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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:16 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Location: UK
In the US the next predicable event for fireworks will be New Years eve?, following that the 4th of July(?)

In the UK we have ''Bonfire Night'' (Guy Fawkes night) looming down on us in less than 4 weeks.
If you have a young cat/kitten then the upcoming fireworks events towards the end of this year may be their first experience of the booming bass sounds of explosions involved with fireworks.

It would be much better for pets if firework events such as New Years eve, Independence day and Bonfire night were the single only evenings that fireworks are used everywhere in large numbers,
however this is never the case...
what happens is fireworks start to appear in stores weeks before such celebrations (and weeks after at reduced to clear prices) and kids (teens) being kids they wanna have fun with them every night not just on the day of the celebration...
:rolleyes:
No doubt some adults also get tempted to buy and use fireworks when they appear in all the stores so what we get is lots of random small ''displays'' of fireworks being set off by kids in the park or families at home about a week either side of firework events... also the large organised displays dont all hold their ''Bonfire night'' on the same night because that isnt practical for making money from the public at such events... they spread them out and hold them across several nights.
(4th of July may not be like this but the UK bonfire night is... the pubs and parks have a display each and they deliberately dont overlap on the same night)

So I wanted to make a thread now to help cat owners prepare for the upcoming fireworks fortnight :rolleyes: around Bonfire Night and also New Years eve.
(I will bump this topic a few times to keep it on view if it isnt made a sticky - please add your own input for others)



Dealing With Fireworks Distress

There are several ways to reduce your cat's fear of fireworks depending on the severity of their fear (or phobia is some cases). Every cat is different and extreme cases of fireworks fear should be raised with your vet who has good advice and several products available to help kittys.

Hiding Places
Allow your kitty to hide if they wish, if possible try to provide a sound proofed area out of a box and piles of old sheets/blankets with a small entrance like an igloo. Ideally any safe cave/igloo you make for kitty should be setup in a corner of the inner most room of your home away from the outer walls and windows, hopefully creating an effect of the sound being loudest in one direction rather than ''from all around them'' which has been found to be most distressing for cats.

Owner's Response
It cant be overstated really just how much kittys take their cues from us and our own reactions... including our posture and subtle body language that we might not be aware of !
It is important to resist the urge to comfort kitty during a firework episode, this will only validate and enhance their fearful behaviour .
Try to remain oblivious and ''matter of fact'' about the situation and actively ignore the commotion going on outside. Carry on with the normal routeen of your home.
Those of you who walk your cats in the evening must either avoid doing so (this sucks I know) or try to make time to walk during daylight. ie. as soon as you get in from work before it gets dark out.

Food Supplements
There is a product called Zylkene, a milk-based supplement which is effective in helping to calm stressed kittys. This can be purchased ''over the counter'' in the form of capsules and it is also added to a special dry food made by Royal Canin. If you cant buy online and cant find Zylkene available you can order it through your vet practice.
Alot of people have good results from Rescue Remedy ''for cats'' (not humans) with its stress reducing effects.
Its worth noting that supplements can only help and will not completely solve the problem of fear from loud noises like fireworks.

Pheromone Products
These are designed to replicate the natural scents/pheromones that cats produce themselves.
They come in the form of diffusers (plug-ins) and sprays. Feliway for cats is the most well known brand but other pheromone diffusers/sprays can be found at a lower cost and same effectiveness. Vets describe pheromone products as ''having a stress/anxiety reducing effect in a significant (but not all) cats in mild to moderate cases''.
Once again this option will not be enough on its own to entirely remove fireworks stress but it is something useful to improve the situation for kitty.

Prescription Medications
There are a variety of medications that can be administered to help reduce fear (and sometimes the memory of frightening events). Such medications that fall under the legal category of ''prescription only medication'' can only be dispensed for kitty after being seen and assessed by a vet.
Remember to plan ahead and see the vet in advance of the fireworks period as the vet will usually require a ''trial dose'' be tested on your cat before they will prescribe a course of such medication.

Desensitising Behaviour Programs
These are to be considered for long-term treatment to try to help more acute cases of fireworks/loud noise fear or phobia and require an extended period of time to begin to have an effect.
Such programs can make use of CDs of such ''scary noises'' to be played at home for training sessions and even the deliberate use of fireworks (by a helper outside) in a controlled exercise aimed at ''normalising'' loud noises outside and reducing the fear response connected to such sounds.
For the more extreme cases of fear (or phobia) of fireworks/gunshots/construction noise ect the assistance of a behaviourist may be required and your vet can make a referral for you to a good local animal behaviourist.
Remember that most comprehensive pet insurance policies also cover costs of a behaviourist if referred via your vet.

