“Bang!” “Pop-pop-pop-pop!” “BOOM!” Those are common sounds to hear around the 4th of July holiday and especially on the 4th. As much as it can bother a human’s ears, just think how the sounds affect your cat. A cat’s hearing is extremely acute with 27 muscles and rotation of the ears to catch it all. It is even thought in some schools that a cat’s hearing is more acute than a dog’s.
Living with 5 cats (2 inside) has taught me a lot about cats and how well they tolerate excessive noise. When the doorbell rings or someone knocks on the door loudly, one cat can wake from a dead sleep and be upstairs in a fraction of a section hiding under the bed. The other cat makes it halfway up the stairs and then comes back to investigate.
So just imagine what the constant rumble and roar of fireworks does to a cat’s nerves and hearing. If you have a cat, please consider the following when the 4th of July holiday rolls around:
1. Make sure to keep your cats (and dogs for that matter!) inside the house. If you have outdoor cats and if at all possible, try to round them up and bring them in when fireworks are sure to be heard.
2. As an addendum to the first point, it’s a good idea to create a safe place or sanctuary for your cat(s) inside a closet or interior room in the house. You may consider putting a box inside that room with his or her favorite toy or blanket.
3. If you are hosting a party on the 4th and your cats are skittish, consider putting them away from the activity (such as an upstairs or basement) for their peace of mind and yours. Be sure and keep the food and water, as well as the litter box, nearby.
4. You can always board your cat if you will be out of town on the 4th or if you feel that a party inside the house is too much. If fireworks are heavy in your neighborhood, you may want to consider boarding.
5. Don’t forget the dangers of alcoholic beverages around the house. Whether it’s just your family or you are hosting a party, if cats are left to roam, they may be tempted to try that pretty pink Cosmo.
6. As far as a cat’s diet, be sure and keep it the same especially on the holiday when you’re less likely to be as attentive. Cats can get indigestion or diarrhea, especially older cats, and giving them a “special treat” on a holiday is not always the best idea.
7. If you are unable to bring your outdoor cats inside, do not put insect repellent or sunscreen intended for humans on them. Remember there are pet-specific products available for their skin.
8. Another danger to cats is citronella candles and oil products used outside. If these are ingested, there can be serious life-threatening affects to your cat.
9. If you have kids and have purchased them glow sticks, be sure to inform them NOT to place it on a cat’s body or let the cat play with them. These products contain luminescent substances which can cause drooling and irritation in the digestive tract.
10. Do not take your pets, no matter how docile or calm you may think they are, to a fireworks display or to activities that include crowds. Cats may have nine lives, but they truly crave safety, quiet and shelter in the confines of their home.
Sources: www.delmars.com/cats/catsfact.shtml, www.cats.about.com/cs/catmanagement101/a/4thofjuly.htm, www.ascpa.org/pet-care-tips/july-4th.html