Summer—and the 4th of July in particular—is a great time to have friends over for a backyard barbecue. Unfortunately, summer parties can pose potential threats to your cat. Follow these tips to help keep your cat safe during the summer and holiday fun:
Some Holiday Food Is Unsafe for Cats
It may be tempting to give your cat table scraps during a summer barbecue because you want to include her in the fun, but refrain from doing this. Seasonings and sauces on barbecued food can upset your cat’s stomach and make her sick. Also, ingesting raw beef or chicken during a barbecue could result in salmonella poisoning. Bones can cause chocking, gastrointestinal perforation, or dangerous GI obstructions. Consuming unattended alcoholic beverages, even in small amounts, can cause serious health issues for your cat. Be sure to keep all food and beverages out of your cat’s reach.
While barbecuing, keep a close eye on any lighter fluid or matches; these can be toxic to cats.
Guests Don’t Always Know the Rules
If you are having a party, make sure that your guests know not to let your cat out of the house. The commotion of a party can put stress on your cat and cause her to want to run and hide from the noise. Thus, it is essential to make sure that your cat does not have access to the outside. Unfortunately, escape could happen easily if your feline friend is roaming around the house during a party and a guest leaves the front door wide open. You may want to put “Please close the door so Kitty doesn’t get out” signs on all doors that would provide your cat with an exit from your home.
Provide Your Cat a Safe Hiding Place During Fireworks
On the 4th of July, it is best to contain your cat in a safe room at least an hour prior to the fireworks going off. That way, you can be sure that she does not panic and run away. Providing your cat with comfort items, such as her bed, a scratching post or pad, and a favorite toy may help calm her nerves. Playing classical music or leaving the TV on to dull the noise outside may also be soothing. When you confine your cat to a safe room and are also expecting guests, try to pick a room that people are unlikely to enter, and place a note on the door alerting them not to let your cat out.
Bring Outdoor Cats Inside
In order to make sure that your outdoor cat is safe, place her in a room inside and always have a break-away collar with an attached ID tag containing up-to-date information on her (this goes for inside cats too), just in case she does panic and run away during all the noise. If you think there is a real chance that your cat will escape, consider putting her in her carrier during your party, or at least while the fireworks are going off. (The noise from the fireworks could be disorienting and frightening to a cat who is outdoors.)
A Note on Home Fireworks
Unlit fireworks within the home are dangerous. Fireworks contain chemicals that can be toxic to cats if they are consumed, so keep all fireworks in a safe place out of your cat’s reach.
Some cats get very anxious and scared when the fireworks celebrations begin. Other cats don’t seem to mind at all. If your cat needs extra help to calm her nerves, consider using feline pheromones, such as Feliway, to reduce their anxiety. A completely natural solution, these pheromones are safe to use with very little if any risk of side effects. A Feliway diffuser can simply be plugged into an electrical outlet.
Feliway resembles the facial pheromones that your cat uses to mark her territory. When your kitty is rubbing her cheek against something, she is depositing her pheromones on it, claiming it as hers. These pheromones give your cat a sense of calm that may help her better cope with the stress that fireworks can cause.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Some info courtesy of cathealth.com