--------

Hopefully this will be of some help to kitty owners here and please, anyone with experience and advice on this please do add your input... remember alot of the people that come to BCF come here because they have new kittens they are eager to share with us and learn from other owners.
Kittens bred and purchased this year (since July in US) may have never before experienced firework events before and tips to help these frightened little ones will be much appreciated by their new owners.

If you are planning to celebrate Bonfire Night or other fireworks events this year do have fun and enjoy the show but please think of kittys and dont have your own display at home in your garden :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:44 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Good to know. My cat isn't bothered by fireworks because the only ones set off lasted about 1 minute -- this was the fourth of July.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:01 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Not forgetting Diwali... You get loads of fireworks towards the end of Diwali. I used to live on the outskirts of Birmingham and now i live in Leicestershire so always loads of fireworks around for a week or so, usually before or after Bonfire night.

My current cats can't care less about fireworks. They'll sit on the windowsills and watch the pretty colours. Even scaredy cat Max isn't bothered by them, though runs for cover if you rustle a bag :rolleyes: We can have fireworks at home with no issue from our cats... we don't though as i prefer to watch from a slight distance anyhow and i live near a farm so would be unfair on the farm animals.

My old moggie cat hated them and so we would open a wardrobe or the airing cupboard for him to hide, those were his favourite areas of comfort.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:52 am 
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My two aren't too bothered by them, however they are not big fans of thunderstorms - I've found the best solution is to turn on the TV, a little louder than usual - it masks the noise.

Nice guide though, well done.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:02 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Thanks for this useful information. Having 2 kittens, this will be their first Bonfire Night so I will make sure I keep my eye on them. Hopefully they won't be too stressed out!

Thanks again

Lisa
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:06 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Thanks for this post BengalDaddy.....

I was starting to wonder about bonfire night actually, as my 2 both run away from the Hoover!!

I now feel that I can manage ok.....

Lori
Xx


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:13 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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A very thorough post, thankyou!

Diego isn't bothered at all by fireworks and is more than happy to sit and watch them so i'm interested to see how Django will react given that it will be his first experience of them! Fingers crossed the fact that his brother is all cool and calm will settle him!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:46 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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He will prolly take his cues from Diego (and you) Piggle... So I expect he'll be fine too.

Its encouraging to hear about people having cats that are not affected by fireworks :mrgreen:
For those cats that are scared of loud outdoor noises it can be distressing for them and owners because you feel so powerless and you just cannot stop the scary banging going on outside :sad:
Owners with cats that DO react and feel afraid of fireworks can be made quite upset themselves for simply not being able to help poor kitty... hopefully this thread will help some of those people.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:58 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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BengalDaddy wrote:
Owners with cats that DO react and feel afraid of fireworks can be made quite upset themselves for simply not being able to help poor kitty... hopefully this thread will help some of those people.


I agree completely, my parent's siamese was very unsettled by fireworks when she was younger and it was so sad and frustrating to watch as you are very limited by what you can do to help. At the end of the day you can't sit down and explain to them that its not going to hurt them however much you wish you could :(

I'm sure this post will be very helpful for people with cats in that situation!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:52 pm 
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Bumped. :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:08 pm 
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The same here- not bothered. In fact every time we have one , they have to sit on the window and watch them lol

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:28 pm 
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bumped :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:29 pm 
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We can see and hear fireworks for about 4 hours on 4th of July. I live in a densely populated area and can see several city displays from my back patio. Plus neighbors and surrounding neighborhoods set them off from about 8:00-midnight and several days before and after. I was wondering what my kitties would think of all this. I went in the pool and watched for about an hour. My kitties were racing around the screened-in patio having a fun watching all the fireworks! They stayed out until after 11:00. They love thunder and lightening storms too. They are usually up against the glass doors on hind legs watching the action.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:02 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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BengalDaddy, where have you been? I've certainly missed you on the forum! This past 4th of July, they did not set off fireworks in our street. We could hear fireworks in other neighborhoods. Raiden still isn't fazed by them, so I don't have any worries. But I do know many pets are traumatized by the sound.


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