Diwali Terrifies Cats and Dogs

I respect all customs and cultures as long as they respect me and my cats…..

Diwali, the “festival of lights” an ancient Hindu festival signifying victory of “light over darkness” and “good over evil”, terrifies domestic cats and dogs. It also irritates the hell out of me for the simple reason that it is an excuse for the participants to set off loud fireworks which they do with gay abandon, thoroughly enjoying themselves, while terrifying countless numbers of pets.

Diwali terrifies pets

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It only takes one family of five people living in one home in one suburb of London to terrify perhaps thousands of cats and dogs and irritate many hundreds of elderly people who want a bit of peace and quiet.

The sound of loud fireworks travels about a mile; about half a mile away the sound is still very loud.  Let’s not forget that these fireworks explode in the air about 100 metres up, which allows the sound to travel very easily far and wide.

So we have five people enjoying themselves setting off loud fireworks at the expense of thousands of animals and people. Is this fair and is this correct and should it be stopped?

In my opinion it should be stopped for many reasons.  Firstly, the Indian festival of Diwali falls just before Guy Fawkes Night, also called Fireworks Night in the UK. In 2014 Diwali falls on October 22 and lasts for two days before that date and two days after it, so we have five days of fireworks.

When the festival of Diwali stops we enter a second protracted session of fireworks for Guy Fawkes night which starts before and goes on after November 5th.

Accordingly, residents who don’t like fireworks and all domestic cats and dogs who are terrified by fireworks have to put up with them for up to 4 weeks and more sometimes. This is not correct. This is totally unfair and it is a public nuisance.

Fireworks should not be sold to the public. Fireworks should be sold to professionals who set up professional displays in parks a good distance from residential homes.

Professional firework displays celebrating Diwali and Guy Fawkes night should take place on one night only.

The government should instigate regulations which insist upon this taking place. There really must be a ban on fireworks being sold to the public because in allowing the public to buy them represents an absolute disregard for the welfare of domestic cats and dogs. It is also leads to many children being seriously injured.

There is an extra dimension to this problem because there are many more Indians in the UK nowadays due to immigration and therefore a far greater chance that native British people and their cats and dogs have to put up with this unpleasant disruption.

It really is time that something happened and I’m sure that many millions of people will agree with what I am stating in this article.

It is ironic that Diwali is described as a festival in which “knowledge over ignorance” and “hope over despair” is celebrated.  It is both ignorant of people and impolite of them to set off loud fireworks at the expense of others and their pets.

For a cat terrified by the sound of loud fireworks hiding under a piece of furniture in someone’s home there is no hope over despair just terror over peace.  Stop these bloody fireworks!


  1. Photo by  Swaminathan who says “May this Diwali bring forth light ,joy and happiness in you lives” – it does not I am afraid.
  2. I respect all customs and cultures as long as they respect me and my cats.

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26 thoughts on “Diwali Terrifies Cats and Dogs”

    1. Thanks Rudolph. Cats do tend to adjust to these noises but it takes time. They learn that the sounds are harmless but any new cat (new to the sound) or kitten will be terrified.

      I see that strays moved out of the area and that the noise is getting worse over the past years.

  1. I must admit I’ve always enjoyed watching fireworks and plan to have my ashes put inside a firework when the time comes (lol). I’ve heard really good things about Zylkène, a food supplement which is said to have a very calming effect on stressed cats and dogs. Last time I was at the vets I noticed they had some leaflets about it. I guess they’re getting ready for Diwali and Bonfire Night.

    In Cyprus and many European countries, weddings are often celebrated with professional firework displays, and a regular occurrence throughout the summer months. Maybe they became accustomed to them, but when I lived in Cyprus my two cats would happily sit outside on our balcony whilst these displays took place. The small group of stray and feral cats I cared for seemed equally non-plussed. However, they were all terrified by the sound of noisy scooters tearing around the streets at high speed.

    1. Interesting. My cats have always been terrified of fireworks. It may be to do with being not used to it. Perhaps there is an argument for more fireworks so cats get used to them 😉 . I don’t think so. Cats have to learn that fireworks are safe then they can calm down a bit. Eventually they probably would but once per year is not enough.

