Independence Day: Safety tips to keep your cats secure and happy…
Since Independence Day is just around the corner, many folks are already making preparations to celebrate our Nation’s Birthday with family and friends. The Singer family’s traditional menu for this festive occasion always includes Southern fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, coleslaw, french fries and, for dessert, chocolate cake and an apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream.
This said I have a sneaky suspicion that our kitties know that something is up. It seems the second I open the fridge to start preparing the chopped beef and preparing the chicken we will serve our guests, all of a sudden from out of the blue, our two young cats, Edgar Allen Poe and Mr. Aki fly into the kitchen and plop on the floor waiting for a treat. I am positive they are telling me that they too are gearing up to participate in this annual holiday event. It’s got to be the alluring scent of the raw beef and chicken that draws them like a moth to a flame into the kitchen.
They instantly start drooling, looking up at me, pleading for me to give them a taste, with their big beautiful eyes, which if you are as passionate about cats as I am, makes it almost impossible for me to resist them. I always end up giving them just a taste, but always before the meats go on the grill because barbeque sauces are too rich and spicy for them. I will dole out a few tidbits, but without the risk of upsetting their tummies.
As far as barbeques are concerned, to keep things safe for the cats, instead of using regular charcoal, we use a propane-fired grill. Lighter fluid fumes can be irritating to cats’ lungs and central nervous system if inhaled accidentally.
Since our holiday menu includes a huge tossed salad, an avocado dip, and a luscious concoction of mixed fruits, I politely remind our guests to be cautious if the cats are nearby, since avocados, grapes, raisins, garlic and onions can be toxic to cats. Chocolate and coffee can also be toxic to cats so when dessert time rolls around, once the cats are safely ensconced in our bedroom I feel more at ease. We would be very upset if the cats got sick should they manage to con one of the guests into giving them cake and iced coffee.
While it’s fun to have friends and family with us to share in the holiday celebration, at the same time it’s a priority to keep our cats secure. It’s critical to make arrangements to ensure that this extraordinary day is both fun and safe for us and our kitties.
Although July 4th is one of the country’s most widely celebrated holidays, it is actually the most dangerous ones for cats. The noisy parades, the tempting barbeques and the raucous firework displays we enjoy can be at the same time perilous for cats. In fact, these celebratory events can become extremely traumatic for them.
Because cats have acutely sensitive ears, they can be devastated by the cacophony of the unfamiliar sound of fireworks. To help prevent feline meltdown as the evening draws close, we bring them indoors; making sure all our windows are tightly closed. We turn up the A/C and tune the radio to a classical music station, but if this strategy doesn’t work, to comfort and reassure them, I sit with them in our bedroom for a while.
To achieve huge success for your Fourth of July celebration and safeguard your beloved fur kids, please keep a watchful eye on their behavior, their surroundings and what they are fed. Gauge when and if it is prudent to temporarily put them into a safe, quiet room so they remain calm. By taking these simple precautions, you can make July 4th one of the “safest” days for your kitties.
By: Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW (Ret.)