Cats and Fireworks: Why Cats Don’t Like Loud Noises Either

June 25, 2019
Cats are often afraid of loud sounds, be it thunder or fireworks, they usually hide as a consequence. Unfortunately for them such fears often lead to anxiety.

We often hear about how dogs are scared of loud noises and how much these can hurt their sensitive hearing. Dog discomfort is real and some even develop anxiety and all sorts of phobias. What you may not know is that many cats are also afraid of fireworks and other loud sounds such as thunder. So, today we’d like to tell you all about cats and fireworks.

If you’re familiar with what bothers your cat, then you’ll feel good about knowing what to do when the time comes. Plus knowing how to help them will further improve your bond.

You may wonder, are cats truly afraid of fireworks? Yes, they are! Fireworks and other loud sounds bother cats as much as they do dogs. Felines like routine, peace, and quiet, and when it’s all disturbed by loud sounds, especially fireworks, it rocks their world in a bad way.

Just like with dogs, when a cat hears fireworks or any other unusual loud sounds, they’ll want to fight-or-fly. Every cat is different, however, and some cats will develop phobias and anxieties which may show themselves in the form of trembling, or loud, panicky or weak and piteous meows.

Cats and fireworks – how to help them

A cat on a couch looking at the camera.

Do take measures to prevent your cat from being exposed to loud sounds, be it during 4th of July or some other celebration. In addition:

  • Show them some high places they can climb to in order for them to feel safe. For some unknown reason, heights make cats feel protected. Perhaps because they can check out all of the action from above and therefore don’t feel threatened. Furthermore, leave one of your personal items in that spot, a blanket or a toy, so that they can feel something of yours and therefore feel protected.
  • Close all windows and curtains or blinds. Note that your cat has a rather keen sense of hearing so, even if your windows are soundproofed or double pane, they won’t be enough to muffle loud sounds.
  • If you’re already familiar with their usual hiding spots, then remove any obstacles there may be so they won’t trip and/or hurt themselves in any way.
  • Feed them in their usual spot at their regular times. Don’t hide their food as a punishment or use it as a bribe to get them to come out. Give them time and let them be. They’ll come out when they feel safe enough.
  • Don’t scold them. Their fears are instinctive and there’s not much they can do about it. Scolding them will only make them feel more anxious.

More tips for fearful cats

A cat lying on a person's lap.

  • If you notice that your cat’s afraid of fireworks, don’t try to pick him up to calm him down. Don’t hold them against their will or restrain them in any way. Among other things, because they’ll feel there’s no way out and cornered animals are dangerous. In addition, if you try to calm them down, it’ll only lead them to believe that such behavior is normal. Therefore, they may even exaggerate it even more the next time, just to get your attention.
  • Speak to them softly but without touching them. Reassure them that everything is fine and there’s no reason for concern. Show them you’re there and act nonchalantly so they know it’s true. Animals are masters at reading your emotions and will calm down when they see you’re not concerned.
  • Go join them at their hiding spot, if you can. Even if they don’t come to you they’ll feel you near and therefore safe and protected.
  • Be careful of opening doors and windows and watch for any other spots where they could get out. Fear may drive them to try to run away.

Don’t worry too much about your cat’s fear of fireworks – it’s normal. Be there and reassure them as much as possible just to make it more bearable.

You may not know it but there are some products out there with which you can create a relaxed atmosphere by using scents your cat loves. They may also help relieve their anxiety.