      Over the month (approx.) fireworks are set off in London my Charlie did get more relaxed at the end but the whole experience is not good for cats in general.

      There was a radio chat show on the other night about fireworks and a number of people phoned in who detested them and they mentioned their cats were fearful of them.

      1. There are desensitisation programmes, which involve playing the scary sound to your pet at a low volume, whilst they’re doing an activity they enjoy. Very gradually you increase the volume until the animals pays no attention to the sound.

        I’ve not tried that myself, but believe it can work on most, if not all animals.

  2. Jennifer James, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Medicine at the UW, a radio & television personality and newspaper columnist in Seattle for 18 years, said that most people enjoy ‘noise and vibration.’

    The ‘enjoyment’ under this roof, in fact, is physical pain caused not only by the uproar – two displays are visible from my upstairs windows – but even the colors: anything red bludgeons my eyesight under the best of circumstances.

    Fireworks are fine in designated areas. Walmart sets off its own on the river, and there’s another display at the fairground. But when neighbors explode cherry bombs that land on your roof?

    The turmoil never bothered my boy who was usually asleep on the piano, but Ethel was horrified. She understood the words ‘nasty ol’ boom-boom’ and stood at the bottom of the stairs, peering upwards into the dark at what she knew was an ogre hurling thunderbolts at her head. Since she left me last February, I no longer had to suffer for her sake and hold her in my lap for hours. But I would have, if I’d had my little girl.

    Do the celebrants of Diwali, Guy Fawkes & Independence Day understand who & what they’re commemorating? And, if they do, does it fire their interest? One can but hope.

    Unless they’re tied up or kept indoors, dogs and cats down here run for their lives during the orgy. As for the peace-loving land- and seabirds, how can they not be deafened by the concussions?

    1. I can like fireworks if I go to a professional display with the purpose of seeing a firework display. I am in mentally in gear for it but when the noise is all around like a war zone while I try and watch TV or work or read I hate it which is one reason why there should only be professional displays.

      You make a good point about wildlife. Apparently one British caller to a radio show said 400 wild birds fell out of the sky and died on one occasion due to fireworks. I am not familiar with the story but that is what I heard.

      I am sure many wild animals are as terrified as my cat(s).

    2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      Which planet does Jennifer James live on? lol
      ‘most people enjoy ‘noise and vibration’ she says!
      I don’t know a single person who does, in fact it causes some great distress, especially old people.
      Maybe young people grow up acclimatised as it’s a much noisier world all round now, like they drive with the car radio booming so much the car shakes, how do they concentrate on the road?
      I really felt for your little Ethel when you used to tell me about how frightened she was, our Ebony was the same, thankfully her fear didn’t rub off on Walt and Jo.
      Yes quite a few cats and dogs bolt at this time of year, but selfish humans who set off bangers don’t care about animals suffering as long as they get their own enjoyment!

  3. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    We have ‘firework month’ here at present, as we always do at this time of the year with Guy Fawkes Day coming up on 5th November. It used to be celebrated with one evening of bonfires and fireworks, but now the shops sell them from a month before and idiots are setting them off day and night, not pretty fireworks but exploding rockets which whizz through the sky and explode like bombs going off. This goes on until the shops are sold out in November, then they start again at Christmas and New Years Eve at midnight is even worse. It seems people can’t celebrate without loud noises these days, where they get the money to afford them to go up in smoke I don’t know as each one costs at least £1. That would buy 2 large tins of good quality cat food. Our cats aren’t bothered by them thankfully as they have heard them all of their 13 years but many pet cats and dogs are and it must be a nightmare time for wild animals and birds. We have campaigned for years to have fireworks only allowed at public displays but with no success yet. Our local police have told us via Neighbourhood Watch to report misuse of fireworks but the idiots doing it are sly and uncatchable. This is a horrible time of year!

