Spooky season is upon us, and getting ready for Halloween is an exciting tradition for many people. While Halloween is a fun holiday for humans, it can be scary and even dangerous for our pet cats. As you gear up for October 31, plan ahead to ensure that the feline members of your household stay safe and comfortable.
Halloween decorations and cats
Much like Christmas tree ornaments, Halloween decorations can prove irresistible to curious cats. Cats can become tangled in lights, spiderwebs, and stringy decorations. When hanging these, place them high up and out of reach of cats. Check that your cat can't reach them by jumping onto furniture or shelves. If it's not possible to keep them out of reach indoors, move them outside or choose different decorations.
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If carving a jack-o-lantern is on your Halloween agenda, keep your pumpkin outside and away from inquisitive paws. The lit candles in jack-o-lanterns can be very attractive to cats, who may burn their nose or paws on them. Cats could potentially start a fire if they knock a jack-o-lantern over.
When lighting your flame candle, choose a spot for it that is out of reach of them. Never leave a burning candle unattended with a pet inside. Flameless, battery-powered candles are a safer alternative. They come in a variety of styles to fit all your spooky decor needs.
Keep cats indoors on and before Halloween
As your neighborhood gets in the Halloween spirit, the outdoors can become especially frightening for cats. The motion sensors, flashing lights, and noises of yard decorations can scare and disorient cats. A person wearing a Halloween costume can terrify cats, who are naturally wary of changes in their environment.
Those with black cats are probably familiar with the superstition that black cats are unlucky, and you may have even heard that black cats are at risk of being deliberately harmed on Halloween. Luckily, there is no data to support the myth that black cats are in more danger than any other color of cat during the month of October.
Still, any cat can become startled by decorations and costumes. When frightened, a cat's natural response to bolt can put them at risk of becoming lost, hit by a car, or stuck in a tight hiding spot.
If your cat is allowed outside, put them on an indoor-only schedule once Halloween festivities begin. Your cat may not be thrilled about this arrangement, but it is safest for cats to stay inside to avoid becoming lost or injured.
Trick-or-treaters and cats
Passing out candy to trick-or-treaters is a favorite Halloween activity for many, but this tradition is far less enjoyable for our feline friends. With their excellent hearing, cats are particularly sensitive to loud or sudden noises. A night of continuous door knocking, doorbell ringing, and loud voices can be frightening for cats. Cats can be overwhelmed by a lot of people coming and going — especially while in costume.
Cats are expert escape artists, and opening the door to trick-or-treaters provides an easy opportunity for them to bolt outside. If you plan to pass out treats, set up shop outside your front door to greet trick-or-treaters. This will keep you from opening and closing the door multiple times and will minimize the noise your cat will be exposed to. If you won't be home on Halloween night, set a candy bowl outside and tape a sign to your door instructing people not to knock.
Keep Halloween candy in a safe place out of reach of your cat. There may be xylitol in Halloween candy, and this artificial sweetener is toxic to cats even in small doses. Candy wrappers and choking hazards like lollipop sticks also pose a danger to kitties.
Keeping your cat safe on Halloween night
Whether you're hosting a Halloween party or heading out for the night, set your cat up in a quiet room away from noise and activity. Place food and water bowls, a litter box, and a cozy bed in the room. Give cat treats and attention to reassure your cat.
A pheromone spray or diffuser can have a calming effect on nervous kitties. Odorless to humans, these products contain ingredients made to mimic a cat's natural pheromones.
Both indoor cats and outdoor cats should have an ID tag and microchip with your contact information. Outdoor cats should be brought inside on Halloween for their safety.
The bottom line
Between the decorations, costumes, knocking at the front door, and trick-or-treaters, Halloween can be a scary time of year for cats. Cats are sensitive to sound and changes in their environment, and they can become lost or injured outside during spooky season. These Halloween safety tips will ensure you enjoy the holiday while keeping your cat safe.