4th of July Survival Kit for Cats

Keep your cats happy and safe on Independence Day

Cat hiding from loud noise
Akimasa Harada/ Moment/ Getty Images

The 4th of July, Independence Day, may be the most traumatic day of the year for cats. If you live in the U.S., unless you pack a tent and take off for the high country, it is unlikely you'll spend a fireworks-free 4th of July. As with many of our traditional holidays, people tend to forget the meaning of "Independence Day," but concentrate their celebration on "bombs bursting in air" and barbecues.

Although many municipalities don't even allow the "safe and sane" fireworks anymore, people still seem to find the not-so-safe kind.

Prepare a Sanctuary for Your Cats

Frightened cats will seek shelter, immediately. Many cats will run and hide under a bed or in a closet when the doorbell rings. Imagine what they will do when a bottle rocket goes off nearby. It will help your kitty if you prepare a sanctuary in advance, much like a "safe room."  If you don't have an extra room, try a cat bed inside a closet in an interior room. Rub a towel or small blanket with her scent and put it in the bed. Show her where it is well in advance of the 4th, so she will know it's her own "safe place." The quietest room in my house is my bedroom, which overlooks the back yard, and has a door. There's plenty of room on my queen-sized bed for all six, although Jenny will probably hide under the bed until the other cats leave.

It doesn't totally take away their fear of loud noise, but it does help a lot.

If your cat is normally an indoor-outdoor cat, keep her indoors for the day, and in some areas for the week. Unfortunately, there are still sadistic sub-humans around who think it's great fun to tie a string of firecrackers to a cat's tail.

Don't let your cat become a statistic, and forever ruin your enjoyment of the holiday.

What to Do If You're Hosting a Party

Unless it's a quiet family get-together, you might want to consider boarding your cat at your veterinarians if they will have staff on duty during the holiday. Otherwise, it's best if you keep Fluffy locked in your room during the festivities, with her food, water, and litterbox handy. Even if it's just family, try to discourage feeding kitty scraps from the barbecue, though she might beg. Barbecue and the accompaniments that go with it are usually too rich and greasy for your cat's metabolism, and she needs all her physical resources in optimum condition just to handle the fireworks later.

Consider Tranquilizers

If your favorite feline is normally the skittish type, you might want to ask your veterinarian about a mild sedative or tranquilizer, just to get the cat through the day. If you're not fond of drugs for cats, there are some natural remedies that have a calming effect.

Rescue Remedy, available at health food stores, is recommended for shock, both physical and emotional. It is a mixture of several Bach Flower Essences: impatiens, star of Bethlehem, cherry plum, rock rose, and clematis. Many veterinarians routinely prescribe it.

Try to take time out from the activities of the holiday to spend a few minutes with your cat, every couple of hours, petting her and talking to her. She needs to know you haven't abandoned her during these stressful hours, and the respite will be good for you, too.