Cats and loud noises
Cats are instinctive and intelligent. Plus, their ears are designed for hunting small prey which means that they can hear a high range of frequencies. For this reason, cats and their parents dread events that bring loud noises into the home.
Events that bring loud noises into the home
Construction projects in the home and in the neighbourhood, music events in the area, fireworks over the holiday season, during Guy Fawkes or at other events, and weather storms. These are all events that create loud noises that may make your cat anxious.
How do I keep my cat safe?
When a cat hears a sudden thump or an approaching storm, their first instinct is to get to a place of safety. The following tips will help you manage your cat’s anxiety during loud events.
Keep doors and windows closed
If your cat is outside when a storm approaches or fireworks start going off, she might try to run away and could hurt herself in the process. Bring your cat indoors and close up any escape routes. And, don’t forget to close the cat flap.
Microchip your cat
A microchip is more reliable than an ID tag. However, it is always a good idea to place an ID tag on your cat’s collar. If your cat bolts because she was afraid of a loud noise, you should find her one way or the other.
Create a safe space
Make sure that your cat has a safe space that she can run to if she feels the need to hide. A safe space should include tunnels to hiding spots and the litter box.
If you anticipate fireworks or an unruly thunder storm, try to stay home so that you can manage your cat’s environment by, for example, closing curtains when there are flashing lights that cause her to panic.
Turn on the television or the radio
Turn on the television (or the radio) to dampen the noise from outside. However, don’t create noise to counter noise, your cat will not appreciate this effort.
Anticipate the event
Thankfully, we no longer routinely celebrate Guy Fawkes. However, people still like to shoot off fireworks to bring in the New Year. If you are able to anticipate an event you can prepare your cat by making them tired before the event starts or by placing them in the “safe room” early. However, don’t confine them to a small area as this could elevate their anxiety.
Create a distraction
Some cats respond well to a distraction from loud noises, like a new toy or treat. However, leave your cat to settle if she does not want to play. Do not force interaction.
Visit your vet
Some cats are extremely sensitive to loud noises (sound phobias). So, even if you cover all the points we have mentioned, cats can still experience a lot of distress. Your vet will manage each case independently and will perform a clinical exam to ensure there is no underlying medical issue in order to prescribe a scheduled medication. Sometimes, a trial of one or two options is needed. However, medication will help your cat deal with anxiety episodes and will ultimately manage their fear!