Australia Day is an important celebration of the nation’s history, culture, and achievements. It marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet, made up of 11 convict ships from Great Britain in 1788, as well as the raising of the Flag of Great Britain by Governor Arthur Phillip at Sydney Cove. Celebrated on 26 January each year, it is a day for all Australians to come together to remember and reflect on the essence of what it means to be an Australian.
In the midst of all the excitement, as we celebrate the nation and its citizens, it’s important to remember that our cats can be affected by the festivities too. Fireworks, loud noises, and the general busyness of the day can cause anxiety and stress in cats. To make sure your cat stays safe on Australia Day, here are some useful safety tips to follow. By being proactive in keeping your cat calm and comfortable, you will help ensure that they have a pleasant day as well.
The 15 Australia Day Safety Tips for Cats
1. Keep Your Cat Away From the BBQ
On Australia Day, burn injuries from BBQs can easily occur if cats get too close. It’s important to take steps in order to keep your cat away from the BBQ and prevent burns. Consider having someone at the BBQ that is dedicated to watching out for any roaming kitties and making sure they keep a safe distance away from the heat source. If possible, set up indoor boundaries so that your pet cannot wander freely outside when guests are present.
2. Don’t Allow Your Cat to Eat Indiscriminately
Cats can easily get into trouble on Australia Day due to the abundance of food and drinks at barbecues and get-togethers. Don’t allow your cat to consume anything from the barbecue or other snacks as some foods may not agree with their tummies. Additionally, many human foods can also contain ingredients such as onions or garlic which cats cannot tolerate. It’s best to stick with their regular diet and avoid letting them eat things that may cause digestive issues such as vomiting or diarrhea.
3. Are Costumes Necessary?
Australia Day is just around the corner, and many cat owners are considering dressing their furry friends up, but is it really necessary? It’s important to consider your pet’s safety before making a decision. Dressing cats up for Australia Day can be fun, but there are some potential risks you should be aware of. Overheating can occur if the costume is too thick or trapping in heat, and your cat may suffer minor to major discomfort as a result. If you absolutely must dress up your kitty, make sure that whatever costume you choose allows them plenty of movement. Cats need to be able to move freely and not feel restricted by their outfit; otherwise, they will become increasingly stressed out and uncomfortable. You can always just attach a small flag to your kitty’s collar.
4. Is the Beach Cat-Friendly?
As many of us scatter outdoors to celebrate the holiday, it’s important to remember that our cats are part of the celebrations too. Make sure to check if cats are allowed on your chosen beach before you take them there! Some beaches have restrictions in place for cats due to local wildlife and marine life populations that need protecting. If you’ve got a particular beach in mind, then call ahead or do some research online, so you know what rules apply before setting out with your cat.
5. Prevent Sunburn
Sunburn can be painful and dangerous for cats, so keep your cat indoors during peak sun hours. The harshest rays are between 10 am and 4 pm, so keeping your furry friend inside should help them avoid any potential sunburns. If they do need time outdoors, make sure they have a shady spot or shelter to escape the heat. You can also apply pet-safe sunscreen to their fur if they tolerate it—just make sure you use products designed specifically for pets! In addition to avoiding direct sunlight exposure, pay attention to areas of their body that may be more vulnerable—like ears and noses.
6. Lifejackets on the Water
The festivities often include trips to the beach or lake, but before you take your cat out on the water, consider investing in a lifejacket for their safety. Lifejackets designed specifically for pets are becoming increasingly popular as they provide extra buoyancy and protection from drowning. Not only do they keep your beloved companion safe from harm, but the bright colors make them easier to spot should they ever fall overboard.
It’s important to note that not all cats will take kindly to lifejackets so it’s essential to buy one well in advance and get them comfortable wearing it. Try training your cat by rewarding them with treats when they wear them, this will help reduce their anxiety levels when taking them out on boats during Australia Day celebrations.
