Mimi, already uneasy at the cracks and booms from outside, started at the moving lights outside in the darkness through the trees. Then she heard the noise, jumped up and took a step—then stopped, and I could see in her face the connection between the sight and sound. She sat back down, but continued to look intently out the door. I turned and saw Dickie sitting very tall on the table looking just as intently.
Then Mewsette and Mr. Sunshine came upstairs running nearly flat on the floor, but stopped at the sight of the fireworks. They, too, made the connection.
My community hosted its 4th of July celebration today, July 3, as it usually hosts holiday gatherings on an alternate day, giving residents a chance to visit with others on the actual day. My neighbors have been shooting off their own display all day. Aside from the older ones who can’t hear as well, everyone’s been growing more frantic as the day has continued.
Some noises are just plain frightening, but sometimes cats can be calmed at loud noises if they can see the source. I moved to a rented house years ago and discovered a train ran past on unseen tracks below the back yard several times a day. My Kublai was in terror every time as he was with thunderstorms, but once I took him to the window, then outside, to see what was making the noise, he never paid attention again. I even managed to get used to it.
So at least for the fireworks we could see, everybody relaxed, and now they know what that noise is about. The sharper, closer noises are still a bit of a problem. I never really calmed Kublai about the thunderstorms, and Mimi is frightened of them too, usually vaporizing at the first distant rumble (how terrifying it must have been when she was an outdoor kitty). I can’t show them where the thunder comes from, but perhaps Mimi will gain confidence now that she had conquered one noise.
But indoor kitty or out, or dog or cat or bunny or bird, be prepared for your pet reacting to the noises and other events of the 4th of July, possibly one of the loudest holidays while doors and windows are open. A sudden loud noise can be startling, and a startled pet will often look for protection by trying to hide or running as far and as fast as it can from the source of the noise, often running away or into more danger if outdoors, or injuring itself in its haste indoors.
In addition to loud unexpected noises, also consider the dangers of hot grills, alcoholic drinks, citronella candles and other parts of the holiday we take for granted but which may put your pet in the path of danger.
Here are two articles to give you a checklist of things to look for and things to do to keep your pet safe this Independence Day.
Fourth of July Tips from the ASPCA is a comprehensive list of all the material dangers your pet can encounter on a picnic or cookout or even in the house.
Keep Kitty Safe on July 4th by Pam Johnson Bennett, CABC, on Cat Behavior Associates, LLC is very cat -specific, giving tips on how to keep kitty safe, indoors, and even confined if necessary.
Have a great holiday!