Beyond Nine Lives: How to Keep Your Cat Safe on Halloween

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This is a sponsored post by veterinarian Elizabeth Arguelles, owner of Just Cats Clinic at Lake Anne Plaza. She writes weekly on Reston Now.

Halloween is fun for kids and adults, but it can be a dangerous day for cats. With increased traffic on the streets, noisy children that could scare your cat and lit pumpkins and decorations, Halloween poses additional risk to our furry family members. But with proper care and preparation, your cat can safely spend Halloween with the rest of your family.

Take these easy steps to keep your cat safe on Halloween:

  • If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, make sure you start keeping it indoors several days before Halloween. It may take a while for your feline to adjust to staying inside, so it’s good to give it some time to get acclimatized.
  • Whether your cat goes outside or is indoor-only, ensure it is in a separate room on Halloween night and away from activities. Of course, make sure that your feline has food, water, a litter box and everything else it might need. Being cooped up will be easier for your kitty if the room is a “safe zone,” complete with its favorite toy, treat or blanket. Feliway air diffusers might also help to calm your cat down. Be sure to visit the cat frequently so it does not feel punished.
  • If you cannot confine your cat to a separate room, make sure it does not dart out when opening the door for trick-or-treaters. If your cat gets outside on a night with increased noise and activity, it may be difficult to get it back inside. Just in case, make sure your cat has proper identification. If your cat does escape, a collar with a tag and/or microchip can increase the chances it will be returned unharmed. Make sure your information associated with the microchip is current
  • Keep your cat away from any bowls of Halloween candy. Chocolates of any kind, but especially the dark or baking varieties, can be fatal to cats. Candies that contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also cause problems. If you suspect your cat or any pets in your household have ingested anything toxic, please contact the ASPCA poison control hotline at 1-888-426-4435 and your veterinarian immediately.
  • Popular Halloween decorations like pumpkins, candles or fake spider webs can be hazardous to your cat. Lit candles can be a burn hazard for a curious cat and a potential fire hazard for your home if your cat knocks it over. Substitute real candles with artificial candles that use batteries to create the same spooky effect without the additional risk. Additionally, anything that dangles is a potential hazard to your cat. Whether it’s fake spider webs, a string of lights or other hanging decorations, remember to keep it out of reach of your cat to prevent accidents or ingestion.

  • Generally speaking, cats do not like wearing costumes, and being crammed into one might cause your kitty unnecessary stress. Unless you know your cat enjoys playing dress-up, please resist the urge to make your feline wear an outfit. If you do decide to dress your cat, make sure no parts of the outfit choke your kitty, and never leave your cat unattended in a costume. Also, take off anything dangling or hanging that it could swallow.
  • Halloween also creates additional risk for shelters and rescue organizations that have black cats. There is concern associated with the taboo and superstitions around black cats during October, and as a precaution, many rescue groups limit the adoption of black cats during this time to prevent potential injury and high surrender rates after Halloween. If you own a black cat, make sure to keep them inside on Halloween night to ensure they are safe from harm.

With a little extra care and attention, your cat can enjoy all the Halloween festivities with the family in a fun and safe way. For more information please see these tips from the ASPCA and CatHealth.com.

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