Food: It may be tempting to give your cat table scraps during a summer barbecue, but refrain from doing this. All the seasoning and sauces used on barbecue food can upset your cat's stomach and make her sick. There is also the potential for your cat to consume raw beef or chicken during a barbecue, which could result in salmonella poisoning. Likewise, consuming unattended alcoholic beverages, even in small amounts, can cause serious health issues for your cat. So 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: 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, which unfortunately could be the case if she 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 an exit from your home.
Safe Hiding Place: On July Fourth, it is best to contain your cat in a room at least an hour prior to the fireworks going off. That way you can be sure 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 having guests over, try to pick a room that guests are unlikely to enter, and place a note on the door alerting your guests to not let your cat out.
Put Outdoor Cats In: In order to make sure your outdoor kitty is safe, place her in a room inside and always have a break-away collar with attached ID tag 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 she'll escape, you may want to put 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.)
Fireworks: Unlit fireworks within the home are also dangerous. Fireworks contain chemicals that can be toxic to cats if consumed, so keep all fireworks in a safe place out of your cat's reach.
Therapies to Calm Your CatSome cats get very anxious and scared when the firework celebrations begin while others do not. If your cat needs extra reassurance to calm her nerves, consider using one of the following:
Feliway Pheromone Spray: Feliway resembles the facial pheromones that your cat uses to mark her territory. When 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. Learn more about Feliway here.
Rescue Remedy: Bach Flower Remedies has an all-natural Rescue Remedy product for pets that you can apply topically or add to their drinking water or food to help soothe them through stressful situations. Rescue Remedy can be used in conjunction with other therapies.
Anti-anxiety medication: For extreme cases, anti-anxiety medication may be needed. You should consult with your veterinarian to determine if anti-anxiety medication would be a good option for your cat.
Another option (which can be combined with one of the above therapies) for calming a kitty who's scared of fireworks is to have someone she knows and trusts stay with her while the fireworks are going off. There may very well be someone at the party who fits this description and would be willing to calm kitty by talking to her in a soft, soothing voice and lightly stroking her (if kitty desires) while the firecrackers are exploding outside.
Note: This list of potential dangers around the house during summer holidays is not exhaustive—that would be impossible. Keeping your home safe for your furry family members is an ongoing process that requires knowledge, awareness of your cat, attention to detail, commitment, and common sense. However, this article does point out common hazards that your cat is likely to face during summer holidays, special occasions, and major get-togethers.
If you suspect that your cat has ingested something poisonous, please do not hesitate to call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435). If you have general concerns that something in your cat's environment is impacting his or her health or well-being, please consult with your veterinarian.