• Molly Kelsey

Keeping Your Cat Safe During Fireworks Season

Photo of grey and orange cushions on a grey couch. A grey cat's face is peaking through the cushions.

Fireworks have come a long way from their humble bamboo stalk stuffed with gunpowder origins circa 1,000AD. It is estimated that in 2020 alone over 183,478 tonnes of fireworks were used worldwide. In New Zealand, the firework season typically spans from Early November to the end of January. There are strict rules for the buying and selling of fireworks, they can only be purchased and sold from November 2nd to the 5th leading up to Guy Fawkes. Unfortunately, they can be set any day of the year. Government guidelines advise people to restrict use to the evening from 8pm-10:30pm and to notify neighbours (especially those with young children or pets) nearby if you plan to let them off but this is not mandatory. Local councils may have laws restricting fireworks use in public areas e.g. parks and beaches.

Alas, all the things that make fireworks so entertaining to us humans, like their loud noises, flashes of light, and vibrations are what makes them so scary to cats. Typically loud noises are a signal of danger and cats will react accordingly. This can look like hiding under the bed, house soiling, excessive vocalization, and running into glass doors. Cats who are outside when fireworks are let off are known to get disorientated and temporarily lose their sense of direction, often cats will find somewhere to hide like under a car or in a garden shed till the perceived threat is gone. It isn’t uncommon for cats to go missing during fireworks season, or to injure themselves trying to escape the potential danger by running onto the road or into glass doors.


When it comes to keeping our feline friends safe and secure during peak firework season there are a few things we can do to help:

  • If your cat is allowed outside, make sure you get them inside before sundown. Keep windows, doors, and cat flaps locked.

  • Make use of Feliway plug-in diffuser and spray to promote a sense of security and calm. These can be purchased online or from your local vet clinic.

  • Keep curtains and blinds closed.

  • Make use of streaming services e.g. Netflix and music to cover some of the noise.

  • If your cat is on a diet of standard adult cat food they can be transitioned to Royal Canin Calm. This food helps support cats during times of change and stress. Available online or from your local vet clinic.

  • If space allows allocating a quiet room of the house as the ‘cat room’ with plenty of places to hide, rest, and perch.

  • Food additives such as Calmex can be added to wet food. These can be purchased online or from your local vet clinic.

  • Keep them occupied using toys, training sessions, food puzzles, brushing or other activities your cat finds enjoyable.

  • Get your cat used to using a litter tray inside the house so they have a safe place to toilet. Stick to the ‘one tray per cat plus one’ rule. Make sure waste is removed at least once a day and thoroughly cleaned each week.

  • Some cats benefit from wearing anxiety compression attire such as Thundershirts.

Until next time, Molly x

P.S. If you know your cat is going to really battle with the upcoming fireworks season, I am here to help you work out a plan to reduce their anxiety and fear surrounding fireworks and similar triggers. You can book in for a general consultation here!

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