I usually don’t like writing the old Cat Safety post because.. it’s boring. No one likes safety tips! Blah! Ok ok – just kidding, read this quick list of tips to incorporate your fur-family into your 4th of July preparations!

Keep Your Cats Inside and Away From Exit Points

Keeping your cats inside is obvious, but also keep them in inside rooms if at all possible. I always recommend starting early on the 4th or even late on the 3rd if you’re having company over, to prevent any chance of escape. Move litter box, food and water to a snug location such as interior bedroom, large closet or even a basement if you have one. Play some music or quiet TV for them. Most of all, do not allow people to repeatedly enter the cat’s quarters to prevent escape from a frightened kitty. Cat safety always seems easy until you forget to tell Uncle Bob not to open that door.

Make Sure Cats Have Collars and Microchips

Now’s a great time to make sure kitty tags are secure on their collars and that your information is up to date on the microchip registry if your cats are microchipped. If they’re not, maybe it’s a good time to think about that, too. Your vet may not be able to get you in between now and the holiday for this quick procedure, but Labor Day is coming!

Do Not Drug Your Cats

There are drugs out there meant to “calm” pets but they’re possibly more damaging than going without. Acepromazine is one of the most common we hear about and it’s a tranquilizer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop the cat from being traumatized, simply prevents the cat from being able to act upon being traumatized. Instead, opt for the more natural approaches such as phermones, and ask your vet if CBD oil can help your cats. Many holistic and integrative veterinarians are pointing their clients towards CBD for its apparent anti-anxiety properties.

Have Neighbors Keep Their Cats Inside

You know which neighbor I’m talking about here. Side-eye to the “they like it better outside” mentality. If you can gently broach the subject, remind your neighbors that a spooked cat can run into traffic, too close to a predator or run too far to find its way home. Just because they survived last year (try hard to avoid your rolling eyes here) is no reason to leave it to chance this year. I know, it’s hard, so if the neighbor won’t listen, maybe you can help with an impromptu shelter.

Provide a Safe Shelter for Local Strays

If you have a garage, crack the door about 6 inches so that scared animals can take refuge. You can ease them out later by making noise from inside your home close to the garage. There are lots of quick shelters you can create out of coolers, hay bales (stop laughing, some people have them!) plastic storage totes, plywood or even a simple cardboard box. Stray and feral cat safety is often as simple as providing a quiet space. It may not be glamorous but a roof is a roof. If you need a good one, there are several ideas on Google.

Monitor for Fire-Causing Patio Grilling

It is illegal to have an open flame grill on any multi-family patio (apartments or condos) in Virginia. The reasons behind this law should be kind of obvious but I came home to see flames shooting from my downstairs neighbor’s charcoal grill to the base of MY patio one day, so perhaps it’s not as obvious as I once thought. If your neighbor wants to grill, you can protect your pets.

Monitor For Unsafe and Illegal Fireworks

We hate to be the neighborhood narc, but we also hate to see terrorized pets, wildlife, veterans and our house burning down, so there’s that. Fireworks are banned in most of a Virginia without a permit, so you’ll want to contact your local fire department with the area the fireworks are happening. Here cat safety and home safety go hand in hand. Do not try to confront anyone, be safe out there! Here’s a link containing firework information for all Hampton Roads cities.

Warnings I Shouldn’t Have to Tell Folks

Don’t spray your pets with Deep Woods Off, don’t set off bug bombs in your yard and citronella is toxic to cats. Potato salad is not good for cats, don’t give them the bones from your smoked ribs, and generally keep them away from the people food unless you’re interested in cleaning liqui-poo all week. Seriously. Tell people you know to stop doing these things. Every year I hear these things and hold my breath until I’m sure it wasn’t one of my clients. Fortunately, none of you have done these things, but I’m warning anyway.

Happy 4th of July to all my clients, friends, family and supporters! Be safe, and someone have a beverage for me!