05 Dec Kitty Poppins and the Pawpocalypse
(in people-language: Noise Fear)
**Noise Fear Disclaimer: No kittens or puppies were harmed during this true story, that happened during what you people call A NEW YEAR’S EVE**
A night of noise fear begins
The first BANG was followed by the frantic sound of claws clicking against the floor. As a result, Sherlock Bones ran through the hallway and dived under the staircase. A faint whining sound reached my ears from within.
“What now…” I wondered and jumped down from the top of my throne: an antique bureau in the living room. After listening to the whimpering dog for a minute or two, I took a deep sigh and decided to investigate further. That’s what I do, after all. I’m the private catvestigator of my queendom.
I joined my shaking colleague under the stairs. And, just as I got Sherlock Bones to calm down and forget about the bang we heard from outside, it happened again. This time it was three loud bangs in a row. As result, the shivering dog backed against the staircase’s wall. So I strolled over to the window to see where the loud sound came from.
And then I realized something was terribly wrong. So I ran back to my colleague to ask him a question.
“Sherlock Bones, why are the curtains down?” I asked the dog, still hiding under the stairway.
“Is it Pawrmageddon, Kitty? Just tell me, I can take it!” he replied.
After another deep sigh, I slipped between the curtain and the windowsill. Because of my habit of working my claws on anything made of fabric, our people hardly ever have curtains covering the windows to my queendom. I reminded myself to use the opportunity and rip a few holes in the dark cloth. But first, I needed to find out where the loud banging sound was coming from.
Was another kitty-queendom attacking us? Was the neighbour bulldog playing pranks on us?
As I stared through the window and into darkness, suddenly, bright and colourful figurations appeared in the early night sky. With a two second delay, the loud banging sound followed. Sherlock Bones took off from under the stairs and sprinted hastily up to some new hiding spot on the second floor.
“Bones? It’s just some annoyingly loud colours in the sky. Come look.”
Not a peep.
I had no choice but to abort the investigation. While I made my way upstairs, another kind of a sound—a loud boom—echoed from outside. I followed Sherlock Bones’ howl into the master bedroom.
“Bones? It’s happening outside, not inside the queendom. You can come out.”
“Is it over? The pawpocalypse?”
As a confirmation, a dozen loud cracks reached our ears from the yard. Knowing that nothing I’d say to the whining dog, hiding under the bed, would get him to come out, I told him I’d continue with the investigations and come check on him in a few minutes.
A night of noise fear ends
Downstairs, another type of a sound filled the room. People call it music. But in my ears, it’s the same as Sherlock Bones whining. The music is louder than usual. So maybe Bones is right, maybe this is the end of the world?
“Um, excuse me? People? Can you turn that noise down and stop the explosions outside while your at it? Sherlock Bones is really scared and nothing I say or do is making him feel any better.”
Our people sat on the couch, sipping some suspiciously bubbly liquid from their stupid glasses. They told me “it’s okay” for the millionth time, and kept repeating something about “noise fear” and waving their hand. But I had my doubts about their carefree attitude. To confirm my mistrust, loud banging and cracking echoed from outside. But our people just started a weird countdown, followed by hugs and kisses and other nonsense.
“Happy New Year!” they kept yelling. And the explosions went on and on outside.
“Bunch of numb-wits…” I mumbled to myself as I made my way back upstairs o Sherlock Bones. After crawling under the bed, I snuggled close to the whimpering dog and laid down next to him.
There we stayed, hiding and waiting. After a few hours of restless napping, the outside fell silent. The music downstairs also stopped. A peaceful quietness fell over my queendom.
“See, Bones? No bad thing lasts forever.”
“It’s over now?” The sleepy dog lifted his head and looked at me, now less concerned but still shaken.
“I think so. Now go steal their shoes while I work my claws on those curtains.”
How can you help your noise anxious pet on New Year’s Eve?
Read these tips from Aptus
- Comfort your pet if it seeks for contact
Remember to remain calm and follow your normal routines to show your dog that nothing is wrong. If your dog comes to you for help, do what you can to offer comfort.
- Provide a safe place
Create a place where your dog can go to feel safe, surrounded by familiar objects such as dog beds, toys, and treats. Try to introduce the safe place when your dog is calm and unafraid, so he learns to associate the place with positive feelings. If your dog chooses to hide away when loud noises are happening, don’t intervene. He is simply trying to cope with the situation in a way that works for him.
- Play soothing music
Calm music can help your pet tune out the scary sounds coming from outside. Closing the curtains might also be helpful.
- Continuous pressure, thunder shirts, and anxiety wraps
Light but continuous pressure helps some pets to relax. There are a lot of options available for dog shirts and pressure wraps. For best results, give your dog a chance to get used to the pressure garment when she is neither anxious nor afraid.
- Behaviour modification
You can gradually teach your dog that noises are not scary through a process called “desensitisation and counter-conditioning.” This usually involves playing recorded versions of the scary noises, starting at such a low volume that your dog is not worried by them. If you increase the volume slowly over time so your dog does not show any signs of fear, you can gradually teach your dog not to be scared of noises at all. You should also teach your dog to associate the sounds with something positive, such as a game or a favorite treat.
- Calming treats
We recommend Aptus Relax calming chews for cats and dogs (https://www.aptuspet.com/product/aptus-relax/). Remember to give treats before the noises start or before the animal becomes too scared to eat. It’s also a good idea to give them a treat once they’ve calmed down.
- Ask for help
If you think your pet is worried about noises, we recommend contacting your veterinarian or an animal behaviourist in your area. There are a number of options available for pets that suffer from noise anxiety. Ask your vet which option would be best for your pet.