It’s the 4th of July, which means picnics, barbeques, and celebrating with friends and family. It also means fireworks, both large and small. Here in Illinois, most fireworks are illegal without a permit, but with fireworks legal in both Wisconsin and Indiana, it’s difficult to keep them out of Chicagoland. Whether they’re legal or not, people like to fire them off. Add that to the louder, bigger fireworks in local shows, and you actually start running into a problem with pets. Fireworks scare cats, and the 4th of July is one of the worst times of year for lost cats.
A lot of pets get lost on July 4th, because of fireworks
An article on My News LA says that the 4th of July is typically the busiest time of year for animal control officers. While they’re speaking specifically of Los Angeles County, it’s a good bet that this is true everywhere. Fireworks scare cats and dogs, especially if they’re outside. Even if they’re tethered, they can either break loose or injure themselves trying to get away.
According to Petplace, a full-blown phobia of these sounds isn’t all that common in cats, the way it can be in dogs. The fact that loud sounds like that make cats run and hide could be why, however, it doesn’t mean they’ll be safe during this holiday. Fireworks scare cats, of all types, to some degree. Some just get a little nervous, while others will disappear under the bed, into a cupboard, or anywhere else that feels safe.
Imagine, though, that your cat is outdoors when the fireworks start going off. Here’s what happens then: Cats that are outdoors hear the loud booms (that, let’s face it, can sound like a cannon going off), and they run off in search of sufficient cover, the way they would if they were inside. If they can’t find it in your yard, they’ll go somewhere else. When fireworks scare cats, they’ll go anywhere to find relative safety.
What does this kind of fear look like? Petplace says that anti-social behavior, wide eyes with large pupils, and hiding all indicate a fear of loud sounds. This isn’t limited just to fireworks; you might also see this during thunderstorms, and other loud events.
Very rarely, you’ll see more severe behavior, like puffed out fur, hissing, and their bodies are hunkered down and very tense. If you see this, it’s best to leave your cat alone, because he might attack you if you scare him worse.
How to help when fireworks scare cats
The best way to protect your cat is to keep him inside today. Even if he has a collar with an ID tag, and a microchip (both of which are good to have if your cat goes outside anyway), you could lose him because of the fireworks. Inside, the sounds are more muffled, and he’s got safe places to hide.
When fireworks scare cats, the best thing to do is just let them be. Frightened cats are very defensive, and you risk injury if you try to pick up your cat, or pet him, or pull him out of his hidey-hole. Remember, he’s where he feels safest for the time being.
Now that you know fireworks scare cats, remember that the best way to keep him safe is to keep him inside during tonight’s celebrations. You’re less likely to lose him, and he might be calmer throughout the evening.