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Keep Your Pets Safe During the Firework Season:
I am the human slave of a very precious diva of a cat. Her full name (which I am sure she believes I should use at all times) is Evangeline. But, for the most part she comes for cuddles and food if she hears me calling for Lena.
She is a pedigree tiffanie – a breed that is a cross between Burmese and Chinchilla and to me she looks like a charcoal drawing of a cat. Since we moved in November last year she has grown in confidence and seems to believe that the new house is definitely HER house. It backs onto a park and although she can’t actually get out of my back garden, she loves sitting at the window watching the ‘big cats’ prowling along my garden wall and dreaming of catching birds. Like many pedigree cats though, she is quite nervous.
Up to now she hasn’t been anywhere close to fireworks. This year, things will probably be different as I imagine there will be something happening in the park. So, I’ve been checking how best to make sure she stays calm and comfortable.
First of all, I asked the people at the CatCuddles Sanctuary. I happened upon them a few months ago when I noticed that one of my old friends had adopted a rather gorgeous CatCuddles resident. And, I’ve been charmed by the characters there and have the utmost respect for the people who work there, rescuing and rehoming strays, not just from London but, in some cases, from as far away as Egypt. They also offer a cat sitting service in return for a donation to the charity. Lena LOVED the company of Wendy who stepped in as surrogate slave while I was away on my last trip to the USA…
The lady who runs the sanctury, passionate CatCuddler Evina offered me her own checklist of things to do. As always, her advice goes beyond common sense – she really has an understanding of cat behaviour.
1. Get the dogs out for walkies before dark so they don’t have to “hold it” until the fireworks die out. Feed early and feed light as well, so they can digest their dinner in time. Cats should always have litter trays down anyway but if not, they should have on the night(s).
2. Cats should categorically not be let out after dark during the fireworks season (not just the one night). Fireworks being loud, unexpected noises and sights can completely throw off a cat, then make it behave unpredictably and not using its “cat savvy”, eg cross roads to get away from the noise, and can thus be in serious danger. This is life threatening stuff.
3. Have radio or TV on early on in the evening and with closed curtains sit and listen/watch with the pets, without altering behaviour during fireworks.
4. Do not give special attention during fireworks, just engage with the pets normally, perhaps slightly more affectionately, throughout the evening.
If there is a room in the middle of the house or a basement playroom – so long as the neighbours do not oblige by putting on a fireworks party – it is the preferred spot in the house to be at.
5. Zylkene works well for dogs and cats. Start at least 3 days before the event, ideally a week, and continue for a week, during the festivities.
I loved Sarah Ann’s idea of making a cardboard box bed and soundproofing it with jumpers.
She’s owned by Scout and Daisy . You can see how beautifully relaxed they are most of the time. But, looking at Scout here, he does seem just a little anxious about what is to come.
Suzi told me that two of her cats hide in the cellar each year – they wait by the door to be let in when the fireworks start! But, the others enjoy curling up by the fire, so long as she’s around to keep them company. Swanson, her cat, seems to find the handbasin a VERY relaxing place to be.
Domino and Oreo are two ex-cat cuddles residents who have found a forever home with Lou Catherine. It will be their first bonfire night this year and they are not really sure what to expect. But, apparently Lou has plenty of experience with their uncle Kir, who is now 15. I’m sure everything will work out well for them!
Meanwhile, I’ve been sent a useful infographic from Petplan which has nine tips to help you look after your pets during the firework season. Lena has been with petplan since she was born and I would happily recommend them. I love the reassurance that my policy gives me – I know I should always be able to do the best for her without having to worry about the bills at the end.
Disclosure: This post has been possible thanks to Petplan but all content is editorially given.