About hunting dogs and fireworks? It ain't necessarily so. When I was a kid, one of my uncles lived with us, and he was an avid hunter. We also had a mostly-spaniel dog that absolutely loved to hunt as well. The problem was that some idiot kids from down the road threw firecrackers at her and scared the bejazzus out of her. After that, she was terrified of fireworks or thunder- but not of gunfire, because then she knew where the noise was coming from. It was so bad that once she broke away, and I found her almost half a mile from home, with her tether entangled in a hedgerow.Casper is okay about small fireworks like bottle rockets and firecrackers but he doesn't like mortars and M-80s.
He'll startle when he hears the first couple of reports but, after a minute, he just settles down to a "moderately annoyed" state. He gets a look like he's saying, "Aw, GEEZ! Not THIS crap again?!" Then he'll go find a spot and settle down until it's over.
When the big ones go off Casper dives under the bed. We're happy to let him hide there until the fireworks are over.
I don't think that Casper is afraid of the fireworks as much as he is annoyed by them. If he was afraid, he'd hide even from the small ones. I think it's more about the fact that cats' ears are more sensitive.
When it rains, outside, humans hear the pitter-pat of the raindrops and think it sounds okay. To a cat, that pleasant pitter-pat probably sounds like a million marbles cascading into a giant frying pan. I don't think that the sound of fireworks from a distance would be painful to a cat but more like the level of annoyance a person feels when they are trying to have a conversation when a jet flies overhead. (Close up, the sound of fireworks probably is somewhat painful to a cat's ears, depending upon circumstances.)
I do know that when it comes to things like this, our pets DO mirror our emotional reactions. If we get upset about things, the cat or dog will get upset, too. Pets see their humans as leaders. They take their cues from us.
My mother has a Brittany Spaniel (hunting dog) that lives indoors with the family. Whenever there are fireworks, Mom gets all worked up and upset because she thinks that the dog is afraid of them.
Every year, I tell her, "Mom! He's a HUNTING DOG! Hunting dogs are used to GUNFIRE! Fireworks are nothing compared to that!"
Every time, she replies, "But...But...But..."
I tell her, "The only reason the dog acts afraid is because of YOU!"
A few years ago, on the day after our family July Fourth picnic, I was outside, cleaning things up when I found a few unexploded firecrackers so I lit them off just to get rid of them. The dog was outside at that time, just sniffing around and doing "dog things." He was probably fifty yards away from me. When he heard the first firecracker, he turned toward me to see what the sound was but, once he realized what it was, he went back to "dogging around" like he was, before.
I think this is a perfect example of the way dogs and cats mirror the reactions of their humans.
When it comes to Casper, we humans act like, "Oh, crap!" and that's, pretty much how he acts.
My advice to others goes along the same lines: Just stay calm and let your cat do what it wants. If YOU act upset, the cat will act upset but, if you act calm the cat will probably be calm, too.
Just make sure that the cat has a place to hide out if it wants to. Mainly, this is because it gives the cat a place where the noise won't bother its sensitive ears so much.
If your cat gets really, really bothered by fireworks, you might want to call your vet and ask if they can give you some tranquilizers for the cat.
If it's like an emergency and your cat is totally freaking out, despite the fact that you are modeling calm behavior, you can use Benadryl in a pinch. Benadryl does have sedative effects like tranquilizers. However, best practice is to call your vet and get advice first before you give your cat ANYTHING.
Best advice for the Fourth of July: Stay calm and enjoy your cookout.