Keeping Your Cat Safe on the 4th of July
Category: Cat Behavior
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It’s that time of year again when many Americans celebrate our country’s birthday with picnics, pool parties, and of course fireworks! It’s an exciting time for most, but for many animals (and some humans), fireworks can be a huge source of anxiety. Cats are particularly affected by the loud booming noises and explosions. Here are some ways to keep your cat safe and comfortable, as well as warning signs that the holiday celebrations might be too much for them.
Create a “safe space” for your cat
Most cats have their favorite spots picked out already, but if not, now is the time to start setting up a safe space before the fireworks begin. You can make this space comfortable and inviting by including blankets, favorite chairs (consider moving chairs from other rooms if necessary), scratching pads, and preferred toys to keep them distracted from the explosions in the sky. If you won’t be home, consider leaving out a shirt or other clothing item you recently wore, so your kitty will be able to smell you. You can also play some white noise or soothing music to drown out the fireworks. There are many free white noise apps to choose from, or you can opt for soothing music, such as Enya or classical tunes.
Get your kitty microchipped, and make sure your registration info is up to date
If your kitty is not already microchipped, consider doing that now! You can take all the necessary precautions (such as closing windows) to keep your cat indoors, but the Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters in terms of intake due to pets escaping. You want your kitty to be identifiable so that you can be reunited as quickly and easily as possible. Please make sure that the information, including your address and phone number, are up to date so that the shelter can contact you if your kitty manages to break free.
Cats are very in tune with their owner’s emotional state. They can sense when we are anxious, happy or sad, for example, sometimes before we even realize it ourselves! Your kitty probably looks to you as a source of comfort, and staying calm reinforces that there is no danger. If you plan to have company over, try to maintain a more relaxed environment, rather than a loud and boisterous party.
Talk to your vet about your kitty’s anxiety before the Fourth
We recommend consulting with your vet before the Fourth if you have a particularly nervous cat. Your vet may choose to prescribe some mild sedatives, or perhaps they will recommend a more natural remedy like feline CBD or chamomile. Some owners report great results by using anxiety-reducing ThunderShirt Vests. Even if you choose not to use the medication or other calming aids, it might provide some peace of mind to have it on hand in case you need it. We recommend trying these items before the Fourth to see how your kitty will react, but of course, always consult with your veterinarian first.
Stick to your cat’s normal routine
Cats are creatures of habit, and it’s important to keep their routines consistent to minimize stress. Don’t make any changes to your kitty’s routine around the holiday. Do your best to stick to their usual meal schedule, don’t introduce new foods (especially human foods from Fourth of July parties!), and don’t take your cat anywhere out of the ordinary.
Behaviors to look out for
Common signs of anxiety in cats include hiding, trying to escape, trembling, diarrhea, failure to use the litter box, and overgrooming.
If your cat shows any signs of ear discomfort, such as scratching at or rubbing his ears, or you notice any redness or discharge around your kitty’s ears, please schedule a visit with your veterinarian. These symptoms could be signs of a ruptured eardrum or other hearing/ear related issues. Other signs to look for include loss of balance, stumbling, change of gait or eating patterns, and shaking of the head.
Book a Meowtel cat sitter if you’ll be away!
America (and the rest of the world) is returning back to “normal” after the 2020-2021 COVID shutdowns, so this might be your first time away on the Fourth of July in awhile. If that’s the case, consider reserving a Meowtel cat sitter to check in with your kitty. You can choose from drop-in and overnight visits. Your Meowtel cat sitter will be able to provide you with updates and photos, as well as keep your cat relaxed with their company while you’re away.
You know your cat better than anyone else, and you know the specific soothing techniques that work best for your furbaby. Each cat is different, so please don’t feel paranoid if you notice that your cat is acting out of the ordinary. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be on high alert for signs that your cat may be stressed around the Fourth of July and take extra precautions so they can enjoy the day, too.