Will fireworks be particularly bad for cats this year because of Covid-19?

The coronavirus pandemic is going through what the experts describe as a “second wave”. What they mean is that it was suppressed for a while during lockdown but it never went away as expected. This second episode is worse than the first probably because people have been ignoring government guidelines and instructions. The rapidly increasing numbers of infected people will inevitably lead to another lockdown similar to the first. This, in turn, will quite possibly result in cancelled firework displays in 2020 because they are large gatherings in which social distancing is next to impossible in practice. Traditionally, in the UK, public displays of fireworks take place on Bonfire Night which in November 5.

Drive-thru fireworks display in Germany
Drive-thru fireworks display in Germany with movie. Photo unattributed.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It is reported that several venues across the country will be holding drive-through displays allowing spectators to view it from the safety of their car. This will happen in counties such as Essex, Suffolk and towns such as Peterborough, Northampton and Newark together with parts of Scotland. Alexandra Palace’s Fireworks Festival and displays at Blackheath, Crystal Palace, Southwark Park, Victoria Park, Battersea Park and Wimbledon Park have been cancelled.

All this points to the possibility of lots more family gatherings at home to set off fireworks. I think we can expect a particularly torrid year this year for cat lovers and their companion cats. We can expect to be hounded, irritated and driven to despair by fireworks set off by neighbours. The majority of cats and dogs are frightened of fireworks (although some are not). My guess is that dogs are more often frightened of fireworks than cats. It is a particularly troubling time for cat owners for that reason. It’s hard to know what to do to save them the distress of it all. Most of the solutions such as playing music have a limited benefit (but see link above).

Spot. Photo by Suzi Kowalski.

There is also a possibility that a cat will go missing at this time. If they are indoor/outdoor cats they may run out into the street in panic and be harmed or become lost. This happened a cat whose name was Spot (above). Spot lived with Suzi Kowalski. During last year’s fireworks, a neighbour set off a particularly loud firework which terrified Spot. He was injured after he ran out of his home at 3 pm on November 1st last year. It appears that his injury wasn’t spotted quickly. He had broken his leg which may have been caused by a vehicle. He was taken to the vets but his body was shutting down. The veterinarian recommended euthanasia and so he was euthanised at the tender age of two. Suzi puts his death down to fireworks.

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