Charlie, my cat, is terrified of the sound of fireworks. Even distant thumps make him look wide-eyed in terror. His ears are permanently pricked up or swiveling to locate the the source of the sound.
He scuttles off to find somewhere to hide. In fact, I made sure he had somewhere to hide for his peace of mind. It was a dark corner of the apartment behind some books etc.. I have spent quite a lot of time reassuring him. He is quite twitchy at any noise now, even noises that I make. He is clearly on edge.
For the past five years of his life he has gone to the toilet outside in the garden. Having just moved home I had to introduce him to a new place. Then came the fireworks in the lead up to bonfire night (5th Nov.). He was too frightened to go out. I knew he’d do it and he did. He pooed on the floor in the lounge. It was OK because it is a wood floor.
I cleaned it up and found my old cat litter tray and placed it in the place where he had gone. The next day he took his time sniffing around it and jumped in. Great. He had a pee. I left the pee in it so that he knew for sure that this was his toilet. This morning, early, he peed in it again. I am waiting for the poo to seal the deal, to confirm that this is his new toilet.
In my experience cats naturally use cat litter because the litter tray is normally inside the house where the alternative, a hard floor of some kind, is much less attractive for a cat to poo and pee on. Cats like to bury it. They want something that can be raked over to form a small hole. As a results cats migrate to the better substance on which to go to the toilet.
I am actually pleased that he is using a cat litter because it is safer for him. I don’t really want him wandering too far outside and getting lost or meeting another cat and having a standoff.
I think that the only time when a cat needs litter training is when he has developed an aversion to cat litter for a multitude of reasons. They are all good reasons. The oft-used phrase “inappropriate elimination” refers to the cat owner’s reaction. To a cat it is appropriate to pee and poo where it feels right.
Why are cats scared of fireworks?
Is it just the noise? Some noises don’t worry cats. There is something about the sound of fireworks that is very worrying for a cat. Cats are also frightened of thunder but fireworks seem to be worse. There is a similarity in sound and I wonder if there is a sort of primeval automatic response to the loud bangs?
Wild cats might have a standard reaction to storms for self-preservation and it is possible that this reaction is hard-wired into the domestic cat’s head, who thinks that a storm is coming when he hears fireworks. Of course, that is pure speculation without supporting evidence whatsoever but it would make sense. It may also have something to do with the hearing frequency range of cats, which is much higher than for humans. Cats are very good with high pitched sounds. We don’t know what fireworks sound like to a cat.
I have learned to dislike fireworks for the reason they upset my cat. I hate seeing him scared and be unable to do anything about it. Calming music is available but I can’t see it working.
Firework night (bonfire night) is Nov 5th in England, so we – my cat and I – have at least three more days of this.