Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Daily FeatureFridayhealth and safety

Cats and New Year Fireworks

I see you!
I see you!

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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Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

2 thoughts on “Cats and New Year Fireworks

  • Happy ‘Mew’ Year!
    Dang fireworks; too warlike for me, and obviously, for a lot of other humans and animals.

    • I think a good fireworks display is pretty–from a distance. Close up the intentional noise is far too traumatizing! I have one neighbor two streets over who shoots off a professional-looking display that lasts about a minute, which seems like a long time, but then it’s over. Great. Another neighbor one street over makes it like water torture, goes out and shoots one off every so often for hours.


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