Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I mean, come on: Costumes + Candy = PAWesome! But honestly, it’s probably not one of our pets’ favorite days – lots of noise (including fireworks and firecrackers in some areas), unfamiliar people wearing masks, and potential hazards abound! On a holiday that is meant to be playfully creepy, if we don’t keep the safety of our pets in mind, Halloween can be a truly frightening experience for them. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few tips to keep your cats safe and spook-free throughout the week prior to, and following, Halloween.
Tips for Cat Safety on Halloween
- Keep your cats inside. This is probably the most important thing you can do. Unfortunately, some people seek out cats (especially black cats, due to silly and false superstitions) for nefarious deeds around this time of year (or even just mean pranks), so please just keep your kitties inside. If you can keep them in for a week before and after Halloween, that’s even better.
- Make sure your cats have proper identification. Even if you plan to keep your cats indoors, accidents happen, and your cat might accidentally slip outside while you greet trick-or-treaters. Ensure that your cat doesn’t get lost by having her wear a reflective collar with ID tags, and have her microchipped. This is a good thing for your cat to have year-round, not just on Halloween!
- On Halloween night, it’s best to keep your cats in a safe, quiet room. You don’t want your cat to be scared by the doorbell, firecrackers, the sounds or sights of unfamiliar people wearing costumes and masks, or to accidentally slip out the door (see above). Set them up in their own kitty spa room with food, water, a litterbox, comfortable bedding, and their favorite toys. If your kitty is particularly skittish, you might want to have a fan going or some music playing so that any unfamiliar sounds are masked. Another thing you can do is cover your doorbell with a Halloween decoration or a sign asking to knock so that visitors will avoid ringing the doorbell. I know all of my kitties scatter when the doorbell rings, so keep this in mind if your cats don’t like the doorbell, either!
- Safety first when it comes to costumes and decorations! Don’t use candles, use battery-powered flickering tea lights! Cats are drawn to those dancing, flickering flames, and their tails seem to have a mind of their own when it comes to investigating candles. And, make sure that all electrical cords for light-up decor are out of reach, and that dangly-jangly-sparkley costume and home decorations are secure. Your cat might like to play with them because they are visually interesting, but they are BAD NEWS if they are accidentally eaten. It costs a lot of moolah to have things removed from your pet’s stomach, and they can cause fatal blockages if not caught quickly.
- Limit the use of cat costumes. Seriously, your cat does not enjoy wearing costumes, even if she IS incredibly adorable in them! If you must dress your kitty up, do so just long enough to take a few pictures and then take the costume off. Never let your costumed pet out of sight – she might accidentally get caught up on something, or accidentally eat a part of her costume. Further, avoid costumes with elastic, which may be too tight and restrict circulation, and avoid costumes that restrict or flatten whiskers, as this can even be painful for your kitty. The best thing to do is to digitally add Halloween costumes and decor onto your pet AFTER taking pictures of her!
- Keep an eye on the treats! Generally, cats aren’t drawn to candy because they can’t really taste sweetness in foods. However, dogs will eat chocolate, and that is NOT good for pooches – it can actually poison them and be fatal if they eat enough of it. So please make sure that all Halloween treats are kept out of reach of your curious and snack-demanding furry friends! And, make sure to keep empty wrappers out of reach, too – they make fun crinkly sounds but aren’t so fun if they are accidentally eaten.
See, it’s not so hard to keep your cat safe on Halloween! The holiday doesn’t have to be horrifying for your pets – keep them safe, and they’ll be around for many more holidays to come!