Cats on Bonfire Night
With the 5th of November creeping up soon, I thought it’d be the perfect time to discuss how we as crazy cat owners can help our kitties on one of their most stressful nights in the UK. Cats have super sensitive hearing. So what we hear, is about three times louder for them. The loud noises and flashes of light can be scary for cats on Bonfire Night, and as creatures of habit, it is crucial for us to help relieve their stress and anxieties.
Symptoms of stress in cats on Bonfire Night
Whilst not all cats are scared of fireworks, it is most common that they are. I remember when I was a kid, one of my first cats Milly was so deaf she couldn’t hear them at all. She would be outside and none-the-wiser they were even going off! We never had to worry about her. However, my other cat at the time, Clarence, would be terrified of the booming noises and would hide under our beds. It’s important to know the symptoms of stress that cats on Bonfire Night can show. Here are a few of them:
- Hiding or becoming withdrawn
- Eating/drinking less than usual
- Fearful body language
- Pacing/circling – overall restfulness
How to help your cats on Bonfire Night
If you know your cat will become distressed by fireworks, the most crucial thing to do is to keep them inside. Make sure to keep all of your doors, windows and definitely cat flaps closed as they are likely to sneak out unaware of any upcoming fireworks. It’s also important to stay with your cats on Bonfire Night. Your presence can be such a big comfort to them and will really help them feel settled.
Some other ideas of what you can do to help your cat(s) are:
- Create a safe space (away from windows/doors) – for example, this could simply be a beloved cat bed or a box filled with comfortable blankets and toys.
- Ensure they have easy access to food, water and a litter tray. Keep any of their necessities away from windows/doors or anywhere they can see fireworks from.
- Use a plug-in pheromone diffuser. ‘Feliway’ is used by many of our cat customers and for our own cats too! Here it is on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/FELIWAY-Classic-Diffuser-Comforts-behavioural/dp/B0031TFZRK?th=1
- Close any curtains/blinds to keep things looking warm and cosy in your house, and to block any view of the fireworks.
- Keep the radio/TV on to distract your cat(s) from any loud noises.
- Buy them a well-deserved treat or toy to distract them too.
And most importantly, let your cat guide you on how they feel. You might feel that you have to be right by their side the whole night. But if they look uncomfortable with any constant nagging, give them space. They might just want to curl up in bed, somewhere they know you aren’t far from but where they can relax.
Soothing sounds for cats
According to ‘Cat’s Best’, scientists have researched and found that sounds perceived as pleasant during the first two weeks of childhood are the most enjoyable for cats throughout their lives. Kittens are born without any sight or hearing, so they are only able to recognise their environment with all of their senses when they are two weeks old. That being said, the first rhythm a kitten can hear is the vibrations of the mother’s heartbeat. They then grow older to hear their mother’s purring and the drinking noises they make when sucking on their mother’s teats. Both noises are connected to feeling comfort and security.
It’s obvious that music influences our emotions, but did you know it’s the same for cats? In many vet practices, music will be used to calm animals down to make the visit easier for them. There are specific types of music that are known to calm down cats very effectively – which makes it incredibly helpful for holidays such as Bonfire Night!
Music for cats
When playing music for cats, it should never be played too loud. (Remember, they have sensitive ears!) I think most of us would agree that classical music is soothing to the ears… Well, it is for cats too. ‘Cat’s Best’ also say that tests have shown that music influences the vegetative nervous system. Which in turn controls the cardiovascular function (the role that helps the body meet the demands of activity, exercise and stress).
The kind of music we listen to also affects our blood pressure and breathing. This is why you’ll never hear classical music at a club! Soft, harmonious music (like classical music) can calm our cats down and help them relax their breathing and steady their heartbeat.
If you’re interested in anything else regarding music for cats, I’d highly recommend visiting Cat’s Best’s page (https://www.catsbest.eu/music-for-cats/). They discuss more about the sounds that are calming to cats as well as some examples of musical pieces that they may like.
Keeping your cats calm
With the noisy night approaching, remember all of the things discussed that might help your cat. Even if you don’t think your cat is rattled by the fireworks, make sure to be there for them if they become anxious.
Let me know if you have any other solutions to keeping your cats calm on Bonfire Night by commenting on our Facebook page. Hopefully, we can help everyone with cats scared of fireworks.