7. Keep Hydrated
During this time of year, temperatures can be soaring, and pet cats can suffer from dehydration if they don’t have access to fresh water. Make sure your cat has plenty of shade and cool areas in which to relax during hot weather. A sunny spot with a kitty hammock is a great way for them to take refuge from the intense heat. It’s also important that you provide clean drinking water at all times—cats need approximately 50ml per kilogram of body weight each day, so make sure there is an ample supply for your furry friend throughout the summer.
8. Don’t Leave Your Cat in the Car
Every year, cats are left in hot cars and suffer from extreme temperatures. To prevent any potential harm from happening to your cat this Australia Day, never leave your cat in a car on a hot day. Even with the windows down, temperatures can still climb quickly inside a car and cause serious heatstroke or dehydration for your kitty. If you are planning on attending an event that doesn’t allow pets, make sure to leave them at home in a cool environment with plenty of water and food available.
9. Keep Them Inside During the Fireworks
While it’s an exciting time for people to come together and share in the festivities, cats, in particular, can suffer from anxiety due to fireworks and other loud noises associated with the occasion. Make sure that your cat is securely indoors during any fireworks displays. Cats have extremely sensitive hearing and can become easily disoriented by loud noises, which could lead them to run away or become lost if they are outside. It’s best to keep them inside where they feel most comfortable and ensure that all doors and windows are closed tightly so they cannot escape.
10. Update Identification and Microchip Information
In addition to keeping them indoors and away from loud noises and unfamiliar people, it is essential to update identification tags and microchip information. Identification tags are one of the most important aspects of pet safety. Every cat should wear a collar with an ID tag that includes their name, address, and contact details. This will ensure that your cat can be easily identified if they become lost or wander off during celebrations.
Additionally, ensure all microchip information is up to date by visiting your local vet or animal shelter before the holiday begins. Scared kitties can often escape their homes and backyards when fireworks displays become too intense for them to handle. This will help speed up the process of finding you should your pet become lost during festivities on Australia Day.
11. Background Noise
Noise can be frightening for cats as their hearing is more sensitive than humans. Therefore, owners should take extra care to help reduce the effect of loud noises on their pets by providing a safe area that is quiet and away from any potential disturbances, such as fireworks or large groups of people. Additionally, playing soothing music or turning on the radio can act as background noise which may help mask sudden loud sounds and provide comfort for your feline friend.
12. Play Distracting Games
Start by ensuring that your cat is in a safe environment away from all loud noise and commotion on Australia Day. Provide them with lots of toys, such as scratching posts, interactive laser pointers or feather toys to keep them occupied. Playing hide-and-seek or fetch also makes for an enjoyable distraction for cats during busy days like this one!
13. Tire Them Out
One way of helping to keep your cat calm is by tiring them out before they can get overwhelmed by all of the commotion outside. Taking them on an extended walk or playing with their favorite toy can help to wear them out before they’re exposed to any potential dangers associated with fireworks and other festivities. Similarly, ensuring they have plenty of food and water during this time will also help keep them content throughout the day.
14. Speak to Your Vet About Medication
For cats, in particular, a vet consultation can be a necessary step in ensuring their safety over the Australia Day long weekend. Medication can be an effective tool for protecting cats from extreme stress reactions. It is especially important for owners of older cats or cats with medical conditions to speak to their vet about which type of medication may best suit their pet’s needs. Medication can act as a protective layer against becoming completely overwhelmed on this very busy day.
15. Supervise Your Cat Around Children
Always supervise cats when they’re around kids. This will help prevent any accidents or misunderstandings that could arise should they start playing too roughly with each other. It’s also a good idea to set some ground rules—like no picking up or chasing after the cat—so everyone knows what’s expected of them. Additionally, make sure you provide plenty of toys for both the children and cats to play with; this will give them something else to focus on besides each other.
In conclusion, Australia Day is a great time to celebrate with friends and family, but it’s important to take precautions to ensure your cat stays safe. Following these safety tips will help keep your feline friend healthy and happy during the festivities. Be sure to keep an eye on your pet at all times, particularly around fireworks displays or when taking them out for a drive. Additionally, make sure their environment is comfortable and secure so they don’t feel any stress or anxiety. Happy Australia to you and your four-legged friend!
Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock