I wish it were mere myth. Though dogs are usually not the target of Halloween season pranksters, black cats have historically suffered abuse during this time of year.

When it happens, it’s usually at the hands of those who consider burning, hanging or otherwise torturing felines an appropriate form of "celebration."

The cultural drive behind this gruesome activity hearkens back to the superstitions surrounding black cats as harbingers of evil. However, this modern twist on the classic smacks more of the psychopathic than it does the traditional fear-based behavior our ancestors engaged in.

Though black "Halloween"-style cats seem to be prized by these sadists, all cats should be considered potential prey for this seasonal attack. And it’s not just Halloween night, though that’s the day I always urge my cat-owning clients to be most on the alert. Cats have also been known to be victimized in the weeks leading up to the date.

Every year, the news media reports on these crimes against cats, most of which seem to be forgotten by the time the next season rolls around. So here’s where I offer you this advice:

  1. If possible, keep all cats (especially black cats) indoors during the month of October –– especially at night, when most of the predation seems to occur.  
  2. Keep bright collars on your cats so it’s clear they are owned and loved. Believe it or not, even the most evil-minded of humans among us can muster the occasional bout of conscience. 
  3. Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, whether you own a cat or not. Now that fewer children engage in traditional trick-or-treating, the streets are emptier and quieter. Consider keeping a special neighborhood vigil on Halloween to protect your closest neighbors’ pets. 
  4. If you expect trick-or-treaters, keep all your pets indoors and well-contained. Whether they’re in crates or in a bedroom, make sure they are unable to run outside. This is a big risk during Halloween, when costumed invaders come a-knocking, causing stress for dogs and cats across the country. 

Any more Halloween pet safety recommendations? Please share them here. 

Dr. Patty Khuly