Coffee Talk is Back

Hi everybody. Welcome back. Sorry, we haven’t been here in a while. We’ve been very busy.
Yeah, pretty much. We’ve had a pretty busy summer so far.
Yeah. My name is Erica Barron and this is our head technician here at Nova Cat Clinic, Ellen Carozza. And today, we thought it would make sense to talk to you about the upcoming holiday, The Fourth of July. Because, as many people in the pet industry know, it’s the day of the year that the most pets go missing.  

The stress of the 4th of July

Yup, pretty much. And it’s usually just due to common misconceptions about common sense dealing with your pets during the holiday season. Because everybody’s wanting to party, and host barbecues and whatnot. And they forget about the one person in their family that doesn’t understand what’s happening. It’s so stressful. And it’s just like any other holiday that we always talk about, it’s a stressful situation. And The Fourth of July, unfortunately, is really stressful because not only is there strange people in the house, different smells, and now there’s sudden loud noises.

The noise

The noise. The noises that are so scary. Because remember dogs and cats hear much better than we do. They don’t see as well as we do, and instead, they can smell and hear better. So if something sounds like a gun is going off multiple times, and if you didn’t know what was going on, that makes sense that that was scary. Don’t you think?
Right. That fight or flight response is way up here.
And then the other problem is it’s not even– I feel it’s not even the big fireworks that are happening. It’s the random people that set off little things. And it’s like, all of a sudden, you hear like five or six over there. That would be really unnerving if you were a dog or a cat.  

Fireworks

Right. So common sense would be if you knew you had a cat or a dog that was very sensitive to fireworks. Well, you don’t set them off in your yard. You go somewhere else to maybe go see the firework show. Or if you do know that you do have fireworks that happen on your street that maybe you need to do something for your pet ahead of time.

Especially, if you know that last year that this happened maybe you need to prepare ahead of time. Because you never know how they’re going to react or what’s going to happen. You have some dogs, or even some cats, that get so freaked out that they’ll jump through windows, they’ll scratch doors down, they’ll hurt themselves, they’ll hurt the people around them, they go missing, they get hit by cars. They go to the bathroom. Everywhere they throw up. They’re just sitting there shaking. The poor things

Things to help your cat with 4th of July stress

So I think if you know if this is an issue for your pets,  that you should do a lot of the things that we’ve talked about before. Like before you take them to the vet clinic, what do you do? I would probably get something from your vet to help them kind of calm down. I don’t think it’s wrong to put on like white noise things that help lessen it. Unless it’s like next door or on the ground or whatever. But the main thing for me, on The Fourth of July, is I just want everyone to have a microchip. Because if they get out that’s your way to find them.

Possible Cat Loss

Right, and they might not get out because of the fireworks. They might get out because somebody left the backdoor open. Because a guest is coming and going and they have an arm full of food, and there goes the cat, or there goes the dog, or you know. Something else occurs when you’re not paying attention, which is usually one of the biggest reasons why pets go missing on these holidays. These people just forget that they exist for some reason, and then five hours later they’re like, “Where’s Fluffy?”
Yes, yes. I think the other two things to remember around The Fourth of July, which kind of has to do with summer in general, would be  – and I don’t feel like this happens as much in cats. I feel like this is more of a dog thing – but I know some cats that go outside on walks and things like that. If it’s hot out bring water for them, or maybe don’t take them out for long, or take them out first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. You can make it the last thing.

Prevent Heat Stroke

Yeah. The last thing we want  is for someone to get a heatstroke. That’s not fun for anybody, especially not– and it’s totally preventable.
Yep. That was one of the biggest things when you and I both worked at big box stores so many years ago. That was one of the biggest calls that you would hear over loudspeakers is that there was somebody whose dog or cat was in the car with the windows rolled up in the summertime and then we would give them, “You have one minute to get to your car, staff members will be there with you, or we’re calling the cops and we’re going to break a window.”
Yeah. I feel like that happened a lot.

Prevention

I feel like I used to see that a lot in the ER in the summer and it was always frustrating. Or it was like the kid that went rollerblading with the golden retriever and the golden retriever was a golden retriever and just wanted to make everybody happy. And they kept going and going and going and a couple days later they still couldn’t get the dog’s temp under 105. It was really sad. So just common sense things with your cats in the summer. And then the other thing is if you’re having a party and the door’s open a lot and people are coming in and out, there’s nothing wrong with having your pets on flea prevention and intestinal parasite prevention. Whichever product you want to use, that’s not the discussion we’re having, I’m just saying it’s summer, things come in and out. Have them on prevention.
Yeah. So now as a veterinarian and you have– say if you have a client that can’t medicate their pet or they just haven’t been to us in a long time so they can’t come and get something prescription-strength to help their pet. What could they do at home to kind of help dampen the senses down to kind of make this holiday season a little less stressful for them with the Fourth of July coming up?  

