My friends and family have often had a chuckle at my expense when I cringe at the sound of a fire engine going by, or avoid a fireworks display due to the noise. However, your pets most likely feel very much the same as I do about loud noises, as can easily be witnessed by their behavior during the noisy thunderstorms or around a gunshot. With Fourth of July festivities on the way, it is helpful to know some of the signs of noise phobia in your pet and to be considerate of his welfare during this event.

Commonly seen signs of noise phobias include shaking or trembling; excessive drooling; barking or howling; trying to hide or get into or out of the house, fence, or other enclosure; refusing to eat food; and possibly loss of bowel or bladder control from prolonged stress. Unfortunately, your pet can't put his hands over his ears the way a human does, so they really have no defense. It doesn't matter if the fears are "rational" or not. It should be noted that scolding a frightened animal is not effective and will only intensify the fears. And yes, my family telling me that there is nothing to fear didn't do much to stop my reactions, either.

There are some things you can do to help reduce the stress your pet experiences: keep your pet home during noisy community events; keep your pet indoors - preferably with some soothing background noise such as television or music; provide a safe "escape" place where your pet can hide - something that is always available to him; use a leash or carrier if you do take your pet to a noisy event; and take your pet for a walk prior to the event to make sure he has a chance to "use the restroom" and get some of the energy out of his system. Taking these precautions will make this a more pleasant holiday for both you and your pet.

Our featured pet today is Creamsickle, a Domestic Longhair mix who is as sweet as his name. We don't know where this gentle fellow came from, as he was either lost or abondoned prior to coming to the shelter. He is definitely ready to find a new family, especially someone looking for a cat who is declawed. He is affectionate and playful, but also a definite lap cat. Creamsickle may reward you with kitty kisses if he feels inspired. He is a wonderful cat for someone who is looking for a lap cat with personality.

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