Halloween is right around the corner! I can’t believe it is already here. Halloween is a lot of fun for humans, but not always for our cats. I have 5 Halloween safety tips for you that can help make the holiday less of a trick and more of a treat for your kitties.
Title Image Credit: Werner Reischel via Flickr
Halloween Safety Tip #1: Keep your kitties indoors.
Cats should always be kept indoors. However, on Halloween, it is especially important that your kitties stay safely inside. In places where Halloween is celebrated across the U.S., Halloween night means that the neighborhoods will be flooded with children and their parents going door to door. This can lead to the following Halloween safety issues for a cat that is outdoors during this time:
- Anxiety and confusion due to the number of people, unfamiliar sights, smells, sounds, and behaviors. It is impossible to tell how a cat will react to this sort of environment. It is easy for cats to get lost when they are running around through a crowd.
- People will be driving around on the streets looking at the costumes and decorations – not watching for your cat to cross the road. There is a high risk for an outdoor cat being hit by a car on nights like Halloween.
- Black cats may not be evil, but some people really are, unfortunately. In all of the chaos of the night, it would be easy for a person with ill-intentions to take or harm your cat.
Even when keeping your cat indoors it is a good idea to put their ID tags on them for the night. If your cat happens to slip out the door while you aren’t watching, the ID can help your cat to be returned to you.
Halloween Safety Tip #2: Be careful with the costumes.
Cats in costumes are absolutely adorable. Still, you shouldn’t make a cat wear any costume that they are not comfortable wearing. If your cat is not fond of wearing costumes, you are in good company. My cats won’t wear them either. It is better to resort to photoshopping a costume onto your cat in a photo than to cause them the anxiety of wearing a costume they don’t like.
If your cat is comfortable wearing costumes, make sure they fit correctly. There shouldn’t be anything on the costume that your cat could bite off and potentially choke on ( like strings of beads). The costume should not impair your cat’s movement in any way or cover their ears, eyes, nose, or mouth. Good cat costumes will use light materials that won’t overheat your cat while they are wearing them. Should any part of the costume become a problem for your cat, simply remove it. Your cat will be adorable just being himself/herself.
Halloween Safety Tip #3: No candy for kitties.
The candy dish might be really tempting to your cat, but eating a few Halloween candies could turn out badly for him/her. Plastic wrappers and small hard candies could be choking hazards. Chocolate and caffeine are highly toxic to cats. If your cat ingests any toxic substance, call your veterinarian immediately. The ASPCA has an Animal Poison Control hotline (888) 426- 4435, but they charge a $65 fee.
There is no reason that your cat can’t have treats too, just make sure that they are cat-friendly. Stick to treats that are intended to be consumed by cats. Your cat may even enjoy a special treat of an unseasoned, small piece of human grade meat. My cats love pieces of baked chicken breast or pieces of whatever lunch meat I have on hand.
Halloween Safety Tip #4: Create a cat-safe area in your home.
For many cats, Halloween night (or a Halloween party) is a very high anxiety ordeal. It brings along with it a lot of unusual smells, sights, and unfamiliar people. It is best to give cats a place where they can retreat and hide for awhile.
Choose a room in your home that you can put them in and close the door during high traffic times. The other humans in your home should be instructed not to enter that room when the door is closed. Make sure that the cat has food, water, and a litter box in the room with them. You may even want to put a familiar noise on in the room like a television or radio station to drown out some of the other noises. Once all of the festivities end, don’t rush the cat out of hiding. They will come out as soon as their anxiety has gone down.
Halloween Safety Tip #5: Watch your cat around the decorations.
Decorations are a lot of fun, but you don’t want them to become dangerous for your cat. First of all, be sure that any lit candles or open flames are in places your cat can’t reach. Don’t forget that cats can jump! The last thing anyone needs is singed fur (or worse). The good news is that flameless candles work very well for jack-o-lanterns and other traditionally candle-lit decorations.
Second, watch cats carefully around decorations with electrical cords. Cats like to chew and pull on cords. You don’t want your kitty to get electrocuted, have a decoration fall on them, or get tangled up in the cord. Try to hide cords or tape them to walls and floors to make them less attractive to your cat.
Finally, don’t let your cats eat “edible” decorations. A pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out has begun to collect all kinds of bacteria (and who knows what else) that could make your kitty sick. Watch corn decorations as well. This can pick up bacteria, but more importantly, it is not species appropriate food for your cat.