Canada Day is all about spending time with family and friends and celebrating how lucky we are to be living in this beautiful country of ours! It’s finally summer, and we can enjoy the outdoors all day (hopefully) and spend the evening watching the noisy but spectacular fireworks.
But any or all of those activities can be a problem for cats. These particular family members may need to miss out on Canada Day festivities.
We want you to enjoy Canada Day with your cat’s safety in mind, so here are 12 tips that will allow you to enjoy the day and not worry about your feline friend.
The 12 Canada Day Safety Tips for Cats
1. Keep Your Cats Inside
If you have an outside cat, you’ll want to keep them inside as much as possible on Canada Day. Not only is it hot, but fireworks can also be frightening for animals, whether someone in your neighbourhood is setting off firecrackers or you live close to your city’s main event.
It can also be dangerous — a cat frightened by the explosions might bolt and run onto a road. Therefore, no matter how much your cat complains about being kept indoors, it’s just for one day, and it will keep your cat safe.
2. Keep Your Cat’s Info Up to Date
If you can’t get your cat inside in time or they prove to be an escape artist even with your best efforts, you’ll want to ensure that your cat’s I.D. is up to date.
Use a breakaway collar with your address on an I.D. tag, and check that your cat’s microchip still has the correct information. This way, if your cat does get outside and someone finds them, you should be reunited in no time.
This is particularly important for cats that don’t typically go outside, as they might be more likely to get lost.
3. Warn Anyone Coming or Going
Cats are notorious escape artists, so on this particular day, ask your family and any guests visiting to not let your cat out.
Cats are creatures of habit and many don’t like change. If you’re hosting a Canada Day party, some cats might find this just as upsetting as the fireworks. Put a sign on any doors to the outside that warns people to watch out for your cat.
Additionally, if your cat isn’t much of a people person, tell your guests to leave your cat in peace unless they come seeking attention. But otherwise, your cat might simply need alone time on this holiday.
4. Create a Cozy Space
If you already have a cozy spot where your cat gravitates, that’s great. If not, you’ll want to give your cat a space where they feel safe and happy.
If you already have an area like this, consider adding extra goodies, like a soft blanket and favourite toys. Maybe even catnip and new toys might distract your cat.
Beyond this, allow your cat their space. If they come to you looking for cuddles, give them affection, but if they want to be left alone, respect that.
5. Provide a Place to Hide
Besides creating a cozy spot in an area that your cat gravitates toward, ensure that they have access to other places to hide.
This means keeping a few cupboards or closets open for your cat to escape to. Some cats hide under beds or in a closet, while others prefer to be up high. Ensuring that your cat has a tall cat tree can be helpful (this can work at any time, actually).
At the same time, be sure to block off any areas that might not be safe for your cat to hide.
6. Get White Noise Going
If you play music or put the TV or radio on, it can help provide noise so the explosions from the fireworks won’t be quite as noticeable. White noise is particularly helpful for drowning out external noises.
While cats don’t seem to appreciate our music all that much, there is music made for cats. It sounds a bit strange, but apparently, most cats seem to love it!
7. Ensure That All Exits Are Closed
Check that all routes to the outdoors are closed so your cat can’t go outside. This means keeping the doors closed and remembering to check the windows and any cat flaps or dog doors in your home.
8. Don’t Confine Your Cat to One Room
Some cat owners might want to place their cat in one room and keep them there until everything is back to normal. Even if this particular room is the quietest and you believe that it’s for your cat’s own good, it may only make your cat more stressed out.
Cats dislike being confined, so as cozy and quiet as this room might be, forcing a cat to stay in one place with no escape will just make Canada Day more anxiety ridden than usual.
9. Consider Anxiety Relief Products
There are several products available designed to reduce stress and anxiety in cats. Pheromones, such as Feliway, are designed to calm cats, and the ThunderShirt, places pressure on the cat’s body, which helps calm them.
There are also calming treats, and you might want to pick up a new and potent-smelling catnip toy. Catnip can make a cat go wild, but after about 10 to 20 minutes, they tend to relax and enjoy a nice long nap.
10. Cover the Windows
The noise of the fireworks is definitely the biggest problem, but the flashes of light might be added stressors. Keep the blinds and/or curtains closed so the lights won’t be as noticeable.
If your curtains aren’t effective enough, aim to stay with your cat in any room with no windows or with blackout curtains.
11. Stay With Your Cat and Be Calm
If your cat is especially frightened on Canada Day, you might need to stay with them. This might mean not doing anything but leaving your cat alone, though your presence will be of comfort.
While you’re there, make sure you speak and act calmly. If you seem at all worried, your cat will pick up on that.
Don’t lose your temper if your cat accidentally breaks something or urinates on the floor because of their distress. That will only compound your cat’s anxiety.
12. Ensure Easy Access to the Litter Box
If a cat is in hiding and is afraid to leave their spot, accidents might happen. Just place the litter box close to where your cat is hiding. Hopefully, this will help.
What If None of These Tips Work?
If you’ve tried everything and your cat is still overly anxious, speak to your vet. Sometimes, medication can be prescribed that will help relax your cat during major holidays like Canada Day.
The vet might also suggest using an animal behaviourist or give you tips on using behaviour modification. This will usually include two methods, which are desensitization and counterconditioning.
What Are the Signs of a Stressed Cat?
Cats experiencing anxiety tend to lack an appetite, be restless and overly alert, and do things like pace, excessively vocalize, hide, tremble, and excessively groom themselves. You know your cat best and will recognize immediately when your cat is stressed and unhappy.
Fireworks and cats can be a disaster waiting to happen. It’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of your pets, and these 12 tips should hopefully help with that.
Some cats are much more anxious than others, so ensuring that they have a safe place to hide and that there’s no way for them to get outside is essential.
As long as you keep track of where your cat is at all times on holidays like Canada Day, your cat will likely be shaken but safe.
Featured Image Credit: Daniel Zopf, Unsplash