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Keeping cats calm on bonfire night
Although your cat or dog may contained within the garden by the cat fence or dog fence the noise and lights from outside the safety of the garden maybe very scary to them. Many cats and dogs are very sensitive to loud noises and when you consider that cats and dogs can hear noises at each end of the spectrum that humans cannot detect loud noise can be extremely alarming for your pet.
As Bonfire night is nearly upon us desensitising your cat or dog is not an option but there are still steps you can take to make the forthcoming weekend more comfortable for your pet.
Inside Safe Space
You can create a safe space for your pet to retreat to inside your home. With cats this may differ as some cats prefer to be up high and some cats prefer to be in a low dark space. Try to find a quiet place within the home, away from noisy internal appliances, the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher. Where possible make the den away from outside influences so not to near to the doors or windows. Cats will often like a cool dark place so it may good to move the bookcase to a corner of the room for the weekend so that they can snuggle up underneath or possibly remove some of the books from one shelf and drape a dark towel over part of the shelf to create a raised dark den.
With dogs a crate makes a great den, place their bedding inside the crate with some of their favourite toys and cover with a quilt or blanket to make a dark and safe retreat, again try to place this away from doors and windows and internal noise that may startle your dog.
Visit your Vet
A quick phone call or visit is certainly worth considering. It may be possible for your vet to prescribe some calming medication to help keep your cat calm. Many of the Pets at Home Branches also have an onsite vet – Vets for Pets so they may recommend an over the counter remedy or even prescribe some medication.
As well as creating a safe space it is worth using a diffuser, ideally you should purchase this a few days in advance. The well loved cat fence model, Felicity has used the F eliway as she is a very sensitive girl and this has certainly helped during stressful times. The diffuser releases a pheromone that the cat usually releases when they rub against your legs or furniture. The pheromone makes the cat feel happy and relaxed.
In dogs the adaptors also release a pheromone that is very similar to the release given off by a nursing bitch to her litter of puppies.
On Bonfire Night
Bring your cat in before it gets dark and lock the cat flap, remove the cat fence collar and shut the curtains before it gets dark. If the litter tray has been moved make sure they know where it is.
With dogs it;s worth walking them in afternoon, again before it gets dark and make sure they are aware of the location of the den so that they can settle in before the fireworks start if possible. The addition of a hot water bottle also works well for some. Again close the curtains before it get dark.
Turn on the TV or radio at the normal level as this helps to override the outside noise. Settle down with them and don’t show any anxiety or make a fuss – carry on as normal as dogs and cats will pick up on any negativity from you. If the pet is calm praise and stroke them to reinforce that all is well.
Before letting your cat or dog outside the next day, check the garden to make sure there are no remnants from Bonfire night that might cause your pet harm. Then place the cat fence or dog fence collar on as normal and allow your pet to enjoy the outside space!