Even though black cats are one of the most recognized symbols of Halloween, when it comes to your own cat, whichever color(s) they may be, it’s best to leave them out of the celebration. When October 31st rolls around, it’s not the full moon, ghosts, or witches that you need to worry about. Rather it’s the candy, costumes, and trick-or-treaters that may give your cat a fright.
Make it Cute, Creative, and Cautious
Most of us view our cats as members of the family, so much so that we want to include them in every celebration. But before you purchase Wizard of Oz themed costumes for your entire crew, furry and otherwise, first make sure those costumes are safe for kitty. Most cats will tolerate a costume for the length of time that it takes to put it on them, so your main goal should be to ensure that your cat won’t become entangled or able to ingest parts of it while they attempt to take it off. Steer away from anything with small parts that can be easily nipped off or that has long strings that can be wrap around necks, toes, or legs.
Always supervise your kitties while in costume and really put some time in to decide if one entertaining picture is worth possibly traumatizing your kitty. Not only do you have your cat’s physical health to worry about, you also need to take their mental health into consideration. In a year like this one that has seen many changes in a cat’s life, (i.e. you staying home more) poking them into a costume might not be in their best interest this time around.
For a safer yet equally festive idea look into a fun, Halloween themed collar. There are many spooky options out there that already have built-in safety measures. However, you should still supervise your kitty while wearing one.
Deliberate the Decorations
Costume safety extends to those costumes of your home as well-Halloween decorations. While cotton cobwebs definitely give off a spooky vibe, to your cat they look like something fun to dip a foot into and pull on. It’s all fun and games until your kitty becomes tangled.
Motion sensor decorations that let off a creepy cackle or an eerie scream when you walk by it may send some cats into hiding, indefinitely. Carefully consider placement of these decorations if they’re on your list so that your cat doesn’t have to walk by them on a daily basis and risk scaring away one of their nine lives.
You may also be surprised a what your kitty finds to get into, especially if you have a kitten or new cat that hasn’t celebrated Halloween with you before. Supervise your kitty after you put up your decorations to find where you might have trouble and remove or change them before it becomes an issue.
Quiet the Company
While Halloween parties may be off your schedule this year, trick-or-treating in some form or another may still be part of your spooky celebration. While you can find ways to creatively socially distance trick-or-treating, a constantly ringing doorbell followed by kids dressed as Superman might make for one freaked out feline.
If you’re welcoming trick-or-treaters this Halloween, prepare for your kitty in advance by providing them with a safe space. A quiet backroom or basement may work best, anywhere that’s far from the majority of the action. Give them a cozy bed, their favorite toys, and a meal or snack to keep them occupied until you decide it’s time to turn your porch light off for the night. Not only will this help to keep your kitty calm, it will also prevent them from streaking out an open door while you admire a ballerina’s tutu or a clown’s big red nose.
Conceal the Candy
It may be preaching to choir, but I feel like this safety precaution can’t be mentioned enough. Never share Halloween, or any other, candy with your cat and always keep it out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion. While cats aren’t naturally drawn to the taste of sweets, they can be curious about shiny wrappers, curious enough to play with them and even eat one or two. The wrappers themselves pose a problem as they can become lodged in the throat, stomach or intestines. What’s inside the wrappers presents even more of a problem as chocolate and products containing xylitol can be toxic. Even if your kitty eats a candy that’s considered non-toxic, such as candy corn or a popcorn ball, it can still cause some serious vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain that you won’t want to deal with while you’re trying to put on your zombie makeup.
Keep your kitty safe and comfortable this Halloween season by taking some time to decide what traditions they really need to be a part of and how you can make those events more cat-friendly.