Firework season is nearly upon us and it is time to think about the steps you will take to reduce the stress and anxiety fireworks can cause your cat.
With vets reluctant to prescribe sedatives due to welfare concerns, Feliway® has taken over as the easy, natural and non-drug option to help your cats cope with firework fears this autumn.
Feliway®, from CEVA Animal Health, is a synthetic copy of the cats’ facial pheromone, which happy and contented cats deposit by rubbing their heads on objects in their home environment. Loud, unfamiliar noises can cause great fear and anxiety in cats, but the presence of these natural signals provides reassurance and conveys a sense of security, which can prevent the cat becoming overly alarmed.
A Feliway® diffuser provides a continuous release of pheromones and should be placed in the room the cat uses to rest and relax, at least a week before you expect the fireworks to start.
This will give the pheromones time to reach the optimum level in the local environment, maximising the beneficial calming influence of the pheromone. Additionally, to reinforce the action of the diffuser, you can also apply the Feliway® spray directly to an individual area, such as the cat’s bed.
This is particularly important as many cats retreat to a ‘bolthole’, such as under a bed or sofa, once the fireworks start.
Take the drama out of bonfire night by following these top-ten-tips to help felines forget fireworks!
1. Plug in a Feliway® diffuser at least one week before fireworks night.
2. On the evenings you expect fireworks ensure your cat is safe indoors and provide them with a litter tray.
3. Ensure doors, windows and cat flaps are securely fastened to prevent distressed cats escaping and running away.
4. Make sure your cat is microchipped. If they do escape, frightened confused animals can easily get lost.
5. Draw curtains to reduce outside noise.
6. Play music or have the TV turned on to drown out fireworks with more familiar noises.
7. If your cat hides in a corner or under a bed, leave it alone and do not try to coax it out. This ‘bolthole’ is where the cat feels most secure. If you know that your cat is likely to retreat to this area Feliway® spray could be applied at least 15 minute before fireworks begin.
8. Try not to go out during such potentially upsetting events. Seeing you acting normally will help your cats feel more settled.
9. Do not try to comfort your cat. The cat will pick up on your anxiety and this may make the problem worse.
10. If you are still worried or if the cat takes a long time to recover from the experience contact your veterinary surgeon for further assistance. Your vet may wish to refer your cat to a specialist for behavioral therapy.
For further information on Feliway® contact your local veterinary surgery or call CEVA Animal Health on 01494 781510.