5 Ways to Have a Feline-Friendly Halloween
You know what they say: If a black cat crosses your path…it’s probably heading home.
Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)
Most holidays seem to be comically ill suited to cats — take Fourth of July for instance — loud fireworks, large wafts of barbeque smoke, and a general sense of chaos in the air. While we’d all like for our furry family members to share in our enjoyment of the most spirited holidays, they’d likely prefer to sit the majority out, and Halloween is no exception. That’s why we’ve compiled some key safety tips to keep your cat out of harm’s way this October 31st.
1. Beware of Candy Consumption
While leaving bowls of candy around might be a tempting treat for guests, it could pose a serious threat to your feline friend’s health. Dogs aren’t the only ones who tend to seek out neatly packaged sweets on holidays. The good news is that most store bought chocolates contain such a low concentration of cocoa that ingesting a small amount won’t lead to much more than an upset stomach for your pet.
However, in larger doses, these treats can pose quite the danger to your cat, so it’s best to keep them in high places they can’t reach, such as a bookshelf without a ledge for them to perch themselves on. Also, remember to discard wrappers, as your cat might view them as a crinkly toy to play with or even eat, creating a choking hazard.
2. Curb Your Cat’s Noise Anxiety
Many cats are sensitive to noise and hearing children shout “trick or treat” at full volume right outside their home may generate a stress response. Loud music from a Halloween party and motion sensor decorations may also frighten cats and lead to erratic behaviors. If your cat is scared, they may search for new places to hide or deem their litter box an insecure location, causing them to find new places to do their business. This is not the chocolate-colored stain you’d expect to be cleaning up on Halloween — and it doesn’t have to be.
Save yourself and your cat a lot of aggravation by placing them in a quiet area and checking up on them periodically, especially if you’re having a party with more than a handful of people. Some attendees may not have experience interacting with cats under stress, so it’s best not to risk any unforeseen incidents.
3. Be Aware of the Revolving Door
If your neighborhood is full of trick or treaters, you might be in for a night of opening and closing the front door (hold the AC). This makes for an easy opening for that escape artist you call a cat to wander off. Cats that are disoriented by the noise and commotion surrounding Halloween are likely to bolt, looking for a more secure area, so be sure that your cat is microchipped, wearing an ID tag, and that you make every effort to keep them inside.
This is especially important for black cats, who face significantly higher risk of cat napping in the weeks leading up to the holiday. There have also been accounts of people adopting black coated cats from shelters to use as decorations for Halloween, only to be abandoned shortly after. Cats are permanent members of the family, not props to be displayed one day out of the year. Yes, this is a PSA: keep a close eye on your black cat in the month of October.
To avoid any of these scenarios, consider placing your bowl of candy on your front door step for trick or treaters to avoid any opportunity for your cat to get out of the house. Many young children and their parents will likely be socially distancing and this way, you can ensure the safety of humans and pets, alike.
4. Ask Your Cat’s Permission To Dress Them Up
We love a good pet costume as much as the next person, but we also respect our feline family members and their oftentimes less-than-tolerant temperaments. Which is why we highly suggest taking your cat’s personality into consideration before strapping them into a velcro outfit for hours on end.
To ensure their total comfort, look for signs of distress in your pet and remove the costume immediately if your cat does anything that resembles stress, frustration, or irritation. Make sure the costume doesn’t inhibit any of their senses and that they can easily move around and go to the bathroom. Lastly, never leave the costume on your pet unsupervised.
If you’ve checked all of these boxes and your cat still allows you to snap a few pictures, we like to say congratulations and ask that we have a DNA test proving their species.
5. Help Your Cat Keep You Safe, Too
So, you’ve gone to great lengths to ensure your cat has a pleasant Halloween. While we fully subscribe to the belief that our pets come first, we can also spare some time to protect ourselves this Halloween. Jack O'Lanterns are a time honored tradition around Halloween time. What is the tradition based on? Unclear. Will we be carving pumpkins and placing candles inside without this knowledge? Absolutely.
However, this decor might appear as a fun new toy for your cat to investigate, which can be dangerous for not only your pet and their flammable fur, but for the safety of your entire household. Pets are responsible for more than 500 home fires every year so it’s best to keep candles dimmed unless pets are entirely supervised.
Avery is an editor at The Wildest. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her fiancé and cat, Chicken, and has high hopes that one of them will let her adopt a dog.