Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cat Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

White kitten snuggled in a blanket
Independence Day is a fun day full of cook-outs, family get-togethers, celebrations, and fireworks for Americans.  Unfortunately, though, July 4th may not be fun for your cat.  The loud noises, unusual smells, and strangers in their homes causes many kitties stress.  Therefore, as you plan your 4th of July celebration this year, please use these tips to help reduce your cat's stress and keep him safe during the holiday.

Give Your Cat a Sanctuary

If you're planning on having a get-together at your home, create a sanctuary for your cat in a bedroom.  Put your kitty's favorite beds and toys in the room as well as her litter box, food, and water.  Leavining the door to the sanctuary shut ensures that your cat doesn't accidentally escape outdoors when guests enter or exit your home.  

If your cat gets stressed by visitors, play some soft music for her to help distract her from what's going on outside the bedroom door.  Be sure to check on your kitty every so often to make sure she is doing okay.  If possible, engage your cat in a few interactive play sessions throughout the day to help relieve her stress as well.

If your cat gets stressed during fireworks, try distracting her with interactive play, soft music, or by just sitting with her and talking quietly.

Remember that outdoor kitties get stressed by fireworks, too.  If your kitty typically stays outdoors, you may want to consider bringing her into the house for Independence Day celebrations.  It's unfortunate, but not everyone is kind to felines, and some people might even try to shoot fireworks off near your cat.

If you care for feral felines, provide them with a safe place to hide outdoors.  Put some empty boxes out with towels in the bottoms so they have somewhere comfortable to hide out during the fireworks. 

Update ID and Microchip Information

White cat
If you're planning to have guests to your home, make sure they all know to watch for your kitty when they enter and exit your home.  Don't forget to be mindful of your cat when you go to and from your grill as well.  

Cats are sneaky and can scoot past even the most vigilant cat owner.  That's why it's important to keep the information on your kitty's ID tag and microchip up-to-date.  I include my cat's name, phone number, and the phrase, "Indoor cat," on Carmine and Milita's ID tags.  You can update your companion's microchip information on the Internet.  Just go to your microchip company's website, log in, and update your address and phone number as needed.  

People Food

In general, it's not a good idea to indulge your furry companion with people food.  However, if you want to share just a bite of your hamburger or hot dog with your kitty, make sure it has no seasoning or topping on or in it.  Jewel always enjoyed having a bite of plain hot dog or hamburger, but Carmine and Milita don't care for either.  

There are many people foods toxic to cats you should be aware of.  For instance, onions, garlic, lemon, avocado, and chocolate are poisonous to cats.  Please refer to our Toxic Foods for Cats Part 1 and Part 2 for more detailed lists.

Onions on a cutting board

Additionally, remember to keep alcoholic drinks out of your companion's reach.  According to the ASPCA, if a pet ingests an alcoholic drink, he may become intoxicated and severely depressed, weak, or go into a coma.  Death may also occur from respiratory distress in serious cases.

Remember to throw away all meat bags, packaging, tin foil, and plastic wrap.  These items are tempting to cats and may lead to intestinal obstruction if ingested.  

Sunscreen and Insect Repellent

Don't use any insect repellent or sunscreen on your cat that isn't indicated for use on pets.  Ingestion of human sunscreen may lead to drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and excessive thirst.  Neurological problems can arise from using insect repellent containing DEET on pets.  You can easily find pet-safe sunscreen and insect repellent by doing a search on the Internet. 

Glow Jewelry and Glowsticks

Keep all glow jewelry and glowsticks away from your pet.  If chewed and ingested, glow jewelry and sticks can cause irritation and possible gastrointestinal obstruction if large enough pieces are swallowed.    

Keep Fireworks Away from Your Cat

Fireworks in the sky
It may seem obvious, but having lit fireworks around your furry friend could lead to her getting burned.  It's also important to keep unlit fireworks out of your cat's reach because some fireworks contain toxic substances, such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals, according to the ASPCA.  

Matches and Lighter Fluid

According to the ASPCA, some matches contain chlorates, which may cause breathing difficulties and blood cell damage.  In severe cases, kidney disease may also occur.  Lighter fluid can cause skin irritation if any is accidentally spilled on your cat's coat.  Ingestion of lighter fluid can lead to gastrointestinal distress and central nervous system depression.  When lighter fluid is inhaled, breathing difficulties and aspiration pneumonia may result.  

Insect Coils, Citronella Candles, and Oil Products

Keep insect coils, citronella candles, and oil products out of your cat's reach.  Ingestion of such products may lead to gastrointestinal distress and central nervous system depression, according to the ASPCA.  Inhaling oils may result in pneumonia aspiration.  

Orange cat with its head tilted

Medication and Anxiety-Relieving Products

If you know your kitty gets stressed or anxious when fireworks go off, talk to your veterinarian before the Independence Day celebrations begin.  Your vet will be able to recommend a medication or other product to reduce your cat's stress.  Never give your cat medication without talking with your veterinarian first.  Many human medications are toxic to pets. 

Rescue Remedy or Comfort Zone/Feliway diffusers may help keep your cat calm during fireworks.  If you choose to use a diffuser, plug it in a day or two ahead of time so it has time to disperse throughout the house.  

You can reduce the noise and bright light from the fireworks by closing your windows, shutting your blinds, and turning on the television or radio to a channel that plays soft music.  

Using these tips will help you and your furry friend have a safe and happy Independence Day.  

Do you have any Independence Day plans?  Please share with us in the comments!



  1. Excellent advice! Our peeps don't do much celebrating on the 4th, but there's lots of noise and boomers. We usually hide under the bed until the noise stops.

  2. We are very lucky, in that we don't have much going on here. The cats all have good places to hide if they need to. But that is very good advice.

  3. we usually go the route of anxiety medication. it's been generally effective over the years

  4. We have a neighbor who does a short display, but most of the fireworks are what mommy can see out our windows--far off in the St. Paul area and the Fairgrounds. Not much noise, just beautiful colors to amuse mom.

  5. Great info! We're sure not boomy season fans!

  6. These are great tips! Binga and Boodie are old hands at fourth of July fireworks - my human is planning on staying home with me to make sure I'm okay (although I probably will be).

  7. Great advice! The neighbors were shooting off fireworks the other night while Truffles was napping in the window and she didn't even flinch LOL!

  8. This is the best information I have seen in a long time and I thank you for you.

  9. Thank you for sharing this really important info, dear pals. The 4th certainly can be a pretty upsetting time for our furry friends.

  10. Great tips for a safe 4th!!!!! just going to my sister-in-law's, nothing special!

  11. Good thing I have no plans because I have to bring Sammy to 2 Cat Scouts events and 3 of my kitties to the TCC- good thing it is all virtual :)