It’s the time of year in the UK when for nearly a month or more, all that can be heard are the explosions of fireworks. Diwali – the Hindu festival of lights – fell on Thursday, 23rd October this year but it feels as if we’ve been hearing fireworks non-stop for weeks now. By far the noisiest time is around the 5th of November when we ‘celebrate’ Guy Fawkes Day. This is when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament but his plan was discovered and he was executed along with his chums who were in league with him.
Now why we would want to celebrate a failure I have no idea but in these cash-strapped times I think our money – and that of those who should know better (Councils who hold massive firework displays) – could be better spent.
It is our pets that suffer during this time and there are a few sensible precautions to make to ensure that they are not frightened.
It’s a good idea to walk dogs during daylight hours and keep all pets – cats and dogs – indoors during firework season.
If you do have to go out, then close the windows and draw all the curtains to block out the bright flashing lights. Lock up the cat flap, leave the light on and a television or radio to try and muffle the noise of the fireworks.
Make sure your pet is in a safe environment where he cannot be hurt. If there is a sudden loud bang nearby, ensure all doors and the catflap are tightly closed so your pet cannot escape.
Giving your pet a safe haven to hide in is a good idea. This could be under a table, under the bed, even in a cupboard, or behind the sofa. A nice soft squidgy bed, some toys, and maybe even their food bowl or treats will help to make this experience less scary.
It’s important not to make a fuss of your pet as this will only reinforce his fearful behaviour. Far better to act as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening outside and use diversionary tactics such as playing with them, instead.
Your pet should never be punished if he is afraid. This will only make things worse in the long run. Having you nearby (acting nonchalant) will ease your pet so try to stay indoors with him. Watch television or listen to the radio as you would on any other evening.
If you follow these few tips, you will have a relaxed pet who won’t get anxious every time the firework season comes round.
One of my favourite cartoons is that of Garfield on the scales with a disdainful look on his face and a comment which says: ‘I’m not fat; I’m undertall for my height.’
I love that cartoon. Another favourite picture is that of a very round, very plump cat who says: ‘I’m not fat! I’m fluffy!’ And still another one where the cat is shrieking to its bewildered owners, ‘I’m not fat! It’s my glands!’ Even cats can conjure reasons to excuse their expanding waistlines, it seems.
Forget big bones. Forget extra fluffiness. If your cat’s undercarriage sweeps the floor as he walks, collecting dust or polishing the floorboards, or carves a groove in the carpet as he makes his frequent forays to his food bowl, it’s time to accept the truth – he’s overweight.
But the sad fact is that just as human obesity in the Western world has rocketed, and shocked the World Health Organisation with the figures, so too, has the obesity figures in our domestic pets causing our vets grave concern. Eight out of 10 vets are seeing increasing numbers of obese pets, yet 90% of pet owners believe that their pets are not overweight.