I stayed home with my cats on Fourth of July this year. I know, this does not sound like earth-shattering news, but it is around here. Since I work out of a home office, I use any excuse to get out of the house, especially on holidays. On Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve and my birthday, going out is absolutely required. On Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Fourth of July, I have to have a barbecue or a party to attend. These holiday outings keep me from feeling like too much of a hermit.
Normally, on Independence Day, I go out without thinking twice about my cats back at home. We live in an area where fireworks are “forbidden” (not that that stops a lot of people from setting them off), and our street, lined with nice homes, is in a fire hazard area. So the noise isn’t as bad here as other places and the fireworks are usually pretty far off. If the cats wanted to hide under the bed for the evening, it wasn’t that big of a deal. But now I have Summer to consider, and keeping her outgoing and brave is a priority if I want to continue taking her out places, competing in cat shows, and eventually get her certified as a therapy cat. I didn’t want some loud booms to spook her in my absence. And I certainly couldn’t take her out with me – even the bravest kitty can startle and bolt out of her harness with the type of noise created on the Fourth. So even though there was a party I could have gone to, I opted to keep Summer company, and do everything I could to distract her from the noise happening outside.
I may have not been at a party on the Fourth, but Summer probably thought she was because every time there was any amount of noise, she either got treats or playtime. When I was working at the computer and too busy to give her either, I shut all the windows and turned the noisy wall A/C unit to Max. She did notice the noise, but whenever she did, a treat or a toy was shoved in her face. She was pretty thrilled. Her current favorite toy is one of those flying critters on a fishing pole-type stick, and I had her chasing it all over the living room. I even had her jumping on the little table by the open window where all the noise was going on. For most cats and dogs, Independence Day, with its explosions and loud whistles, is their least liked holiday, but I gave Summer such a good time, she probably now considers it her favorite.
By the end of the night, Summer was lying in a happy, exhausted heap on the living room rug. I was just exhausted. My fiancé came upstairs, looked at Summer and said, “See? These cats don’t care about the fireworks.”