Halloween is upon us! While it’s a fun holiday for most, it can be a scary and even dangerous one for cats. From indoor decoration hazards to open doors, it’s important to be mindful of seasonal hazards. This month we’ll talk about how to help your cat have a safe and happy Halloween.

If you have an outdoor cat or an indoor-outdoor cat, make sure to keep them inside for a few days around Halloween. It’s hard to think about but incidents of animal cruelty can occur more around Halloween so play it safe and keep your kitty indoors. Remember it can take a while for an outdoor cat to acclimate to being inside so be patient and give them time. Initially just give them access to small area or room of the house. Overwhelming them with space can be harder and make them feel less secure. Pick an easy to clean room and set up an area for them including food, water, litterbox, and bedding. Use Feliway diffusers to help mark the area as safe and be sure to visit often for pets and play so they associate the room with their favorite things. As they become more comfortable you can increase the space they have access too.

Even if you have an indoor only cat, confining them to a room on Halloween night is still a good idea. With frequent trick-or-treaters, your cat could slip out an open door and be too scared to come back. It’s a good time of year to check your cat’s collar, tag, and microchip information to be sure everything is readable and up to date.

Now that we’ve talked about outdoor hazards, let’s focus on indoors. Keep Halloween candy out of your cat’s reach. While chocolate of any kind is harmful to cats, dark or baking chocolates can be fatal. Any candies containing artificial sweetners like Xylitol can also be highly toxic. If you have a dog and cat household, be sure to cover bowls of Halloween candy. Not only could your cat eat it, but a mischievous cat could knock the bowl off the countertop and now your dog can get it! Keep the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline handy just in case at 1-888-426-4435. If you suspect your pet has eaten ANY amount of chocolate or other candy, contact Poison Control and your veterinarian immediately.

Decorations can also be hazardous to your cat, but with a little fine tuning can still be incorporated and enjoyed. Never use real candles – substitute with artificial candles that use batteries and don’t pose a fire/burn hazard. They even make ones that flicker now so you can get the same effect without the risk! Dangling lights and other decorations can be hanging hazards so be careful how you place them and keep them out of your kitty’s space. Opt for battery powered lights when possible to reduce the risk of deadly shock if the lights are chewed. Fake spider webs are ingestion hazards to indoor pets and a risk to wildlife outdoors so skip those all together and instead just marvel at the real ones.

Most cats really don’t like wearing costumes and forcing it on them can cause unnecessary stress. If your cat is okay with a costume, be sure to limit the time they are in it – just for pictures and NEVER leave them unattended. In their efforts to get it off they could become entangled and strangle themselves. And remember you wearing a costume could also be utterly terrifying for them so try to be sensitive if they seem scared. Use treats and play/pets to help associate scary things with good things.

Stay safe and have a Happy Meow-o-ween!