Ever since Daisy joined us, I’ve come to regret her tortoiseshell coloring. The dark brown, orange and golden color of her fur enables her to blend into the background, especially outdoors. Most of the time, Daisy’s a well-behaved cat, and I don’t have to worry about where she is. But in unusual situations, like when a friend comes to visit, or the plumber arrives to fix something in the household, opportunities occur for her to panic and she may try to escape. She’s a smart kitty, but she has a feline’s natural response to flee when she feels threatened.
Fortunately there are ways to expect what may cause stress for your pet, so you can plan ahead. If I know that there will be a change in our routine, I will usually keep the cats in the bedroom with the door closed – Halloween and the Fourth of July are two good examples. With the first one, there are oddly dressed, scary strangers at our door, and the door opens and shuts, opens and shuts – for a good part of the evening.
With the 4th of July, one of the noisiest national holidays in the U.S., panic can start at any moment, with firecrackers popping unpredictably.
Here are some suggestions to consider to help your pets cope with holiday gatherings.
• Fireworks can startle any animal, with disastrous effects. Don’t take your pet to an event where fireworks will be a part of the entertainment. Even the most mild-mannered pet can be frightened, and don’t expect that you can “talk some sense” into them. You may risk having your pet run away and get hurt.
• Make a “safe room” for your pet, where it’s quiet and the door can remain shut (and you have a litter pan available for the felines).
• If thunderstorms are expected, keep pets indoors until the storm has passed. If possible, take the dog out to go potty before storm clouds have built up.
• Delay feeding your pets until things have quieted down, but keep a bowl of water available.
• Pets who are normally kept outdoors should be brought indoors whenever a storm or stressful holiday is expected.
• Be sure your pets are at least wearing a proper collar with ID, or have a microchip ID inserted by your veterinarian when you have your pet’s next checkup.
When you have a calm moment, get out your camera and take a few shots of Fido and Trixie, just in case you need to – heaven forbid! – make up “missing” posters.
I’m not about to change Daisy’s fur color to make it easier to spot her, but I will make sure she doesn’t have reason to panic and run, if I can do anything about it.
And meanwhile I’ll hope she doesn’t learn how to open the door on her own.
How do you cope with your pets on holidays?