Steering kitty safely through Halloween

Steering kitty safely through Halloween

Why is there nothing in here for me?

Halloween should be fun and safe for all the family including kitty and, with a little advanced preparation, it can be. Halloween, with its candy, opening and closing front doors, new people, noise, decorations and a cat’s family distracted by all the excitement can be hazardous and sadly sometimes fatal to kitty. One of the best Halloween preparations to make kitty’s Halloween as stress free as possible is to make a safe and secure haven for your furry companion ahead of time.

On Halloween, even if your cat companion is an indoor/outdoor cat, keep it inside and away from the front door. Every time that door is opened kitty has a chance to run outside. Herds of young people yipping and screeching through the neighborhood are terrifying for a cat whether it is used to being outside or not. Ideally, especially if you are having a party, keep kitty shut in a room with food, some toys, a litter box and maybe a radio playing as a distracting sound. Some cats may well take this precaution on their own and, at the first doorbell ring, vanish under the bed for the duration. Your task then is to simply add the food and litter box to the room and close the door.

Sadly there are malicious folk who think it is clever to mutilate, torture and kill black cats in some misguided attempt to emulate a perceived Halloween ritual. Most shelters won’t adopt black or tuxedo cats during October for this reason. With kitty’s safety in mind avoid letting black or tuxedo cats outside during the run-up to Halloween. If you have black kittens or a cat you are trying to home, wait until November, unless the new caregiver is someone you know and trust.

Chocolate and candy, as always, need to be kept well away from cats. Avoid letting a cat play with pieces of dropped candy, wrapped or otherwise and please don’t offer any for kitty to eat. Cats can easily ingest enough candy, chocolate or wrapper to cause a major problem. Wrappers can be bitten through and swallowed, causing kitty to choke or for the wrapper to block the digestive tract. Chocolate contains theobromine which can be lethal; the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. Many candies contain xylitol an artificial sweetener that can also cause problems. If you suspect a cat has eaten something toxic, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435

Equally important is to make sure there are no decorations in cat-reach. They could become an unhealthy snack. Festive as they are, some Halloween decorations are a hazard to kitty in the same way candy wrappers are. Although it’s relatively harmless, bear in mind pumpkin is used as a natural laxative for cats. Likewise, corn and corn stalks can be akin to eating grass. And guess who gets to clean up the mess! Lit Halloween decorations are risky if not well out of kitty-reach. The obvious danger is a knocked over lantern containing a candle but some cats will chew through the cord or try to play with decorations plugged into an electric outlet.

However cute you think kitty might look in a Halloween costume please try to avoid the temptation. Very few cats like to be dressed up and you will probably end up with scratches, maybe some teeth marks, and a stressed, panicked cat. If, and only if, kitty really loves dress-up, proceed with caution. Ensure the costume is safe; no small pieces to be chewed off and swallowed, no chance kitty can strangle itself or become entangled. Your cat should be able to breathe and move without restriction, not be stressed in any way, and still be able use the litter box without mishap. The costume should be easy to remove too. If kitty shows signs of breathing difficulty, stress, fear or abnormal behavior, immediately and calmly remove the costume, put it away, calm kitty down and resign yourself to the fact that your cat is a nudist.

Have a happy and safe Halloween.