Tips to Manage 4th of July Stress With Your Cat

We have a lot of people in our neighborhood who let off noisy fireworks – Zoey feels safest under a blanket during all the commotion.

4th of July is a time of celebration – America’s birthday, our freedoms acknowledged and appreciated, cookouts with friends and family, time off from work, great shopping deals and more. But for our cats who are reactive to the slightest of change in their environment, a day and night like the 4th of July – something out of their typical norm can be especially stressful, traumatic and dangerous to them. We can’t stop fireworks and celebrating from happening, but with some planning and basic understanding of cat behavior, we can make the holiday more manageable for them.

First and foremost, even in the best of circumstances, it’s safer for a cat to be indoors. On a day like this, it’s especially important. If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, try to keep him indoors a few days before and after the 4th, as people tend to let off fireworks for days at a time to prolong the holiday. Fireworks can be dangerous to an unsuspecting cat and there are even some ill-intentioned people who purposely try to harm an outdoor cat with fireworks.

We make sure our doors are tightly locked so no cats can get outside.

Strange company unexpectedly showing up for a cookout or hearing unusual noises outside – this can cause even the boldest of kitties to vanish into thin air, looking for a safe spot to hide. If you’re having an outside cookout, be careful as you go in and out the door, as your cat might be lurking nearby and try to escape. Double check that doors are securely latched and that window screens don’t have any tears. And even if you always keep your cat indoors, make sure her identification is current and that you have a picture of her. It’s easy for kitty to slip out the door while in a panicky state and end up lost, injured, or worse.

You should also set up a sanctuary room for your cat that includes safe hiding places and food, litter, etc. prior to nightfall. Some cat parents have success using pheromone therapy to de-stress their cat (using a product like Feliway spray), and playing music or having a television on to diffuse noises also helps. If these suggestions don’t work and your cat is unable to remain calm, don’t leave him alone if you plan on watching fireworks. Notwithstanding my Jazmine who actually enjoys watching the fireworks from the comfort of our guest bedroom window, not all cats are that brave. Hire a pet sitter if need be, or ask a neighbor to stay while you go out.

Most cats don’t like the noise of the fireworks – Jazmine is a rare exception and likes to look at them from the guest bedroom window.

Remember as well that picnic foods and alcohol are NOT appropriate for kitty and can cause problems ranging from mild stomach upset to extreme toxicity. Glowsticks that kids use outdoors at night can cause irritation if chewed and don’t give your cat any calming medication unless you’ve been instructed to do so by your veterinarian. You don’t know what side effects may occur or how your cat may react to a particular medication the first time it’s administered.

And don’t forget to make adjustments to your cat’s feeding schedule if need be. Some cats are given a small meal or snack before bedtime and the loud noises that intensify after dark can cause even the hungriest of cats to run for cover. Lastly, if your cat does hide, be patient in finding him. I know from experience how difficult it can be to coax a cat who’s been spooked out of hiding. Typically they will come out on their own when they feel the coast is clear – not during the celebrations. Once the noises and activities subside, you’ll have better luck finding your feline friend.

Rolz is our Houdini cat and can vanish for hours when he’s stressed. He’ll magically reappear when he feels it’s safe to come out, but you can see by his ears that he’s still on full alert.

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  1. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    we will bee glad when de en tire weekz thru coz they shoot off fire werkz heer all day everee
    day…yea, like 2 pm makez for a grate lite show huh …………knot……be safe guyz N make sure
    ya get sum shurf N turf frum de grill !! 🙂 ♥♥

  2. We are enjoying a nice quiet morning right now, but our neighbors seem to be stocked up with noisy goodies that even spook the human and make her say bad things. We are glad for our basement. Have a safe and quiet Independence Day!

  3. It’s been noisy here for over a week already; hopefully, it will quiet down after tomorrow. Although we turn on fans to dull the booms, Angel still hides under the dresser. We leave her there, with The Hubby and I taking turns at speaking to her reassuringly. Chucky seems bored by most of it! Happy Independence Day!

  4. jmuhj says:

    Not my holiday and fortunately fireworks, except for the professional shows, are illegal in my city. That doesn’t stop some from using them, unfortunately, but it’s nowhere near what it was two houses ago, where it was like being in a war zone on that day.

  5. these are pawesome tips! Thankfully, we go to my SIL’s to celebrate and are home before the fireworks. Dakota can’t stand the fireworks so we turn the TV up super, super loud to help drown them out. Cody isn’t bothered by them as much as Dakota. Have a happy and safe 4th! xoxo

  6. Ellen Pilch says:

    I think the 4th of July is all cats least favorite day. Good tips.