Tag: Fourth of July

If Your Cats Aren’t As Brave As Buddy, Keep An Eye On Them This 4th Of July

Here in ‘Merica, more pets go missing on July 4 weekend than at any other time in the year.

While you’re firing up the grill, catching up with friends and having a few beers, your poor cat — or dog — could be suffering from spiking anxiety, especially if you live in a neighborhood like mine where kids are constantly setting off fireworks on the nights leading up to the holiday.

Nationally, animal control departments across the nation report a 30 to 60 percent jump in missing pet reports during the holiday weekend, according to statistics compiled by PetAmberAlert. Private shelters see a similar size uptick in lost cats and dogs who end up in the system. All kinds of cats are at risk for bolting, but Persians, Siamese and domestic shorthairs top the list, according to the lost pet tracking service.

We all know that Buddy is a particularly brave cat who once defeated a fly in single combat, has never lost a duel with a stuffed animal, and has a sterling reputation for facing down even the most terrifying threats. Buddy’s also got an advantage thanks to growing up less than a block from a public park where our town hosts its annual Independence Day fireworks show. The little guy has been hearing — and seeing — fireworks this time of year since he was a kitten, so he just shrugs it off.

If your cat isn’t as incredibly brave as Buddy, however, there are precautions you can take:

  1. Make sure Fluffy has a secure, up-to-date collar and a microchip.
  2. Keep your cat(s) in a closed area of the house or in one room before sundown, and make sure there are no open windows. Places to hide are okay as long as you can keep track of who’s hiding.
  3. Distract, and deaden or mitigate the sound. You can distract your furry friends with toys, a new box to play with or some catnip, which can act like a sedative if your cat eats it. Turn on the stereo and choose something you know has a calming effect on your cat(s).
  4. If your little one is especially anxious or jumpy, consider a pheromone diffuser like Feliway and/or a ThunderShirt. Make sure you get one for cats, not dogs.
  5. Play with your feline friend(s) before sundown to tire them out before fireworks start. Things’ll go a lot easier if your cat lays down for a nap and some relaxing music muffles the booming outside.
  6. Screen videos of Buddy the Cat. His heroic demeanor and cool under pressure will inspire your cat(s) to rise to the occasion.

Good luck!

*Claims about Buddy’s bravery are not to be taken literally. Exceptions to Buddy’s bravery include sudden movements, rustling paper bags, vacuums, truck backup beepers, images of Steven Tyler, certain smartphone ringtones, the Seinfeld theme music, blenders, oscillating fans, oven timer chimes, the Windows 10 error sound, Tic-Tacs rattling, certain types of snoring, and the sound of his own farts. This is not a comprehensive list, and Buddy may be startled and/or terrified by other sensory input.

In Ukraine, Cats and Dogs Suffer Along With Their Human Companions

If you’ve got a cat who doesn’t handle the Fourth of July well and gets freaked out by the annual fireworks, imagine that multiplied by about a thousand, with no respite.

Then imagine that, instead of reassurance from calm humans who know the explosions are just part of a celebration, the cats and dogs of cities like Kiev pick up on the anxiety of the people around them, sensing their fear, reading their body language.

War takes a terrible toll on humanity, a fact that’s been well-documented for centuries, but much less has been written about the suffering and fate of animals in the crossfire of forces they can’t comprehend. (One outstanding take on animals in war is 2006’s Pride of Baghdad, a heartbreaking account of four lions who escaped Baghdad Zoo as US bombs rained down on the Iraqi capital. While Pride of Baghdad is a fictionalized account of what happened to those lions, the story is sadly, infuriatingly true and remains one of the lesser-known accounts among the tens of thousands of stories told about the toll of that war.)

In Ukraine, where the Russian military has taken control of the local airspace and destroyed the country’s airports, people are taking their pets and what possessions they can as they try to escape by land via routes to the border that are backed up by 15 miles or more.

Ukrainian soldier with stray cat
A soldier holds a cat in Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine. Credit: Aleksey Filippov

Meanwhile, as all men of fighting age have been called to stay, stray dogs have been a comfort to Ukrainians on the front line. The soldiers feed the dogs, and the hyper-vigilant dogs alert the soldiers to any unusual activity they pick up on.

“She immediately barks or growls if the enemy is planning an attack. It’s safer and calmer with her – no wonder they say that a dog is man’s best friend,” a 21-year-old Ukrainian soldier named Mykyta told Agency France-Presse as he gave an affectionate pet to a dog adopted by his unit.

Stray cats are cozying up to the soldiers as well. Dmytro, a 29-year-old soldier, said a black cat he named Chernukha has kept him company and helped him cope.

“You come back to the post, lie down on the bed, and here comes Chernukha,” Dmytro told AFP. Chernukha “lies on your stomach and looks at you as if she wants to be petted. It’s a sedative.”

Like many Ukrainians, staff and volunteers who man the country’s shelters have remained defiant and refused to leave. In Kiev, staff at Best Friends shelter are rationing food and trying to locate more.

“It is very difficult and scary for [the animals] and for us. Due to the fighting, suppliers of food for animals are not working,” a shelter staffer told Newsweek. “We need help now with animal food and its transportation to the shelter. We will also be grateful for the financial support.”

Getting food is already difficult and will become more so as Russian troops push further into the capital and civilians hunker down in homes, basements and bomb shelters.

Nastya Aboliesheva, who works for Kiev-based Happy Paw shelter, said “no one is willing to risk their lives to deliver what is needed.”

“Our work now remains important and necessary, because animals do not understand what is happening and also need food and treatment….the main thing that people can help now is not to throw their animals at random, but to be near them or to evacuate with the animals,” she said. “We very much hope that local authorities in Kyiv and other cities will allow people to take animals in boxes to bomb shelters.”

Top image: A Ukrainian soldier petting a cat. Credit: AFP

Happy 5th Of July: Buddy Is Back!

We wish you a very Happy 5th of July: The Return of Buddy!

buddyhappy5th

To mark the occasion, we sat down with everyone’s favorite ridiculous cat for a short interview:

Hey Buddy! What’s up with you lately?

I took a short hiatus. That’s pronounced HI – YAY – TUSS. It sounds like a snack little Roman boys would eat.

We noticed. What have you been doing for the past few weeks?

Eating turkey, working on my meowscles, eating more turkey, and learning to tapdance.

Tapdance?

Yeah, well, I figured if I was gonna wear the hat you see in the picture, I should at least know how to tap dance.

So we hate to rain on your parade, little guy, but shouldn’t it be Happy FOURTH of July?

No.

Why not?

Because the 4th has those infernal things humans call fireworks! I’m not as bothered by them as the dogs in my neighborhood or some of the cats I know, because I’m very brave, but the locals have been setting off fireworks for the last few days you know, blowing off their fingers and stuff, and it’s very taxing when I’m just trying to enjoy a nap.

There’s an amusement park a few miles away, and that interrupted my traditional Sunday Evening Nap. It was vexing.

Right. Just a minor annoyance for you, but fireworks can be very frightening for our lesser four-legged friends.

Exactly. July 5th has no fireworks but it has barbecue leftovers, so you get the barbecue without the explosions.

Also — and this is important — the Yankees don’t play on July 5, which means they can’t possibly lose, which means Big Buddy won’t be all annoyed and stuff, and half-ass my massage.

They suck this year, don’t they?

That’s what I’m told. I usually sleep through their games.

Well it’s good to  have you back, Bud!

I’m glad to be back. And to my loyal fans, you can start sending me turkey again. It’ll go to good use! SEND SEND!