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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

Image: scared cat by Daniel Schenkel

scared cat, halloween safety for cats, siamese cat

Comments  10

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  • Oh So True
    10/24/2011 07:13am

    Thanks for the great reminders, Dr. Huston.

    Keeping kitty in a room that doesn't have access to the front door is paramount. Keeping kitty indoors (if a kitty is allowed outside) for the week before as well as the week after Halloween is also important.

  • 10/24/2011 05:56pm

    Good point! Keeping your cat indoors for the weeks before and after Halloween is a good idea.

  • black cats
    10/24/2011 09:55am

    Hi Dr Huston,

    Are black cats in danger because of the dark or is there more cruelty done on balck cats at halloween?

    Stress is a big factor for any pet and especially when the environment changes.

  • 10/24/2011 06:00pm

    Well, I don't have any "scientific" evidence but I suspect it's probably a bit of both. Good question!

  • black cats
    10/25/2011 07:19am

    the njspca just sent out a warning to all NJ shelters to be very careful with any black cat adoptions during halloween because there is an increase of abuse to black cats.
    if i had not read your blog i would not have been aware of this.
    another interesting fact. england does not allow puppy sales in december.

  • 10/25/2011 07:28am

    Although it's beyond my comprehension that someone would spend the money to adopt a cat so they can abuse it - it happens.

    Many shelters will not adopt out black cats in October.

  • 10/25/2011 07:47pm

    There are a lot of shelters and rescues that will not allow the adoption of black cats around Halloween. Some will not allow the adoption of any cat til after Halloween. I don't understand the mentality of someone that could harm an animal either, let alone adopt one specifically for that purpose, but unfortunately it does happen. :(

  • " Awesome article " ...
    10/25/2011 07:21pm

    Hi Dr. Lorie ...

    Even not being a Cat-Owner , pls , allow me to Thank You for sending a very very important Halloween issue for Cats . Also , accept my congratulations for doing a soberb/brilhant job in your field which it has been pretty useful ..

    Yours Truly ,

    We ... Nina & I

  • 10/25/2011 07:48pm

    Thank you!! That means more to me than I can possibly tell you. :)

  • Black Cats
    10/26/2011 08:39am

    Black cats are wonderful for the record as I am sure you all are aware, and also tortoise-shell/tortie (black/orange) whom also seem to be left behind in adoptions. No real reason for this or any abuse - I shudder to think of it.

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