    1. It is a horrible time of year and I have only recently realised that Diwali extends the period of fireworks by a good week or more. It is a nightmare. I think it is very selfish and impolite for people to set off fireworks because the noise affects hundreds of people and no one asks these people if they mind. The noise is imposed on them. The only answer is one night and a professional display.

  4. 4 weeks of fireworks is really extreme.
    Horrible, I’m sure.
    Just for the few days per year we have them are too many for me.
    They’re really traumatizing for cats and other animals.
    At least the people firing them off around you know why they’re doing it. I have a bunch around me who don’t even know why there is celebration. They only know that they can make noise.

        1. I had the feeling I’d get something similar. I watched my back for a day or two. They were setting off fireworks until almost 2 am last night! This must be illegal. I absolutely hate them for doing this.

  5. Honestly, i feel that “FIREWORKS” should be lit up or burst on a public common ground like a stadium or playground and not in individual buildings or localities. All festivals of every religion are celebrated by the use of fireworks and this terrifies pets and aged people.My locality in Mumbai sounded like a artillery firing range yesterday night, such was the sound of fireworks.Thankfully my building had negligible fireworks compared to previous years and seems people’s attitude towards the use of fireworks is gradually changing.Honestly Michael , it was nice to hear your honest opinion as a Britisher living in London about the effect of Diwali fireworks in your Country. You should have been in Mumbai yesterday to understand the definition of the word fireworks and celebration of Diwali in India.My cats get terrifies but after a day get accustomed to the sound.

    1. My locality in Mumbai sounded like a artillery firing range yesterday night, such was the sound of fireworks

      I completely understand your predicament. It makes me angry because people disregard pets.

      Where I live sounds exactly the same: a war zone. Iraq was probably quieter.

      1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

        Yes it’s like a war zone here too Michael, our houses shake with the force of the explosions, it must be terrifying for old people who lived through WW2.

  6. Great article, Michael.

    Now the TRUTH must be added from my side if not objected 😉

    1) I respect DEVALI <3

    2) we (so called) moslims of today, we have SHAB e BARAT. We act same as Dewali on this occasion. But the ORTHODOX MOSLEMS (like me) we pray at home the whole night for the blessings of Allah and are fear for him not any trouble happens in next year. so we pray for every one surroundings.

    3) I am blessed on Christmas because it is the date of my JESUS (May peace be upon him and his blessings be upon me, ameen) <3

    BUT The whole WEST and now MOSLEM countries, too
    Terrify me on the NEW YEAR. And my pets 🙁

    Can anyone please let this TTHHAAA TTHHHAAAA be stopped?

    Thanks for sharing <3

    1. It seems you agree with me. I guess you get fireworks at New Year as we do. It is time for fireworks to be better controlled. Too much disruption and distress for people and cats. I haven’t mentioned feral cats. They must all be frightened.

      1. They are suddenly shocked with every blast, Yes these Feral cats are. I often observed to the kittens how they just stick together with fear as they are nearby to death 🙁

        1. Using fireworks is a self act. Also why don’t people who celebrate Diwali use quiet fireworks and candles and so on? Far more gentle and positive. There is no obligation to use these explosives fireworks which are like bombs.

          1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

            When we were kids we had Roman Candles and Catherine Wheels and Snow Fountains, all pretty fireworks with no bangs. We had a one evening celebration with a bonfire in the street, everyone came out,on November 5th, unless it was a Sunday then it was held the evening before or after. Our parents lit the fireworks and all the kids watched and had potatoes cooked in their jackets in the bonfire and we had great fun. Next day we cleaned it all up and that was it for a year.
            Now it goes on for weeks and it’s all noise and total confusion because it’s Halloween coming up too and kids are round the doors begging for that and incredibly some people are putting their Christmas trees and lights up already! The shops are full of stuff for all 3 celebrations!
            It seems as if kids and young people can’t wait and anticipate things nowadays, they have to have it all, here and now, regardless of how it affects older people and animals.
            The thought of the future of this planet is frightening!

            1. The noise element is a modern phenomenon and I don’t quite understand where it comes from. The world has become terribly selfish because when people set off these noisy fireworks they don’t think about the effect they have on other people and cats. It just does not cross their mind.

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