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Having a (Not So) Blast on the Fourth of July: Dr. Lauren’s Tips

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Hi, I’m Dr. Lauren! Read my introduction to learn more about me and my two adventurous cats, Pancake and Tiller.

When the 4th of July holiday rolls around, it’s a good time to remember that not all of us enjoy these celebrations that include loud noises and aerial explosions. In recent years, as various municipalities attempt to schedule 4th of July celebrations on appropriate weekend evenings, it is more common that fireworks now span two, three or even four weeks. Which means what was once one day of unexpected fireworks, now becomes many.

Therefore, it’s important to remember that our cats are not immune to the effects of fireworks, and what you can do as a cat owner to help your furry family.

Pancake will sleep through pretty much anything. In fact, I’m pretty sure she once slept through a local power transformer that exploded, sounding a bit like a bomb had gone off in the backyard. Tiller, on the other hand, runs off the second anything seems amiss.

For instance, we bought a new tennis racket the other day, and Tiller still won’t go near the closet where it is kept. Why? I have absolutely no idea. And if you get the racket out of the closet, you won’t see her for at least an hour. She’s been with me pretty much since the day she was found under a bush with a bad eye, she’s never had any run-ins with tennis or rackets or any other odd inanimate objects, but there you go. And fireworks are even worse- one bang, and she’s hiding for the rest of the night.

Pancake under the blankets
Pancake doesn’t hide as much as Tiller does, but she can still sometimes be found under the blankets.

Cat Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

So, what steps can you take to help keep your cats safe on the 4th? There are a number of easy options:

  • Keep cats indoors during times of fireworks or other outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your cat is microchipped, and that the information is up to date
  • Consider using feline pheromone diffusers that can help enforce calm and reassurance in a cat’s environment. Try to plug the diffusers in for a few days prior to the festivities, for best effect
  • Close windows and doors, if possible, to help block outside noise. If they are left open, ensure screens are in place, to prevent your cat from accidentally escaping
  • Play white noise, or similar masking sounds, to help diminish background noise
  • If your cat is extra nervous, speak with your vet and see if any medical therapies might be useful, such as a medication to calm or sedate your cat for a few hours around the festivities
  • Give your cat a space to feel secure in the house- maybe a nice box with some blankets and toys, or their bed placed into a closet where they might want to hide. Also shut off access to parts of the house they don’t use, so that you can monitor their whereabouts, occasionally, and won’t have to tear apart the house to find them
  • If there are specific things that give your cat comfort- a stuffed toy, a certain shirt from their favorite human, a blanket fort in the laundry closet that you’re always trying to keep them out of, try to find a way to provide that little bit extra on these stressful days

As we recognize more and more the impact that celebrations such as the 4th of July can have on native animals, as well as our own beloved pets, hopefully the future will still be bright but also a little bit less noisy! In the meantime, some simple steps above can help to keep things a bit calmer for our feline friends.

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