Humans have so much fun on Halloween that it’s only natural to want to include your feline friend. During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of Americans dressing their pets up for Halloween rose to nearly 20%. However, celebrating this holiday with your cat safely may require a few adjustments.
Do: Have on-hand, healthy treats made specifically for cats if you want your cat to partake in the fun. Ingesting toxic or foreign substances is a common cause for increased trips to the vet around Halloween. Keep your cat safe on Halloween with treats made just for them, and supervise them more closely than usual to make sure they don’t get into any human candy.
Don’t: Leave candy or wrappers out where your cat can access them. Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic for dogs, but chocolate is also dangerous for cats. This misconception probably persists because cats don’t eat chocolate as often, or they don’t consume large enough amounts to cause severe damage. The toxins in chocolate can cause mild to fatal symptoms in felines. Don’t leave chocolate or other human treats out where your cat can get to them.
Do: Decorate your house and yard with pet-friendly, non-toxic decorations to celebrate the season. Consider keeping your cat’s favorite room free of decorations so they have a familiar haven to retreat to if the Halloween festivity feels overwhelming.
Don’t: Use decorations with small removable parts that can be easily ingested by curious cats. Typical Halloween decor, like synthetic spider cobwebs, is easy for cats to ingest or choke on, in addition to often being made of plastic material that should not be swallowed. Foreign object GI obstruction is a common cause for trips to the animal ER during spooky season.
Do: Switch out your cat’s collar for a festive color or holiday-themed pattern, try out apps or filters that photoshop your cat into Halloween scenes, or team up together on a costume that honors cats in their natural form (think Samantha from Bewitched or Kiki’s Delivery Service). Respect your cat’s temperament and personality. While some cats may be fine with sporting a costume, others may be distressed or traumatized by the unfamiliar experience.
Don’t: Force an unwilling cat into a Halloween costume, even if it’s cute. Cats can be sensitive and your cat may be more anxious or agitated than usual if their environment or schedule changes due to holiday festivities. Some cat costumes are made with pieces that are easy to ingest or choke on if the cat plays with them or tries to take them off. In addition, costumes can be uncomfortable or even kind of scary for your cat to wear if they aren’t used to it.
Do: Keep your cat indoors around Halloween, even if they are typically allowed outside. The frequent opening of doors on trick-or-treat night is not only alarming for most cats, it presents a dangerous opportunity for escape. Check with your vet that your cat is microchipped and up to date on their vaccines in case they do get out. If you are entertaining guests or trick-or-treaters, consider keeping your cat in another enclosed room in your house to lessen the chance they slip out unnoticed, as well as keep them from feeling overwhelmed or scared by the unusual activity around them.
Don’t: Leave your cat unsupervised if you are hosting a party or get-together. Guests who open and close the door may not be as aware of your cat in the middle of the Halloween commotion. Don’t create an easy opportunity for your cat to escape or potentially get injured. Don’t delay or skip out on vaccines just because your cat is indoors. Indoor cats are still susceptible to diseases, like rabies, and should stay on a consistent, veterinary-recommended vaccine schedule.
Having a safe and happy Halloween with your cat can be easy if you follow the tips above, no matter what your holiday plans are. If you have questions or concerns about your cat’s health or behavior, you can book a virtual appointment to consult a vet—costumes are optional!
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