How To Get Your Cat Ready For Fireworks Night

The socialisation period in kittens starts early, between 2 to seven weeks. So the breeder should have done most of the work by the time the kittens leave for their new 5-star home. However, your kitten might have never experienced the horrid roaring and whistling of a fireworks night. Fireworks nights can be particularly upsetting for kittens as cats associate loud noises with danger and could get stressed and fearful during their inaugural experience. This sense of danger can potentially cause them to rocket for safety, but in their panic, it could be in any direction such as your imperial porcelain or Qing Dynasty vase. Furthermore, scared cats can also run away from home and be hit by cars as they try to run from the noise. Also depending on the area, there will be fewer people outside in the evening hours, making it harder to spot a stray cat in need of assistance.

Bonfire Night, however, does not have to be the most dreaded time of the year for your cat. Below you will find some useful tips on how to build your kitten’s resistance to fireworks and hopefully, with some patience, your cat will even enjoy sitting in a window watching the fireworks display with you.

What To Do Before Fireworks Night

Pay attention to key dates

During the firework season, fireworks will be on sale from mid-October, with peak activity in the last week of October (Halloween) and the first week of November (Bonfire Night).

Microchip your cat

Perhaps, the most important precaution you can take is to have your cat microchipped so that, in the event that a door is left open and your cat escapes, you have a better chance of being reunited. It is also worth mentioning that reputable breeders will never allow their kittens to leave without having them microchipped.

Get them firework trained

British Shorthairs are usually calm and easy-going, so they have the ability to deal with life, including noises, rather well. That gives the breed a head start. To train your cat, however, I do recommend our How To Get Your Cat Ready For Fireworks Night video for firework recordings, to be played at low volume at a level kittens can cope with initially, increasing the volume slowly as you go. Don’t forget you can also set your video on loop on YouTube and please don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.

Stay with the kittens as you play the video, play with them and engage in some enjoyable feeding activities. British Shorthairs love anything that includes their stomach. Keep an eye out for any symptoms of anxiety (staring, stopping playing, ears alert). Don’t wait until they start to lose control; indicators may include cowering, hiding, or scrambling to get to higher ground. You must work at the level of the most worried kitten because each one will respond differently. Watch out for warning signs of fright because cats may be fairly subtle in their signalling. You might notice that play or eating stops, they stare, their ears or whiskers may start to flatten, the hair may stick up, the cat may crouch low, move in slow motion or perch up high. The tail may flick rather than remaining loose and the pupils may dilate.

Protect mum and kittens

Put the mother and kittens away from windows in the safest (and quietest) part of the house if you have a birthing female that is sensitive to noise. Close any curtains or blinds. Make sure there is still enough airflow and put them in a box that is soundproofed with a duvet. Put on some music or a white noise machine, use a pheromone plug-in, and divert their attention with a high-value activity like playing or eating something tasty. Also, please note that cortisol, produced by stress, can predispose kittens to anxiety when they are born and if the kittens witness the mother demonstrating a stress reaction they will pick that up. Lactation may also reduce because of stress.

What To Do During Fireworks Night

Keep your cat indoors

At this time of year, keeping your cat indoors after dusk with the curtains drawn and the TV on is the best course of action. It’s also worth keeping a litter tray indoors even if you don’t normally do so. Remember to keep the windows shut and the cat flap locked!

Keep in mind that during the firework season, fireworks might end up in the hands of children who treat them like toys, and set them off at any time of day, with no consideration for safety. It would be better to keep your cat inside if you live in a neighbourhood where large groups of kids congregate to play in the streets. Better to be safe than sorry.

Let your cat hide

During fireworks, don’t be surprised if your cat still decides to hide out in a dark place where he feels secure. Avoid bribing or removing him from this safe haven because doing so will just make him feel more anxious. He will come out when the noises are over. When the commotion has subsided we might assume there aren’t any fireworks going on but cats can hear much better than we can and they can still hear them further away. So wait for him to come out on his own. Make sure there will be food and water available when he emerges if he stays concealed for a prolonged period of time. If your cat doesn’t hide, the furball might need additional comfort and cuddles. If your cat exhibits indications of fear, try not to overreact as this could make them worse. Keep your cool and act normally.

What To Do After Fireworks Night

Check for debris

Check your garden carefully for firework debris before allowing your cat out in the morning or unlocking the cat flap. Many fireworks rely on heavy metals for their colour effects, which can be dangerous if your cat licks them. Fireworks can stay hot enough to burn a cat’s mouth for a very long time. Some of the metals utilised include the extremely deadly mercury, antimony, barium, strontium, and phosphorus. Make sure your cat is safe in a pet carrier if you must take him outside for any reason.

With some planning, patience and the above tips, Bonfire Night doesn’t have to be a frightening experience for your cats and kittens. You and your companions might even begin having a great time together during the firework season.

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