While Halloween may be a fun and exciting time for your kids, your cat may find it more stressful than fun. A steady stream of strangers ringing the doorbell, all wearing strange costumes and shouting "Trick or Treat," may be enough to send even the most courageous cat over the edge.
And even if the trick-or-treaters do not bother your cat, there’s still plenty of trouble for him to find. Keep your cat safe at Halloween with the following tips:
- Especially for black cats, Halloween is a dangerous time. However, any cat is at risk outdoors after dark on Halloween. Make sure your cat is confined indoors well before the sun sets. Personally, I prefer my cats to remain indoors year-round but for those of you who allow your pets outside, this is one of the nights you need to be careful.
- Keep your cat away from the entry or front door of your house. Cats are quick and can easily dart between your legs and out the door before you have time to react. Confine your cat to an inner part of the house or set up a barrier to the entry-way to avoid an unintentional escape. Constantly ringing doorbells and shouting trick-or-treaters are frightening for many cats, and once out the door, your cat may be difficult to find and retrieve.
- Make sure your cat is wearing an identification tag, just in case the worst should happen and he accidentally escapes.
- Keep candy and candy wrappers out of reach. Many Halloween treats, like chocolate, are toxic to both cats and dogs. And candy wrappers can become toys that turn into intestinal blockages for curious playful cats.
- Keep Halloween decorations out of reach as well. Like candy wrappers, ribbons and strings are enticing toys for your cat that can be quite dangerous if ingested.
- Be careful of open flames, like those in a candle or lit pumpkin. Cats are curious creatures and can easily be burned while investigating these flames. There is also the danger of fire should your adventurous feline tip over a candle.
- Wires, electric cords and batteries from Halloween decorations can also present a threat for your pet. Chewing on electric cords can result in electrocution or burns. Batteries make irresistible toys for your cat but are quite corrosive and toxic if chewed. Keep these items out of reach.
- Do not force your cat to wear a costume. Most cats find wearing strange clothing stressful and upsetting. Stress and cats simply do not go well together. And Halloween is already stressful enough for most cats without adding insult to injury.
- If your cat is especially high strung or anxious, consider a calming remedy, such as Feliway.
A bit of precaution and common sense can make Halloween a safe time for your cat and allow you to enjoy the holiday without having to worry about your feline friend.
Dr. Lorie Huston