It’s common knowledge that dogs can become stressed during fireworks displays due to the abrupt banging noises. There’s lots of great advice out there for owners to help them keep their dogs calm during the festivities and make sure their emotional needs are met. What many people don’t realise is fireworks and bonfires can also be a source of stress and danger for cats too.
Cats see the world as a giant playground, and cats who roam outdoors treat the landscape as a big jungle gym. In the days leading up to Bonfire Night this will include any wood piles being assembled for the night. As these structures aren’t really built to be jumped on, there is a danger of cats becoming trapped in them. Always check your bonfire for any cats before lighting. In fact, check thoroughly in case any birds or hedgehogs have made a home in the pile.
The noise and bright lights can induce disorientation and anxiety in cats just like they can in dogs, and when cats have the freedom to roam this can cause them to run a long way from home. While cats can generally navigate very well, bolting in fear can cause them to lose their bearings. Where possible, keep all of your pets indoors and make sure all doors, windows and cat flaps are secured. To keep them calm give them plenty of food and consider turning the heating up just a notch to make them cosy and sleepy. If you’re worried about anxiety, consider a pheromone plug-in diffuser.
Make sure you give your cat plenty of distractions while they’re stuck indoors to try and minimise any destructive behaviours. Toys, treats, attention and background music can all help to keep them level. Where possible pets shouldn’t be left home alone if there are fireworks and bonfires going on nearby.