The black cat with the arched back is the stereotypical Halloween caricature. The image is every bit as much a part of Halloween as the little ghouls and goblins that ring doorbells shouting "Trick or Treat." But the truth is that Halloween actually is quite scary for some cats and there are dangers for all cats on Halloween.
Cats are safest indoors at all times, but keeping them indoors on Halloween is especially important. Halloween is not a good evening for any cat to be outdoors.
Cats are creatures of habit. Typically, they don’t like many changes in their routine. For any cat, an endless parade of strangers ringing the doorbell dressed in costumes is definitely a change in routine and one that your cat may not appreciate. Consider confining your cat to a bedroom or other private area for the evening if he is easily frightened.
If your cat is not confined, at least be careful that he doesn’t have access to a door that is continually opening and closing. It’s not unheard of for a cat to sneak outside and disappear. Making sure your cat has some form of identification in the form of ID tags, a microchip, or both, in case the worst happens and your cat does escape.
Halloween is a time when we all seem to enjoy candy and sweets. However, some of these goodies can pose a serious threat to your cat. Keep the chocolates and other treats for yourself and your family; avoid sharing them with your cat.
Be careful of glow jewelry and glow sticks also. These products are generally not terribly toxic for cats. However, if bitten, the substance inside has a terribly bitter taste that will cause your cat to drool intensely. If the worst happens and your pet does bite into a glow stick or a piece of glow jewelry, allow him to drink some water to dilute the bitter taste. Wash the chemical off his fur with soap and water if necessary. If you’re unsure whether there is any chemical that needs to be washed away, turn the light off and look for glowing fur.
Be careful also of lit candles and other open sources of fire. Cats can easily tip these over, injuring themselves or even starting a fire.
Nobody wants to be scouring the neighborhood looking for a lost pet or making an emergency trip to the veterinarian on Halloween eve. Take some simple precautions to keep your cat safe, and your Halloween will be much more enjoyable.
Dr. Lori Huston