Black cats are commonly associated with Halloween, but the spooktacular holiday can be dangerous for felines of all colors. Our Just Cats Clinic team wants to help you avoid a veterinary visit on All Hallow’s Eve, and we provide safety tips to protect your whiskered pal when witches, ghosts, and goblins roam your neighborhood.
#1: Keep your cat inside on Halloween
The safest place for your feline friend is indoors, and this is true more so on Halloween. Cats, especially black cats, are linked to superstitions that make pranksters target them on All Hallow’s Eve. To ensure your whiskered pal remains inside on Halloween, follow these tips:
- Keep your cat in an interior room — Trick-or-treaters and Halloween party guests who come and go can present an opportunity for your cat to sneak out an open door. Confine your feline friend to an interior room to prevent an escape.
- Warn your guests — If you host a party, ask your entering and exiting guests to ensure your cat stays in the house when the door is open.
- Secure doors and windows — Ensure you have secured your doors and windows, especially if you go out for the evening, so your cat can’t make a getaway.
#2: Ensure your cat is properly identified
Cats are crafty creatures, and your feline friend may sneak past your defenses despite your best attempts to corral them. When your cat has proper identification, the chances improve for you and your missing whiskered pal to be reunited. To ensure a veterinary office or animal shelter can contact you if they find your lost cat, follow these tips:
- Check your cat’s collar and tags — Your cat should always wear a collar and identification (ID) tags that have your current contact information. Ensure the tags are easy to read and firmly attached to your cat’s collar.
- Microchip your cat — A microchip provides permanent identification that can’t be removed or lost. If your cat is microchipped, they are 20 times more likely to be returned to you if they go missing. Our Just Cats Clinic team can quickly and easily embed your cat’s tiny microchip during a regular visit.
#3: Keep the candy bowl out of your cat’s reach
Who can celebrate Halloween without candy? Although Halloween candy is a must to keep trick-or-treaters happy, ensure your cat can’t access the sweet treats. While candy doesn’t entice cats as much as it tempts dogs, the trick-or-treat bounty can still be dangerous for your cat. If your cat ingests a toxic item, contact our Just Cats Clinic team or Animal Poison Control to learn how best to care for your feline friend. To prevent your whiskered pal from having an emergency, ensure they can’t access the following Halloween offerings:
- Chocolate — Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, and both substances are toxic to cats, causing signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, muscle tremors, and seizures. The darker the chocolate, the higher potential health risk if your cat eats it. A half ounce of baking chocolate can be a fatal dose for an eight-pound cat.
- Xylitol — Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is highly toxic to dogs, causing profound hypoglycemia and in some cases, liver failure. While xylitol effects are not as well understood in cats, you should avoid giving your whiskered pal xylitol-containing foods and candies.
- Raisins — Cats who ingest raisins can experience kidney failure.
- Candy wrappers — Cats can’t appreciate sweet flavors, so they aren’t as likely as dogs to eat candy. However, many cats like to play with and chew plastic and foil wrappers, and sucker sticks, and if they ingest these items, your whiskered pal can develop a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction that may require surgical removal.
#4: Skip your cat’s Halloween costume
Your cat is undoubtedly adorable in their Halloween costume, but your feline friend much purrfers going au naturel. If you have an exceptionally laid-back cat who seems to enjoy dressing up, by all means, put them in a costume, but safeguard their wellbeing by following these tips:
- Recognize stress — Not all cats are expressive when signaling stress. Subtle anxiety signs include hiding or refusing to move. If your cat doesn’t seem comfortable in their costume, remove the garment immediately.
- Check the fit — Ensure your cat’s costume fits well and doesn’t rub or pinch them anywhere. Also, ensure the outfit doesn’t inhibit their breathing or movement.
- Remove tempting adornments — Your cat may chew off and inadvertently swallow dangling or sparkling costume adornments, potentially causing a GI obstruction. Remove all tempting adornments from your cat’s Halloween costume.
- Limit dress-up time — Take your cat’s costume off as soon as you’ve finished taking a few pictures to post on social media.
#5: Protect your cat from Halloween decorations
Halloween decorations help set a creepy mood, but they pose potential hazards to your whiskered pal’s health. Keep your cat away from these dangerous decor items:
- Candles — A burning candle’s flickering flame creates a spooky atmosphere and can make your home smell delightfully pleasant, but a paw swipe or tail swish can lead to singed fur or a fire hazard. Keep all burning flames out of your cat’s reach or consider decorating with battery-operated candles.
- Animated figures — Motion-activated animated decorations can terrify your cat, causing them to develop stress-related behavioral issues such as eliminating outside the litter box.
- Glow sticks — The liquid inside glow sticks can irritate your feline friend’s mouth or cause GI upset if they bite into the object.
#6: Recognize your cat’s Halloween-related stress
A constantly ringing doorbell, oddly dressed small intruders, and noisy trick-or-treaters can cause your cat to become extremely fearful and anxious. To keep your cat’s Halloween-related stress at bay, follow these tips:
- Create a cat safe zone — Designate a quiet interior room as your cat’s safe haven. Ensure they have comfortable bedding, food and water, a litter box, and a scratching post, and leave music playing to dampen outside noise. You can also provide a food puzzle toy to help distract them.
- Turn off the porch light — To discourage trick-or-treaters from ringing your doorbell, turn off the porch light. Leave the candy bowl outside, so that children who are courageous enough to approach a dark door can get a treat without disturbing your cat.
- Provide stress relief — If your cat is prone to anxiety, consult with our Just Cats Clinic team about prescribing your whiskered pal a sedative or anti-anxiety medication.
Follow these tips to help ensure you and your cat have a fear-free Halloween. Contact our Just Cats Clinic team for advice if you think your cat may benefit from anti-anxiety medication to help them cope during the year’s spookiest holiday.