Summer is upon us and with it comes lots of outdoor activities and get togethers. The 4th of July holiday is a part of many people’s summer celebrations. Cookouts, company, and a finale of fireworks! Fun for us, but potentially dangerous and often terrifying for our cats. To help you keep your cat as safe and comfortable as possible during this time, we have shared some tips below. We hope you will find them helpful. As always, if you have questions about your cat’s health or behaviors, please contact your vet. They have suggestions and help for the very easily frightened cat. With the 4th of July being on a Monday this year, be sure to give your vet a call early, as many will be closed over the 4th of July weekend. Here in Ocala, we have PETS (Pet Emergency Treatment Service) which will be open during the holiday. Their number is 352-512-0886. You may want to post this number somewhere close to the phone. Also, to save time and money, please consider “pre-registering” your pet(s) BEFORE they need help. Forms are available online and at their office. In an emergency, every minute counts, so having your pet(s) already registered will help them be seen faster.
4th of July Safety Tips
- The safest place for your cat is INSIDE your home. You will want to select a quiet room that visitors will not be going in and out of. Preferably it will be a room your cat is familiar with. Even if your cat is an outdoor or indoor/outdoor cat, the 4th of July is NOT the night for them to be out. Cats who are outside, even if they are used to being outside, can be hit by cars as they frantically try to run from the noise or, sadly, hurt by abusive people. Keep them safe inside.
- To help your cat, you may want to leave the TV on or play quiet music to muffle the sound of the fireworks.
- If staying home, you may want to sit with your cat for at least a part of the time to provide security.
- BEFORE the 4th of July, be sure your cat is microchipped and has a breakaway collar with your contact info. Be sure you have a current picture of your cat AND make sure the microchip company has your most current contact information.
- Contact your vet for help and suggestions if you are not sure how to best help your cat.
- Discard or store unused fireworks and clean up any pieces of used fireworks that may fall in your yard. Fireworks usually contain a variety of heavy metals that are highly toxic to your cat.
- Do not put glow jewelry on your cat. The liquid inside can cause illness.
- In general, cats do not like to be “dressed up”. If you do decide to dress your cat up, remove the costume immediately after you take pictures. If the cat bolts in costume, he or she could be strangled by the costume.
General Summer Safety Tips
- With temperatures soaring during the summer, be sure your cat ALWAYS has plenty of cool, fresh water available. It is helpful to have multiple water bowls around the house. If you have a senior cat or one who has mobility issues, be sure to have a water bowl close to their regular napping location. Moving water, such as in a pet fountain, often encourages cats to drink more.
- Canned food will spoil much faster in the heat. Remove uneaten canned food promptly after the cat is done.
- Table scraps can, at best, cause stomach upset. They can also cause severe illness or death. For information on foods that are dangerous to pets, please click here.
- Human sunscreen and insect repellents can cause problems for pets. Never use them on your cat or dog. For questions about sun safety and biting insects, please contact your vet. They know your pet and have information on the safest and most effective products to use.
- Cats, being the curious creatures they are, are drawn to new, novel items. Be careful with matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles, insect coils, and tiki torch oil. All of these can be toxic to your pets.
We at Sheltering Hands wish you and your pets a safe and happy summer.