Keeping Cats Safe on Halloween (and Beyond)

It’s almost October which means Halloween is just around the corner. While you are planning your parties, picking out your costume, buying candy for the kids and putting out the decorations, please remember to take extra care to keep your cats safe and secure during the month of October.

Although cats remain the most popular pets in the United States and elsewhere, there is also a tendency towards vicious behavior and abuse of cats – probably because of their size and vulnerability. This is especially true at Halloween, when cats – especially black, orange or white cats – sometimes are victims of abuse, misuse and in rare circumstances sadistic rituals.

While it is best to always keep your cat inside – (indoor cats generally live from 12-18 years of age, while outdoor cats generally live to be only four to five years of age) – here are a few tips to keep kitty extra safe at Halloween – be it inside or out:

• Remember the best way to keep your cat safe is to keep it indoors at all times – that way kitty won’t run into hostile dogs, cars or people and won’t be exposed to the many diseases which are often carried by feral cats.

• If your cat is an indoor-outdoor cat, be sure to keep it inside on weekends and at night several days before Halloween, as celebrations often start early.

• During the month of October it is important to take extra care with black, white and orange cats – never adopt out a cat to someone you don’t know without suitable references – and especially do not adopt out or sell a black cat to anyone you don’t know in October, particularly near Halloween.

• On Halloween night keep your cat(s)  safe inside. Make sure your cat is kept away from the door so it doesn’t escape when you give out candy to trick-or-treaters. If your house gets alot of visitors on Halloween night, or if you are having a party, secure your cat in a room with its favorite toys, food, water, litter box and other familiar items, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing kitty is safe – and kitty will be contentedly away from unknown noises, smells or people.

• Resist the urge to put a costume on your cat. Cats are free spirits and generally dislike anything on them (be it hats, sweaters or booties). Avoid tying something around a cat’s neck, such as a cape, tie or ribbon – anything which could get hung up and accidentally lead to choking or injury to your cat, or which kitty might try to swallow.

• People in costumes can also be scary for cats and pets so better not to let kitty see you dressed up as a gypsy or a fireman.

• Be sure your cat is microchipped (and dogs too) and has a collar with current contact information; microchipping is an amazing technology that can locate missing pets worldwide – it is an inexpensive procedure that pays off in dividends if kitty (or doggy) gets lost and can’t find his or her way home.

• Do not keep lit candles on surfaces your cat frequents – shelves, ledges, tables – and keep candles in an enclosed container so as not to tempt kitty with enticing flickering flames or scents. Swishing tails are also a hazard near open flames so be sure your fireplace, heater or any other flames are safely gated.

• Keep all candy – especially chocolate – away from cats and all other pets – chocolate and sugar can be lethal in small doses to small animals

• After Halloween, get rid of aging pumpkins as they sometimes harbor bacteria which is harmful if eaten.

These are just a few suggestions for keeping your cat and other pets safe at Halloween (and year round). Please share any additional ideas or suggestions you have regarding pet safety – we would love to hear from you!

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