Can I help my cats get over fireworks?
July 1, 2021 9:11 PM   Subscribe

We moved into a dream house in a really cute neighborhood. Where there are a lot of fireworks in the summer. It's just kind of the culture here. Our cats are maybe getting used to it a little, but they're quite stressed out. Is there anything we can do to help them?
posted by insteadofapricots to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'll be watching for any other suggestions, but things have been gradually getting better with me making the quietest spot in the house as cozy as possible, and then just acting mostly normal through this year's mess.

Do you have a totally interior room or closet where you could set up a quiet area for them to chill out?

One of my three cats is basically terrified of fireworks. (The other two are weird fools who will often run to the windows to try to check out what's happening.) In past years, when there were 2-3 nights of fireworks, I would just sit with my scaredy cat through the evening, but this year we have had daily sounds-like-a-bomb fireworks for the past several months, so that hasn't been totally feasible. Scaredy cat is much more confident regarding the fireworks now than she was 6 months ago, but she still goes to the "quiet room" as soon as the noise starts up. It has just one small-ish window, which is newer than some of my others and insulates sound a little better. I periodically check on her to just say hi and give some pets, and she's pretty quick to come back and hang out when it ends, whereas before she would stay in hiding for *hours* after the fireworks ended.
posted by ktkt at 9:55 PM on July 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Seconding quiet room and ASMR sounds. More than either of those, this: Feliway
posted by firstdaffodils at 10:01 PM on July 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

And a box. A hiding box. Cats feel safer if they can hide.
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:15 PM on July 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Addendum: two boxes, pls. - cat
posted by firstdaffodils at 10:22 PM on July 1, 2021 [8 favorites]

Cats are usually really responsive to their people’s moods, even if they don’t always show it in ways we immediately get. So if you can be legitimately at ease during the noises, over time your cats should begin to mirror that.

Having a sound insulated hiding spot (or three) is good too. Some cats feel safer up high, and some feel safer under things. So you might have a comfy nap blanket in a box that you cut one side out of and slide that under a bed, and also do one up on a high closet shelf, depending on your cats’ dispositions.

If they stay stressed out even when there aren’t any fireworks, begin to unpredictably get touchy or fight more, or have litter box trouble, talk to a vet about different ways to address their stress medicinally. Feliway works for some cats but not all, but there are other things you can try.
posted by Mizu at 10:54 PM on July 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

How effective it is varies from cat to cat, but this is one of the use cases for the Thundershirt.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:39 AM on July 2, 2021

There is an app called Sound Proof Puppy Training that has fireworks as one of their noises to desensitise your pet to the noise. Just play it in the background and gradually increase the volume until the kitties get used to it. I used it for my puppies and they don’t mind fireworks at all.
posted by Jubey at 3:27 AM on July 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

I would put a lot of thought into soundproofing the house itself: double windows + muffling curtains, wall insulation, etc. I know that sound like a _lot_, but, fireworks. I mean, some of them are designed to sound like guns. It's just awful for animals.
posted by amtho at 3:57 AM on July 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

What you need are Pavlov's cats. Treats. Skip dinner. Every time a firework goes off, give them a special treat.

There's also music for relaxing your cat. I used to petsit, and this music will knock some pets out.
posted by aniola at 8:40 AM on July 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

My dog got to the point where they'd hear fireworks and they'd look to me for a treat.
posted by aniola at 8:41 AM on July 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

we live in upper manhattan NYC and our vet gives us gabapentin to help our two older kitties through fireworks season.
posted by eusebis_w_adorno at 8:58 AM on July 2, 2021

CBD treats are easily obtained these days - one of my cats has taken to them, the other doesn't like them. But the cat that does like them definitely experiences a positive mood impact.
posted by coffeecat at 2:40 PM on July 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

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