Help Lanarkshire cats keep calm and carry on this firework season
September 7, 2022
Cat owners across Lanarkshire are probably shuddering at the thought of another season of fireworks and trying to calm their petrified cat. The problem with fireworks and other sudden noises is that they put cats into ‘fight or flight’ mode. More often than not this means they bolt off, increasing their chances of getting lost or injured.
Unfortunately, fireworks are not just limited to the weekends around Guy Fawkes Night (November 5th) anymore. Vet Nicola Armstrong has some seasonal advice for cat owners on how to help their pets cope with the now year-round risks posed by loud and sudden noises.
If none of the ‘natural’ measures recommended below do the trick, you should talk to us about other options like pheromone sprays and diffusers for cats. These remedies can help even the most nervous cats if you start using them in advance.
Helping your cat cope
Follow Nicola’s advice below to maximise the chances of your cat getting through a sudden noise scare relatively unscathed.
Two actions to help cats with noise phobias year-round
1. Microchip and tag
Nicola always recommends that cats are microchipped. This makes it much easier for you to be reunited if the noise has caused them to run off to un-familiar surroundings. Wearing an identity tag as well would be ideal, but at the very least get them microchipped – Contact us to arrange this.
2. Create a safe haven
A natural reaction when any animal is scared is for them to retreat to their ‘den’. You should provide safe, comfortable, and quiet spaces for your cat in various parts of your home.
Six things to do when you know it’s going to be noisy
1. Encourage earlier meal times
Before it starts to get dark earlier around the middle of October, Nicola recommends making your cat’s mealtimes earlier. This should get them into the routine of coming back into the house before it’s dark and the noises start.
2. Keep your cat indoors when it’s dark & noisy
When you know it’s going to be noisy, keeping your cat indoors at night reduces the risk of them getting injured if they bolt – remember to secure cat flaps and shut windows. Restrictions like this can be stressful for cats so you should let them back out to roam when it’s safe.
3. Turn the sound up and close the curtains
Turning the volume up on the TV or radio (not so much that it scares your cat further) will drown out some of the outside noise. Shutting the curtains will dampen the noise and hide the bright flashes.
4. Don’t try to coax your cat out of hiding
If your cat has been spooked by the noise and is hiding, leave them be. A searching hand will not be welcome and it’s better to let cats ‘sit it out’ in a place where they feel safe.
5. Give them a treat
A stuffed chew-toy or a puzzle-ball can keep cats occupied for hours. Any novel stimulation can help take their mind off noise, which can significantly reduce stress. A catnip toy or treat may help too.
6. Be there
If you can, stay home with your cat during a noisy event. Your cat might not want to sit on your lap, but knowing you are in the house may help to pacify them.
If all else fails – consider cat pheromones
Pheromone diffusers can be used to help calm even the most stressed cat when things get really bad. Diffusers can take a couple of weeks to take effect so it’s important to start using them in advance of known noisy periods, or as soon as you notice your cat becoming anxious.
If the natural steps listed above don’t quite do the trick, contact our Woodside Avenue practice on 0141 643 0404 to discuss your cat’s individual needs.