Easy supplements to help

So one thing you could get over the counter would be Zylkene or Anxitane. That’s a milk casein supplement you can put in the food. You could also try FELIWAY. I feel like if you do a bunch of these things together it might help. It’s not going to be like me giving you a sedative that would help. But if you haven’t been to the vet in a while that might help. If you do a couple of the things I’m discussing. Some people really like Rescue Remedy.

Other non-medication methods

And then the other thing I would do is just try to deafen the noise. Maybe put some blankets up over the windows to try to make it so it doesn’t vibrate as much or put on sound machines. Maybe be with your pet during the fireworks so they’re not alone by themselves and freaked out. Because that’s one of the problems like, “Okay. So my family’s gone and it sounds like the world is exploding.” That would be scary. So maybe don’t see the fireworks or watch the ones on TV or go to the ones that aren’t close to you the next weekend or something. Those would be the things I would think about. Is there anything you can think of?

Anxiety

No. I think you made a lot of the major points is that we have to make
sure that we kind of get that audio/visual sensory dampened down quite a bit for them. And try to reduce the anxiety either on the pheromone
level or overstimulating the hypothalamus or on the chemical level.
I want to say a lot of people’s cats are anxiety driven or whatever. But I think a lot of people take for granted that if they don’t think their
cat is stressed because they’re real stoic not showing that they’re stressed, they’re just not aware of their body language on how their cat actually
emotes their stressful senses. Just looking at their face sometimes if
they’re here at the clinic we can tweak and tell just by looking at the cat’s face that this cat is stressed out and it’s not happy. While at home they’ll be like, “Well, that’s normal for him.” And they have those super
stressful, hustle and bustle kind of household. Well, your cat might be at a level 6 its whole entire life and then all of a sudden where we go to something that’s like a level 11, go right to there. Versus the cat that’s like, “Yeah.” Nothing fazes them and nothing may faze that cat. So it’s really important for you to actually be in tune to your cat’s personality. And if you know that you have a high-anxiety level a lot of times people will actually make their pets at their anxiety level, as well. And that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. If they’re an anxious person, their pets– and
we see a lot in medicine that their pets have that same anxiety level.
I mean, it’s the same thing with people and their kids. If you’re always up here a lot of times your kid is maybe not as high but a little lower.  

Reaction to Stress and prevention

Right. They’re being taught those– that’s their normal [laughter].
So then you’re bringing it up a lot higher. So I think you touch on a lot of the important things. I think a lot of it really does boil down to common sense around the holidays. That if you know your pet does not respond appropriately and is very stressed in situations then maybe you shouldn’t put him in that stressful situation in the first place [laughter].
And just skip out on the holiday if you have to.
Or maybe you don’t have the barbeque at your house. If there’s–
Do something different.
You can lock those animals up in a room while you have guests over.
Believe it or not, that is a stressor even though it’s protecting them from what is going on. It’s a significant stressor especially if you put a cat in a room that they never allowed in.
Or if it’s like, “Why is my litterbox in a different place? My litterbox is
in a different place. Ah.”
Right. “I don’t get fed in the kitchen. Why am I being fed in the bedroom all of a sudden?” So these are stressors everybody needs to kind of really kind of focus on. When they think a day is not going to make a difference. A day to a cat is like a week to us sometimes. You have to remember that they age a lot faster so if sometimes they see time a lot differently
than what we do, as well. So you really have to be mindful that your cat is on a very different stress level and look at the environment completely different. And we tend to anthropomorphize our pets.
Instead of actually understanding cat. That’s always a big problem.

Future Pod Cast

Cool. Well, if you don’t have any questions or if you think of some later and you’d like to shoot us an email. And just let us know how we can help you further. Thanks. We’ll try to do one more than once every two or
three months.    
Again, we’re trying to figure out how to make all this into longer-lasting podcasts. We’re hoping for maybe like 20-30 minute podcasts that
you’ll be able to download on all the big podcast areas.
So if you have any
experience doing podcasting and you want to share your experiences with us, try to make us a little bit more successful– because we’re always in a time crunch when we’re doing our coffee talks. But we want to make
sure that we’re able to give you a lot more detailed information and
actually bring in some fantastic guests.