The whole of October and into November tends to see the shops filled with skeleton costumes, pumpkins and toffee apples, and other Halloween and bonfire night or Guy Fawkes night goods to put us into the holiday spirit, and many of us find this time of year very enjoyable.
However, bonfire night or Guy Fawkes night goes hand in hand with fireworks and their assorted bangs and flashes, which means that if you own a cat, this time of year can also be quite stressful for both you and your pet alike.
Some cats find fireworks highly distressing and might run off in an attempt to get away from the noise, which can result in them getting lost as they don’t pay attention to their surroundings in their panic.
However your cat handles bonfire night or Guy Fawkes night, there are a number of things that we as cat owners can do to help to keep our cats safe and calm on the night itself and at other times when fireworks are in the offing, and in this article we’ll share some tips to do just that.
Read on to find out how to keep your cat safe and calm on bonfire night.
First of all, whether your cat is used to being allowed outside whenever it suits them or if they’re only allowed access to outdoors at certain times, the best way to keep your cat safe on bonfire night is to keep them inside.
It is also wise to keep your cat in from a while before it gets dark onwards for a few days beforehand too, and also the weekend before or weekend closest to the night itself, as fireworks are rarely restricted to bonfire night alone these days.
By keeping your cat in you’ll be able to keep an eye on them and secure their safety, and be assured that they won’t run off in a panic and either get lost and unable to find their way home, or be in danger of injuring themselves in their flight.
Bear in mind that cats can be unreliable about coming in and out at set times, so close them inside in good time.
After you’ve got your cat closed in, make sure you don’t risk them darting out again! Lock and block the cat flap, close windows, and make sure your cat is safely behind another closed door before you open a door to outside.
Whether your cat is scared and tries to dart out due to fear or if they’re simply unhappy about being contained and want to go out, ensure that they can’t nip out between your legs when you open external doors for other purposes.
Close the curtains and if they’re thin, use blankets or something else to black out flashing lights and reduce the sounds from outside. This will reduce the impact of fireworks and help to keep your cat calm as they will feel somewhat safer.
Putting on the TV or some calming classical music can go a long way towards masking the noise and bangs of fireworks, which can help to keep your cat calm and reduce fear-based behaviours. However, cats don’t like a lot of loud noise in general, so ensure that the noise you use to mask sounds from outside aren’t overly loud, as this can stress your cat out more.
Calming pheromone diffusers for cats can help to ease their stress, make them feel secure, and help them to settle down, and you might find them useful all year round. However, if you are looking for ways to keep your cat calm on bonfire night specifically, try plugging in a pheromone diffuser a day or so before and see if it makes any difference.
Cats feel safe in small, enclosed spaces and also in high-up places where they can see what’s going on around them. Your cat probably already has a number of boltholes or safe places they go to when they’re scared or unsettled, and they will almost certainly seek them out if fireworks and the noise and fuss of bonfire night upset them.
If your cat doesn’t seem to have a particular hidey hole or bolt hole, consider getting them an igloo bed or even simply setting up a cardboard box with flaps covering it and a blanket inside of it that they can rest in for bonfire night, to let them hide out for the duration if they want to.
If your cat hides away on bonfire night, this is fine and you should allow them to do this and not disturb them. If you’re unsure where they are, checking their usual hiding places or under the duvet etc. is fine, but don’t keep bothering them and never try to bring them out into the open, as this will only stress them out more.