How do I keep my cat calm during fireworks?
Read time: 4 min
From Bonfire Night to Diwali; New Year's Eve to Chinese New Year, there are plenty of fireworks throughout Autumn and Winter – and that can mean a stressful time for your cat. As a hardcore cat parent, you want to do all you can to prep in advance. But how do you calm a cat during fireworks? How do you keep cats happy and relaxed? Here are our top tips:
Know your dates
It helps to know and prepare in advance so that you aren’t as surprised as your cat when the fireworks start. The major nights for fireworks this year are around:
Diwali: 22-26 October 2022, with fireworks on Monday 24 October
Bonfire Night: Saturday 5 November 2022, although displays may be likely all weekend
New Years Eve: 31 December 2022
Chinese New Year: Sunday 22 January 2023
Shut windows and block off anywhere dangerous
When they’re stressed, cats can try to squeeze into small spaces – even if they’ve never shown an interest in it before. So, if you’ve got a gap between your kitchen cabinets or under the bath that you’ve been meaning to fix, now’s the time to make sure it’s nice and cat-proof. The same goes for any windows and doors too: your cat might try to escape, even if they don’t usually.
Make sure your cat’s microchip is up-to-date
Hopefully, you’ve locked the house down tight, but just in case something unexpected happens, make sure your cat’s microchip is updated with all the right details. That way, if your neighbour pops by and your cat makes a break for the door, you’re better prepared. If you don’t know where your microchip is registered or what to do, ask your vet: they’ll be able to scan it for you and help you get it updated.
Create a calm space
Just like a good scented candle, a calming diffuser like Feliway or Pet Remedy can do wonders in creating a safe space for your cat. A pheromone-based product like Feliway mimics the ‘happy’ chemical that cats release when they rub their face against you, and that helps them stay calm and content. A valerian-based product like Pet Remedy will also mimic your cat’s natural calming mechanisms. Whichever you choose, plug it in in the room where your cat tends to spend most of their time, ideally using a socket that’s well-ventilated (not behind the couch, for instance). You should plug it in ideally at least a few days in advance of the fireworks, and make sure you keep it constantly switched on too: if you turn it on and off, it won’t be as helpful.
Somewhere to snuggle
Your cat might already have a favourite place to hide and snuggle, where they feel most safe. If they do, make sure they’ve got access to it before the fireworks start. You could create a new snuggle spot for them too: why not take your most recent KatKin box and fill it with blankets and cushions for them to curl up in?
Prep for a night indoors
If your cat is usually an outdoor cat, make sure they’ve got what they need to be indoors for tonight, including a litter tray, water bowl and some fresh cat food.
On the night:
No prowling after dark
If you’ve got an outdoor cat, keep them inside when it starts to get dark. If you’ve got a cat flap that locks, or even locks on a timer, use it to keep your cat inside in advance. That way, they won’t be outside and alone when a firework goes off.
Don’t confine them
Your instinct might be to keep them in one room, but if your cat isn’t used to that or doesn’t like being contained, you might just stress them more – and they might injure themselves (or your doors and furniture) in their need to escape.
Turn up the volume
Don’t tell your neighbours we said so, but turning up your TV or your radio a little louder will help mask the sound of the fireworks, keeping your cat calmer. Even more helpful: use the speakers to play cat music proven to help cats stay calm. We've put together a calming cat playlist on Spotify.
When your cat is likely to get stressed and frightened, it’s easy to over-react, petting them and giving them more attention than you normally would. If you do, you’re confirming to your cat that there’s something to be worried about. Just treat them as you usually would, and they’ll know they’re safe. Remember too that when they’re stressed, your cat can react aggressively: don’t take it personally, and let them come to you if they need you.
Close the curtains
If there are visible flashes outside the window and your cat seems tense, try closing the curtains. You might miss out on a Catherine wheel or two, but your cat will definitely thank you for it.
If your cat is still very stressed and you want to know how you can help them, you can talk to your vet. Don’t forget, the KatKin Cat Experts, including our in-house vet team, are also on hand seven days a week if you need any tips or guidance – even if it’s not KatKin-related. Just email them at email@example.com or give us a call on 020 4538 4144.