12 Nov, 2021
8 minutes

Cats and Fireworks: How to Help Your Pets

Around Fireworks Night, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and New Year’s Eve, cautionary stories about the negative effects of fireworks on dogs begin to surface, but we shouldn’t forget cats either. Cats can be just as affected by fireworks, if not more so.

While both dogs and cats have much more advanced hearing capabilities than humans, cats are capable of hearing a whole octave higher than dogs and use 33 muscles to control their ears, while dogs use only 18.

Cats rely on their acute sense of hearing to be ambush predators, but this presents a challenge with fireworks that can be extremely loud. If you have a cat scared of fireworks here are some ways to help them get through firework season.

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Low Noise Fireworks

Low noise fireworks are a great option if you’re holding a firework display in your garden and you’re worried about your cats’ fireworks reactions. While normal fireworks can reach volumes of 120 decibels, low noise fireworks can produce as little as 70 decibels. Various techniques are used to manufacture fireworks that produce lower, softer ‘bangs’.

Neon Nites, a 100 shot fireworks cake that only needs to be lit once to produce a whole display. These shots are considerably quieter than normal fireworks and produce a muffled ‘bang’ when they explode in the sky.

Twister Wheel is a massive Catherine wheel firework that packs a punch with five motors that produce red, green, and silver swirling effects, all mounted on a ball bearing.

We cover exactly what to expect from low noise fireworks in our blog, including how they are made to be quieter than other fireworks.

Tips for Cat Owners

1. Keep Your Cat Inside

It’s important to keep your cat indoors during a firework display. Allowing them to prowl the night could lead them to bolt if they are spooked by a firework and end up in a dangerous situation. They might head for a road or even get completely lost trying to escape from the noise. Make sure they have access to a litter tray, food, and water.

2. Do Not Confine Them

While keeping your cat indoors is best, don’t confine them to one room. While this might sound like a good idea if you want them to stay safe, they may feel just as stressed if they can’t roam the house. Being able to check their territory will help them to feel in control and they might want to go to a particular safe spot, which leads us to...

3. Create a Safe Space

Cats like to hide away when they feel stressed. Create a cosy space in an area where your cat likes to spend time. A cardboard box is ideal, lined with a blanket. Cat’s often feel safe when they are elevated, so you could put the box on a shelf or wardrobe.

4. Cover Windows

Covering your windows will help to muffle the sound of fireworks and it might help to ease your cat’s panic if they can’t see bright flashes accompanied by loud bangs.

5. Distract with Music

Cats are frightened by the volume of fireworks, but it’s also the sudden nature of each bang and crack that scares them. A good way to combat this is to put the television or radio on a reasonably high volume. This will create a sort of ‘white noise’ that will help to blend the firework bangs together. Your cat might not even notice them and will be familiar with the sound of the TV or radio even if it is louder than usual.

6. Update Your Microchip

While your cat is indoors there’s always the possibility they could get outside, or perhaps they’ve not come home during an impromptu neighbouring firework display you weren’t expecting. Keeping their microchip up to date is important as a general rule, but double-checking all of your most recent contact information is on it before a firework display is an important safety step.

7. Escape-Proof Your House

As we say above, you never know how your cat might try to escape. Cats are extremely nimble and will try their best to find an escape route if they want to. They can fit into very small spaces and will climb high to find a way out. Double-check all windows and doors are properly shut before the fireworks commence.

8. Distract with Treats

New toys, treats, or catnip—you know your cat best. Letting them enjoy a new treat might be just the thing to help take their mind off the fireworks. This also gives you the chance to play with them, something that might soothe them and you as you keep an eye on their stress levels.

9. Use a Pheromone Plug-In

Pheromone plug-ins are designed to emit a blend of chemicals that imitate pheromones to soothe stress and anxiety in cats. A pheromone plug-in may help your cat through a firework display. Pheromone diffusers are natural and not harmful to cats at all.

10. Interact with Your Cat

It’s important to take cues from your cat on this one, but interacting with them could be beneficial to calm their stress. Cuddling or petting your cat may remind them that you’re there, and acting normal and happy in spite of the sound of fireworks will show them there isn’t anything to worry about. If you want to try this, it’s best to wait for your cat to come to you.

How to Tell if Your Cat is Frightened by Fireworks

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As a cat owner, you’ll know your cat’s habits and personality well, so it’s likely you’ll be able to sense a change in their mood if they are affected by fireworks. Here are some other signals to watch out for:

  • Running around, pacing, or circling.
  • Changes in eating and drinking habits.
  • Hiding.
  • Changes in toilet habits (although, prolonged, severe diarrhoea is a sign to take your cat to the vet).
  • Being more or less vocal than usual.
  • Being aggressive.

You might have noticed your cat becoming distressed by storms in the past, this is a good indicator that they might be distressed by fireworks. Similarly, if your cat is a rescue cat, there’s often no way of knowing what their life was like before they joined your family, so they might be especially distressed by loud noises.

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