With the Fourth of July just several days away, there are a few dangers inherent in the holiday of which you need to aware. Planning for these dangers ahead of time can keep your cat safe, secure, and happy over the holiday.
Make sure your cat is indoors for the Fourth. Being outdoors for this holiday can be dangerous. If there are fireworks being set off in your neighborhood, those fireworks can injure your cat. Fireworks can be particularly dangerous in the hands of a malicious person intent on harming your cat. Your cat will be safer and more comfortable indoors.
In fact, it is a good idea to keep your cat indoors a day or two before the holiday and keep him indoors until a day or two after. If your neighborhood is like mine, celebrations start a few days early and often continue for a few days after; particularly the firework part of the celebration.
Though cats often don’t show fear in the same dramatic way that a lot of dogs do, there are still many cats that are frightened by the loud noises associated with fireworks, a common sound on and around Independence Day. If your cat is scared of fireworks, there are several things you can do to help relieve some of his anxiety.
- Place your cat in a dark room with the blinds drawn to block out the glare of the fireworks.
- Play some music as background noise. Classical music is a good choice. Alternately, turn a television on to mask the sound of the fireworks.
- Consider using Feliway to help calm your cat.
- If necessary, natural remedies can also be used to help calm your cat.
- For cats that suffer severe fear and anxiety, anxiolytic drugs may be necessary. Consult your veterinarian about the medication that is most appropriate for your cat.
Avoid foods that can be toxic to your cat. Besides fireworks, many of us enjoy cook-outs and special foods as part of our Fourth of July celebrations. Sharing these foods with your cat may not be a good idea though. These include chocolate, garlic, and onions. Avoid bones as well — they can cause damage to your cat’s teeth, mouth, and intestinal tract. Milk, ice cream, and other dairy products may also cause intestinal upset for some cats, but are not truly toxic.
Glow sticks and glow jewelry are commonly seen items around the Fourth. These items are generally not terribly toxic to your cat but do contain a chemical that has an especially bad taste. Biting into one of these objects may result in intense salivation for your cat that may look serious but this is usually not really dangerous.
If you do have a cook-out or other type of Fourth of July celebration, that may mean that people are going in and out of your home regularly. With doors being constantly opened and closed, it is important to be sure there are barriers that keep your cat from sneaking out through an open door. If necessary, confine your cat to an interior room where he cannot escape.
A few precautions and a bit of planning ahead of time can keep your cat safe from a preventable injury or illness and ensure a more enjoyable Independence Day for both of you — without the worry of an unforeseen emergency visit to your veterinarian.
Dr. Lorie Huston