Well, another year has come and gone, and some might say happily so! As the world reopens and people get ready for a long weekend, the Independence Day celebration will be one to remember… but not in a good way, if you are a cat!
Independence Day means barbecues, travel, and fireworks for you, but it can mean separation, confusion, and fright for you favorite feline. Let’s look at cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett’s solutions for a safer, saner holiday for Kitty.
Stay Inside! Even if your cat is used to going outside, this is the time to restrict her movement. You do not want her to panic when exposed to the sounds and smells of firecrackers in the air. She could become disoriented and try to run away. It is a good idea to keep her in the house both before and after the Fourth, since people shoot fireworks before and after the date. It is especially important to keep an eye on doorways during this time. You do not want her to escape when a door is accidentally left ajar. Keep doors latched and window screens secured. You do not want to end up at the vet with an injured and frantic pet.
Update ID and Photos: Always have a recent photo available just in case Kitty does manage to slip out and get lost. If you’re anything like me, you will have about a hundred current photos immediately available on your phone. Micro-chipping is the safest way to store her ID, but be sure that all of your information is up to date in the registry. ID collars are also great, but make sure your contact phone number is current. Old phone numbers serve no purpose.
Not Home Alone: Again, most felines are terrified of sudden and continued loud noises like fireworks. If you plan to go out to see fireworks, best for Kitty to have a cat sitter or a neighbor who can check on her while you are gone.
Create a Safe Room or Hideaway: Set up a special area for her where she can go to escape from the craziness of the day. Make sure she has food, litter and all she needs. Especially if you have guests, this is where she can safely ride out the noise and distractions until things calm down. Make sure there are resting and hiding places. You can check periodically that she is safely tucked away.
Use Distractions & Music as a Buffer: Try soft music to blur out the sounds coming from outdoors. Music can potentially relax animals in the same way it relaxes humans. If she is still nervous, try some interactive play or let her enjoy some YouTube videos of fish and birds. These can prove very distracting.
Normal Diet, Normal Routine: As much as possible, try to keep Kitty on her normal schedule since this is what gives her control of her environment; nothing out of the ordinary and no barbecue or food treats that could hurt her delicate digestive system. Keep human foods and beverages out of feline reach, and make sure your guests know not to offer any such dietary enticements.
No Calming Medications: Unless prescribed by your veterinarian, do not administer calming meds. You don’t know how Kitty might react, and July 4th is certainly not the time you want to deal with unknown side effects.
Bottom Line: Have a great holiday, but make sure Kitty is protected from potential dangers, both inside and out. If you have company, provide a cat retreat where she can escape the commotion and feel secure and safe in her own world.
For further information, please go to: