The 5th November is of course Guy Fawkes night a.k.a. bonfire night, and one of those annual milestones that really brings home to us the impending approach of winter, as autumn is already well underway.
Hot on the heels of the clocks going back and of course, Halloween, Guy Fawkes night means bonfires, parties, penny for the guy, and mainly, fireworks. Fireworks are beautiful and impressive to most of us, but for cat owners and others with pets, knowing that fireworks are in the offing can bring mixed emotions, as many cats find fireworks in the locality extremely stressful and frightening.
Additionally, fireworks aren’t usually just a predictable one-night occurrence either, and in most areas, fireworks will be let off for several days and even potentially both weekends either side of the day itself.
Cats are sensitive animals that don’t handle stress well, and this means that fireworks tend to upset a lot of the feline population. Even if your cat is in the house they’re unlikely to be immune to the effects of the bangs and flashes that fireworks generate, but additionally, cats that happen to be caught outside will feel it even more acutely, and this can be dangerous.
If your cat is outdoors and gets scared by fireworks, they might panic trying to get away from the perceived threat, and potentially injure themselves doing so, or get lost far from home in their flight. All of this means that the most sensible option on Guy Fawkes night is to keep your cat contained in the house for the night itself – and potentially, the nights either side of the event too. If fireworks continue for several days then you should probably keep you cat in for several nights either side of fireworks night as a result.
However, if you don’t regularly close your cat in the house and don’t have your home set up for this all the time, it can be hard to know what you might need to do or to provide in order to enable this; but this article will tell you.
Read on to find out what you need to do and to provide to keep your cat indoors on Guy Fawkes night.
First up you’ll need to provide a litter tray to allow your cat to do their business! Some cats absolutely hate using a litter tray and might hold on until morning when they can go outside once more, but you need to provide a litter tray for them nonetheless.
Ensure that this is kept away from their food and water bowls and beds as cats are very finnicky about their toilet habits, and also make sure that it is somewhere that your cat can find it, and in a quiet and safe place they will feel comfortable using it.
Also, keep it clean!
Your cat will of course need their food and water provided as normal – and if your cat is usually a nocturnal hunter that likes to eat fresh, you may find that they’re a little hungrier than normal without their usual course of rodent for dinner!
Cats like to hide in safe, enclosed places when they’re stressed or frightened, and fireworks night is no exception. If your cat has a favourite hidey hole or bed, ensure that they can access it, and that they are not disturbed when they do. If your cat doesn’t have a go-to place, consider setting up a box or a den for them to use for this purpose.
Your cat is extremely likely to hide away if fireworks upset them, but if they are not bothered about them or you’re able to effectively mask the sounds and flashes, your cat might be looking for mischief to get into as they are closed in – or be concentrating on how to get out because they’re bored and don’t understand why they’re trapped!
If this is the case, you can attempt to divert your cat with some toys and games, such as a ribbon on a stick or some catnip, to provide them with something to do and concentrate on.
It may seem self-evident, but ensure that your cat flap is very securely locked, and ideally, has a barrier in front of it too as some cats react extremely poorly to being kept in and might go to great lengths to break for freedom!
If you can keep an internal door closed and also put a physical barrier in front of the cat flap as well as locking it, so much the better.
Also, ensure all of your windows are closed too, and take care to keep an internal closed door between the cat and anyone going out or coming in via an external door!
Finally, close the curtains and use the TV or a radio to mask the worst of the flashes and bangs that will infiltrate your home, to help to keep your cat calm and relaxed during their confinement.