothered by fireworks at all. Unless, of course, one went off a little too close. She’d startle, but she didn’t freak out or anything like that. Lucky me!
In contrast, when I was growing up, we had a weimaraner dog who was gunshy. If a car backfired as it went down the street behind our house, Caeser would head for the garage and lay there trembling. We had to go to the vet’s for tranquilizer pills for him every Fourth of July and New Year’s because of the fireworks. I can’t swear this happened–my memory is fading a bit–but I think one time some fireworks went off, Caeser went through a screen door and took off. It took a while before he was found and returned home. Didn’t help he had hemophilia, so when he got hurt, he bled like the dickens.
Just wondering-I thought dryer sheets were filled with harmful chemicals that were not safe for a cat. Should we really be rubbing them with one to prevent static? Or are there dryer sheets available that are safe for this sort of thing?
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