Coping with Fear of Fireworks - Cats

It’s important to keep pets indoors on Bonfire Night. However, if this is a change to your cat’s routine it can lead to increased feelings of stress. Coupled with the fear of the noise of the fireworks, this can be a very anxious time for our cats. Head vet Ian Hemsley offers some sound advice to help your cats feel calm and secure this firework season.

Watch the video for advice on how to make it less stressful for your cat

 


UP TO 2 WEEKS BEFORE BONFIRE NIGHT


Use a Feliway Diffuser
Feliway is a replication of the pheromone that cats leave naturally when they are feeling comfortable in their environment. Plugging in a Feliway diffuser gives your cat a feeling of peace and calm and helps them cope with stressful situations.

This is especially helpful if your cat is not accustomed to being kept inside or if you have more than one cat as cats need their own space.

Start using Feliway a week or two before Bonfire Night.

Spot the Signs

If your cat has any of these reactions to loud noises they may need help to cope with their fear of fireworks

  • Cowering
  • Hiding behind or on top of furniture
  • Vertical scratching
  • Spraying
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Refusing to eat

ONCE THE FIREWORKS START

Allow your cat to hide
Allow your cat to hide somewhere they feel safe. This may be behind, under or on top of furniture as cats often feel safer high up. Don’t try to coax them out of their hiding place as this will increase their feelings of anxiety.

Easy access to litter trays
Make sure have a litter tray, easy to overlook if not in the habit of keeping your cat indoors. Make sure it is well away from feeding bowl as this can lead to feelings of stress in cats.


Secure the cat flap and windows
Frightened pets can run and try to escape. If you haven’t already had your cat microchipped now is a good time to consider it.

Provide distractions
Draw the curtains, put on the TV or play music to help mask the sound of the fireworks. Make sure that your Feliway diffuser is plugged in.

Don’t fuss over them
It’s very tempting to cuddle and fuss over a frightened cat but this will only reinforce their fear. Try to ignore their fearful behaviour and act as if nothing is wrong.

Don’t punish your cat
Remember that this fearful behaviour is beyond your cat’s control and punishing him will make it worse.

If you have any concerns please contact any of our vets or nurses for free advice.


Last Minute Advice
It is recommended to start using Feliway around two weeks before Bonfire Night so that your cat is most relaxed. But don’t worry if you don’t manage to start using it this soon. Even using it just a couple of days in advance will help your cat to feel calm and happy.

Not just for Bonfire Night!
Feliway is not only effective in helping cats cope with the anxiety caused by fireworks. I also recommend it for helping your cats cope with a variety of stressful situations such as:

  • Multi cat households
  • Moving house
  • Removing the stress of ‘home alone’
  • Traveling
  • Catteries
  • Visiting the vet

Always read the instructions.