Even if it’s winter and all the doors and windows are closed, New Year fireworks are still frightening to cats. If your neighbors are fans of blowing things up and making loud noises around midnight on New Year’s Eve, or before, or after, or all three options, please take precautions and give your cat a safe place protected from the noise and even the flashing lights. Their hearing is much better than ours and they’ll hear it far better than we do even indoors.
A real-life example
You may remember the three kittens who were trapped back in May 2021 and brought inside to foster for adoption. Several of their caretaker’s neighbors had a fondness for fireworks any old time, but at New Year they went off and on for hours. The next morning, the black kitten was missing, and the door to the electrical access box was open though it was high up on the wall. He had always been terrified of their fireworks. The room had originally been a garage but was remodeled into a basement den, and the interior walls had a crawl space between the plaster and the concrete block, and that’s where he was. He could get out, but he was so traumatized he spent all his time in the walls, only coming out to eat and use the litterbox, and lost most of his socialization.
For two months he came out twice a day to eat with his sisters. We tried everything to either confine him or keep him from jumping back into the access, but he eluded every effort and went without eating when a trap was in the room. Eventually his caretaker managed to close and lock the electrical access door before he got back to it, and then he hid in the rafters in the basement for another two months.
A week or two into that we began prescribed medications in his food to get him to come out and eventually did trap him and have him neutered, then he was adopted by someone who has other cats similar to him. He’s doing really well, actually pretty friendly after all that. But it was five frightening months for him and terrifying for his caretaker who thought he’d crawl in somewhere and not be able to get out.
Things you can do to prepare now:
- Keep your cat inside around the new year.
- Block off unsafe areas inside where a cat might hide—like that electrical access or the rafters in the basement, or the attic.
- Create safe hiding spots, but don’t confine your cat—they feel more control if they can move around at will.
- Use naturopathic calming measures, like pheromones, aromatherapy, flower essences and calming treats and supplements.
- Play in any way they’ll go along with it.
You can take other measures as well, like conditioning and prescription medications. That will take some planning ahead, but if your cat is as terrified of fireworks as Bean was, it’s well worth the effort.
Some reading on the subject:
This article on PetMD gives a comprehensive list of ways to keep a cat safe during fireworks: Cats and Fireworks.
Read more articles about Health and Safety.
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Great Rescues Day Book:
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Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
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