July 4th is the quintessential American holiday.
It is a day that many families gather together for barbecue and fireworks. But Independence Day can be a very traumatic day for the family cat. Firework explosions, bottle rockets, sparklers, and people parties can be pretty frightening to a feline.
More pets go missing around the 4th of July than any other time of year, and the noisy fireworks are to blame. According to the national statistics, animal control officials across the country see a 30% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and 6th. In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters.
So, how can you celebrate July 4th yet also have a safe holiday for the feline family members?
Safety Tips For Kitty
Here are some simple tips on how to keep your cat safe on July 4th:
- Keep Kitty Inside: If your cat is normally an indoor-outdoor cat, keep it indoors for July 4th. Don't let your cat become a statistic, and forever ruin your enjoyment of the holiday.
- Prepare A Sanctuary: A frightened cat will seek shelter. It will help your kitty if you prepare a sanctuary before the fireworks begin — perhaps a bed inside a closet in an interior room. Rub a towel or small blanket with the kitty's scent and put it in the bed. Show the kitty where the prepared bed is so it will know where to find its "safe place."
- Drown Out The Noise Of Fireworks: Try to drown out the fireworks sounds as much as possible by closing all the windows and playing loud music or turning on the TV.
- Provide Reassurance: Comfort your cats with petting, hugging, talking to them in a soothing voice, providing a treat and staying nearby if possible. Make sure they can access their “safe place.”
- Act Normally: Your cat takes cues from your and your family's actions. It will help if you go about your normal routine as much as possible, talking and playing with your cat as usual.
- Tranquilizers: If your favorite feline is normally the skittish type, you might want to ask your veterinarian about a mild sedative or tranquilizer, just to get the cat through the day. If you're not fond of drugs for cats, there are some herbal products that have a calming effect. Rescue Remedy, available at health food stores, is recommended for shock, both physical and emotional. It is a mixture of several Bach Flower Remedies: impatiens, star of Bethlehem, cherry plum, rock rose, and clematis.
Having a Party?
If you are having a big family gathering in your home, it's best if you keep your cat or cats locked in a room during the festivities. Of course, provide food, water, and a litter box. Turn on a television or radio to drown out the sound of the partying.
After the fireworks, be sure to check on the cat and reassure it that all is well.
Happy Independence Day, and I hope it will be a safe and sane one for both you and your cats.