Keeping Cats Safe Campaign - How to help your kitty through Halloween and Fireworks


As Halloween is coming up, this month iCatCare is highlighting all the ways you can help your kitty through this month.

In October and November celebrations for Halloween and bonfire night take place, not just on one or two evenings, but over several weeks it seems; indeed similar celebrations now also happen at New Year. Although great fun for us humans, our cats may find them both stressful and dangerous.

FIREWORKS

For us, fireworks are bright, noisy and enjoyable to watch, but for a cat they may be a new experience (and therefore make the cat wary), loud and unpredictable, and can be very frightening. Frightened cats may be startled, run away and become lost, or run across roads and be involved in accidents. Distressed cats can develop behavioural issues such as house-soiling or excessive grooming.

On nights where there are fireworks present in your area, here are a few things that could help;

  • Ensure your cat is safely indoors before dark. Tempt it inside with a treat and ensure all doors, cat flaps and windows (even the small top ones) are closed to keep the cat inside but also to help keep the noise out.

If you are having trouble getting your cat inside these are some tips that could help with your stubborn kitty;

Practise getting your cat to come to you when called. When your cat is hungry, call his name and reward approach with a tasty treat (you can do this first when the cat is indoors). If your cat is not very food motivated, you can reward it coming to you with a game it enjoys, such as with a wand toy. Once your cat has mastered coming to you when called within the home, you can extend this to the outdoors. Always be ready to reward your cat with food or play so that it learns that coming home from outdoors is rewarding. In this way your cat will continue to be motivated to come to you.

  • Get your cat accustomed to the sound of fireworks many weeks before the firework season. This will help it cope when hearing fireworks for real. You can obtain (via your vet or online via YouTube) audio clips of firework sounds. Play these initially at very low volumes and gauge your cat’s response.

  • Provide your cat with a safe and comfortable hiding place in case it is frightened. A cardboard box on its side or an igloo bed are perfect. The hideaway can be placed in an elevated location (eg, on top of a wardrobe) if your cat tends to seek high places at times of uncertainty.

  • Don’t try to cuddle your cat to make it all OK. Treat your cat as normal, stroking it if it makes contact with you. Your cat is going to feel safest if it can hide, so preventing this by holding or cuddling for reassurance during the fireworks may be counterproductive, and your change in behaviour may even give it reason to worry!

  • Use toys and treats to distract them from the firework noises.

SPARKLERS

If you have a very nervous cat it is better not to use sparklers indoors as the light and hissing noise may be frightening. Even if using them outdoors make sure the burnt sparklers (which are initially very hot) are kept away from animals and children before being safely disposed of.

BONFIRES

Bonfires which have been built some time before burning make good hiding places for small animals such as hedgehogs, and even a cat or kitten, so check them before lighting.

CANDLES

Cats may be attracted to the flickering light of a candle which could result in burns to the paws or singed whiskers. The cat may even simply walk past and put its tail over the flame or knock it off a shelf, so be aware of these dangers. Using electric candles in pumpkins can minimize the risk to animals and children.

DECORATIONS

Many of us enjoy decorating our home with spooky theme at halloween. Cats are curious creatures and may investigate any decorations you put up. Young cats may be more likely to investigate and play with decorations, as well as indoor-only cats through boredom, if they lack enough suitable enrichment. As well as the risk of cats knocking down decorations, which may cause injury to themselves or others depending on the type of decoration, in some cases cats may even ingest (eat) them. String and string-like items are one of the most common types of foreign bodies that cats eat, according to vets, and can lead to serious problems such as causing the intestines to ‘bunch up’; surgery may be required to remove the object(s).

CHOCOLATE

Halloween is a time when chocolatey-treats abound. Although a treat for us, chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which is toxic to most animals. Cats would have to eat a large amount for the dose of theobromine to be lethal (around 560 g milk chocolate and 140 g dark chocolate), but even a small amount can cause signs of poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, depression or hyperactivity.

This post first appeared on International Cat Care, please read the original post: here

For more information contact International Cat Care at https://icatcare.org

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