Last Updated on: October 5, 2020
Fireworks at any time of year have the potential to scare our cats. The loud noises and bright lights can cause them to startle and become stressed. This can make any holidays where fireworks are popular also stressful for us cat owners. It’s horrible to see our beloved pets stressed and unhappy when the fireworks start to go off.
Luckily, there are plenty of things that you can do to help reduce your cat’s anxiety and keep them calm. Some require a little planning, but others are easy to accomplish on the night itself. We’ve put together a list of 16 proven ways that you can help your cat get through those fireworks nights with minimal stress.
1. Create a safe space
Fireworks can be a scary experience for cats, so making them a safe and secure nest where they can hide will help them feel more secure. If your cat usually has an open bed, creating them a covered place is a good idea. Using a covered cat bed or even an old cardboard box in a pinch can help your cat feel calmer. If your cat likes to sleep up high, find a wide shelf to place their bed on.
2. Play background music
Leaving the radio or TV on can provide background noise to cover the sound of any fireworks from outside. Stream your favorite music, or you can even find playlists of cat calming music on YouTube!
3. Use a plug-in diffuser
Diffusers like Feliway release cat-calming pheromones into the air in your house. Your cat can smell them but you can’t! These pheromones help reassure and comfort your cat when they’re feeling stressed. Ideally, you want to start using a diffuser at least two weeks before any firework displays, so your cat can get the maximum effect. Place the diffuser where your cat spends the most time.
4. Use a calming collar
Using the same theory as a plug-in diffuser, calming collars also contain pheromones designed to calm and reassure your cat. If you have a larger house, then a collar can be a better choice because the pheromones will always be with your cat. Most collars work for around 30 days, but again, you should start using them around two weeks before you think that you’ll need them, for the greatest effect.
5. Don’t leave your cat home alone
It can be tempting to head out to enjoy those fireworks displays yourself, but if your cat gets extremely stressed and nervous as soon as the fireworks start, then they can benefit from knowing that someone is home with them. If you aren’t able to stay home, then make sure you’ve left your cat with things like a covered bed, music, and a pheromone diffuser.
6. Keep your drapes shut
It’s not just the sounds of fireworks that can be upsetting for cats, but the flashes of light can be unsettling as well. Keeping your drapes shut to avoid any light coming into your house will minimize the amount of stimulation that your cat receives and will help them feel safer.
7. Don’t restrict your cat’s access
It might seem logical to keep your cat in one room during a fireworks display, but if this isn’t how you would normally react, then you might find that this will only stress out your cat even more. Try to allow your cat to access all parts of the house that they normally would, and they’ll find the space where they feel safest.
8. Don’t fuss your cat
It might seem tempting to pick your cat up and cuddle them while they’re stressed, but this usually doesn’t help. Some cats will feel more on edge if you’re constantly fussing over them, so leave it up to your cat as to how much contact they want. If they come and sit on your lap, though, you might be stuck there all night!
9. Buy your cat a new toy
If your playful cat loves toys, then this is the perfect time to break out a new toy for them to have fun with. Distracting your cat by giving them an exciting new toy can be a great way to keep them engaged with what’s going on inside rather than worrying about what’s going on outside.
10. Treat them to catnip
Whether your cat loves catnip or has never tried it before, this is the perfect time to break out the catnip and give them a welcome distraction from the noise and light outside. From dried catnip to chewable catnip sticks, catnip toys, and even catnip bubbles, the choices are endless! Some cats don’t react to catnip, so if yours falls into this category, this tip sadly won’t work for them.
11. Buy tasty new cat treats
If your cat doesn’t normally get treats or you have a particular brand that you always buy, try something new and find the tastiest treats you can. Most cats love freeze-dried treats, as these have loads of flavor and a meaty texture. Whether your cat prefers fish, chicken, rabbit, or any other meat, there are plenty of different options out there to choose from.
12. Try a calming herbal remedy
Some cats respond well to herbal remedies designed to help them feel calm in stressful situations. Animal Essentials Tranquility Blend Herbal Formula contains valerian root, passionflower, and other extracts to help your cat feel less anxious. Rescue Remedy is another well-known supplement that uses a homeopathic blend of flowers and can be added to your cat’s water bowl.
13. Use a ThunderShirt
You might have heard of these for dogs, but they’re also available for cats. ThunderShirts apply a constant, gentle pressure that helps your cat feel calm. The brand states that ThunderShirts help over 80% of cats and that they’re also recommended by veterinarians. You might want to try this on your cat before you need it, so they can get used to wearing it.
14. Check any escape routes
Even if your cat doesn’t normally try to leave the house, it’s a good idea to double-check any windows and doors that they could escape from. A stressed-out cat may go into flight mode and squeeze through a gap that you wouldn’t think that they could fit through. Make sure everywhere is secure so if your cat does go into hiding, you know that they’re still in the house somewhere.
15. Keep your outdoor cat indoors
If your cat is usually allowed to roam outdoors at night time, then it’s a good idea to keep them indoors when you’re expecting firework displays in your neighborhood. Even if your cat is usually confident, they can become startled by fireworks and bolt. Trying to track down your lost cat can be stressful, so it’s much easier to just keep them inside.
16. Talk to your veterinarian
If all else fails and no matter what combination of tips and tricks you try, your cat is still stressed out, it’s probably time to call in the professionals. They might be able to help you find a behaviorist who can work with you to reduce your cat’s stress and anxiety around fireworks. They can work on desensitizing your cat to the sound and sight of fireworks, although this can take time.
Featured Image Credit By: CC0 Public Domain, pxhere
Roland has been an animal lover all his life, with cats holding a special place in his heart. He is owned by three felines: Wheely, KitzKitz, and Nugget (all rescues) who bring all the laughter and mischievousness one can expect from the feline master race. As the creator of ExcitedCats, his mission is to assist in the search for the best gear to help improve the health and wellbeing of cats everywhere.
- 1. Create a safe space
- 2. Play background music
- 3. Use a plug-in diffuser
- 4. Use a calming collar
- 5. Don’t leave your cat home alone
- 6. Keep your drapes shut
- 7. Don’t restrict your cat’s access
- 8. Don’t fuss your cat
- 9. Buy your cat a new toy
- 10. Treat them to catnip
- 11. Buy tasty new cat treats
- 12. Try a calming herbal remedy
- 13. Use a ThunderShirt
- 14. Check any escape routes
- 15. Keep your outdoor cat indoors
- 16. Talk to your veterinarian