Whilst Halloween is a fun celebration for adults and children; for pets, the spookiest night of the year can be stressful and potentially dangerous. Here are four tips to help your feline friends stay safe and stress free this Halloween.
1. Keep your cat indoors and in a confined room
Even if your cat is usually an outdoor cat, keep them indoors on Halloween night. Cruel pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal or kill cats on Halloween night, and black cats are especially at risk. Better to be safe than sorry!
If you live in a neighborhood where ‘trick or treating’ is popular, chances are that your doorbell with ring incessantly and your door will constantly open and close to strangers in scary costumes making frightening noises on your doorstep. Even the most outgoing cats are likely to be scared by the noise and commotion. Reduce your cat’s anxiety levels by confining it to a secure room away from the noise and where it can’t dart for the door in panic. You don’t want to be looking for a scaredy-cat that’s bolted on Halloween night. If your cat does happen to escape make sure they are micro-chipped and wearing a collar with ID tags.
2. Trick or treat candies are not for cats
All varieties of chocolate – dark, milk, white – are dangerous to cats. Even small amounts of chocolate can cause heart attacks, and trigger a range of toxic reactions including death. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol (a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies, gum and baked goods) can also cause problems.
Please also be careful with candy wrappers. Cats love to play with shiny foil wrappers and crinkly cellophane, but ingesting these wrappers can cause intestinal blockages and vomiting.
3. Don’t let your cat start a fire
A carved Jack-o-lantern pumpkin is the perfect decoration at Halloween but think twice about adding a candle. Frightened cats darting through the house in panic can easily knock over a carved pumpkin with a candle burning inside and risk causing a household fire. Curious kittens are particularly at risk of being burned by flickering candle flames.
4. Be careful when dressing your cat in costume
Wearing a costume can cause your cat undue stress, so please don’t dress your cat in a Halloween costume unless you know they’ll love it. As an alternative to a head-to-paw costume, why not opt for a simpler Halloween fashion statement such as a bandana or collar.
If you do decide to dress your cat for Halloween, then it is vital that you ensure their costume is safe. It should not constrict their movement, hearing, vision or their ability to breathe, drink or meow. You may like to have a ‘trial run’, and see how your cat reacts to their costume before Halloween night. Be aware that synthetic fabrics can cause allergic reactions in some animals.
It goes without saying that pets in costume should never be left alone and unsupervised. Your cat may try to remove the costume or chew it, which if ingested could cause choking or intestinal obstruction. If your cat attempts to escape the Halloween party, you risk their costume getting caught on a fence or tree branch as they flee.
Image: Cameron via Flickr