Things to Consider
Halloween is a fun time of the year for all humans in the household. It is fun for everyone except the pets. Most cats don’t like this holiday because of all the noise and activity. Cats tend to shy away from strange people, especially when they are dressed up to look like something even stranger. The constant parade of unfamiliar people can be quite stressful for cats, whether they are inside the house or outdoors. Some owners actually dress their cats up for Halloween. Cats in costumes might look cute, but most felines find dressing up to be undignified and distasteful and quickly take steps to shed their Halloween frocks.
Keeping Your Cat Calm
Remember that cats typically don’t like sudden changes in their surroundings or loud sounds. Most cat owners don’t take their pets on vacation with them, to the grocery store, to the park or to visit their friends. Cats don’t seem to enjoy a change of scenery. New situations and unfamiliar noises frighten them, and Halloween, like most holidays, involves a lot of both. Cats are scared by the constant doorbell-ringing and door-knocking that always accompany Halloween, in part because their hearing is much more sensitive than ours. Most cats will hide when the first costumed trick-or-treaters arrive. Indoor-only cats may try to escape from the house through the open door. Owners should consider shutting their cats in a quiet back bedroom, where they can take a catnap away from the clamber of Halloween festivities. Be sure that the kitty has access to a clean litterbox, a bowl of fresh water and a comfortable warm place to curl up. Its dinner should be brought into the room, as well. The door should be closed, and all family members – especially children – should be instructed not to open it without permission. The owner can occasionally check on her cat and reassure it that everything is okay and it has not been forgotten. When the excitement is over at the end of the evening, the cat can come out.
Keep Them Indoors
Most kids won’t try to hurt cats they come across while trick-or-treating, but older ones may. Keep dogs and cats indoors on Halloween, even if they are normally allowed outdoors. Bring them inside before children set out trick-or-treating. Letting cats out, especially black cats, can lead to pranks and teasing, or worse.
Avoid Certain Foods
A huge safety hazard for cats (and dogs) is the huge amount of candy, especially chocolate, that is purchased, set out in bowls and shared with neighborhood kids on Halloween. Chocolate can be extremely dangerous to pets. Unlike dogs, cats typically don’t have a sweet tooth and tend not to be drawn to chocolate. Unfortunately, sometimes they do eat it. All chocolate should be kept well out of reach of cats and dogs, preferably in a tightly sealed container inside a closed cupboard. All candy, for that matter, should be covered and kept out of reach of pets.
Crinkly candy wrappers are particularly attractive to cats, who like to bat them around and play with them with their teeth and paws. Unfortunately, cats can swallow candy wrappers, potentially causing digestive irregularities, choking or intestinal obstructions. Candy wrappers are not safe toys for cats and should be thrown away in a secure trash receptacle as soon as the candy is eaten.
All pets should have proper identification, so that if they do escape from the house or run away and become lost on Halloween night, whoever finds them will be able to reunite them with their family. Microchipping is widely available for cats and dogs and is one of the most reliable methods of locating lost pets. Tattoos, and collars with identification tags, are other common ways to find the owners of lost animals.