Keeping your cat com-fur-table this Bonfire Night
We imagine few things hate Guy Fawkes quite as much as cats do. When Mr Fawkes failed in his attempts to help blow up the House of Lords in 1605, little did he know what his impact would be on our four-legged friends! For cats, Bonfire Night is the kitty equivalent of Blue Monday, the last day of summer and the first day back at work after Christmas combined...
...It truly is the worst!
Unsurprisingly, cats are about as fond of sudden loud noises as Garfield is of exercise, and it can be a very stressful evening for them! As a way to hopefully make your pals as comfortable as possible, we here at Kitty Café have come up with some tips to help take the bang out of bonfire night this year!
Prepare for the scare
We understand this may not always be possible, but it is a good idea to help your cat become used to the incoming noise. Playing firework sounds quietly in the house and rewarding calm behaviour with treats can be an excellent method of acclimatising your cat to the sudden noises you will most likely hear on the evening itself. As the days progress, try to increase the noise gradually to more realistic levels, still rewarding with treats and see if your friend handles it any better. If they become upset, reduce the volume down and go back to a comfortable noise level again.
This one seems pretty obvious, right? Whilst it may be tempting to want to go out and celebrate the festivities outside with friends or family, your cat may appreciate it if they know you’re around them, and it can possibly help settle their nerves at least a bit. If this isn’t possible, make sure you set up a safe comfortable den for them to relax or hide whilst you’re away.
The run of the mill
On paper, the idea of keeping your pal in a singular comfortable place as far away from the noise and blasts of fireworks sounds as fool-proof as anything, right? Unfortunately, as is often the case with cats, they can often feel more stressed if they are confined to the same area, so giving them a full reign of the house can often be a much better solution as it allows your friend to choose exactly where they feel most comfortable the entire evening.
Although it is key not to allow your cat to feel they are trapped, closing the doors and not letting your cat outside the house is ideal during stressful times for them such as Bonfire night. Cats will run and hide from scary sounds and if they are outside, the chances of them becoming lost can increase greatly as they will believe they are in danger (and with loud banging fireworks that can often go astray, they may be onto something!)
Make sure any possible escape routes like doors, windows and cat flaps are closed and locked, or at ensure your house is securely fenced if they manage to briefly escape outside. Further cat-proof your house by making sure they cannot squeeze into any potentially unsafe areas they may seek as refuge.
Again, surely when stressed by the loud noises going on outside, your cat would just love to receive a great, big hug from you to let them know everything is going to be ok, right? Sadly, in times of stress, your cat is much more likely to find comfort in hiding than any comfort you may try to provide, and preventing them from doing so can be massively counterproductive.
Treating your kitty as normally as possible and stroking when they may make contact with you is the best course of action here, as any changes in behaviour along with all the noise may make them think there is something wrong with you! Fear not though, you can still bribe your cat throughout the night by using the favourite treats or toys to distract them from the chaos outside!
Let mew-sic fill the room
Try to make your house as noisy as is tolerable for your neighbours and yourself! Any background noises like radio, television and music can be good ways of reducing the sudden impact of sounds coming from firework displays. Slow classical music in particular can be calming for cats, so whilst you yourself may not be a fan of Debussy, Bach or Mozart, your cats will, and it may just give your friend a crumb of comfort on a stressful evening!