FloridaWild Vet Hospital

Halloween Safety Tips for Felines

Since Halloween is right around the corner, it’s high time that I get my act together and start getting my preparations in order so I can celebrate this annual festive event to the nth degree.

Fortunately, in our neighborhood it’s tons of fun getting ready for Halloween. I love watching the community blossom from the artistically carved pumpkins popping up on lawns, the trees that are decorated to a “T” with spine-tingling cobwebs, and the spectral statues that start materializing; all of which add to the anticipation of one of our favorite annual extravaganzas.

I get a kick out of observing parents with their small children in tow dressed as ballerinas, princesses, skeletons and ghosts, all of which add to the anticipation of one of our favorite annual events.

Those Trick or Treat festivities are a delight. However, as “kitty parents,” it’s important for us create ways to keep them safe. What we do during the height of the trick and trick hours is to keep them ensconced in our bedroom. This both prevents any potential escapes and the possible anxiety that the costumed strangers that keep coming and going may cause. We keep soothing music playing in the bedroom to help obscure all the unfamiliar noises.

We don’t offer chocolate goodies to the trick–or-treaters since this candy is highly toxic to both cats and dogs. We are not only concerned for our cats, we are also careful about protecting our young costumed visitors’ pets.

To help make your Halloween festivities safe, sound and stress–free for both you and your cats, check out our Top 5 Halloween Safety Tips for Kitty Owners.

1. Keep the goodie bowl covered in a secure place ready for doling out to the parade of little ghosts, goblins and ballerina trick-or treaters. We avoid giving our chocolate treats since all forms of chocolate are toxic to both cats and dogs. Additionally, those cellophane/plastic candy wrappers are perilous for pets if swallowed. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any potentially dangerous objects, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888-426-4435) *There is a nominal charge for this service.

2. Chewing or sucking on electrical cords and wires is extremely dangerous for cats. Electrical shocks can be life-threatening. Please make sure that all of the wires and cords from Halloween decorations are stored safely out of your cat’s reach.

3. Although decorative Halloween plants such as pumpkins and colored corn are considered relatively non-toxic, if ingested these items can cause gastrointestinal upset. They can even cause and intestinal blockage in the event the pieces are sufficiently large. Be careful to keep these items out of your pet’s reach. Additionally, to prevent a fire or a kitty being burned, use extreme caution when decorating using candles inserted in pumpkins.

4. Unless you are positive that your cats LOVE dressing up in costumes, please don’t impose this Halloween ritual on them. Wearing a costume can cause cats unnecessary stress. However, if your kitty is a show-off and truly enjoys being dressed up for the occasion, be sure that the costume is a perfect fit and doesn’t hamper her vision.

5. Even with all these prudent safety steps in place, accidental escapes can and do happen; not only at Halloween but any time. If for any reason your cat manages to escape out the door and gets lost, having your kitty microchipped is well-advised. With patience and persistence, you can train your cat to accept wearing a collar with a Tag that displays all the correct identification information. In the event of an escape, these safety measures will greatly increase the chance of your beloved cat being returned to you.

By observing these few cautionary measures you will be enhancing a secure and successful Halloween celebration; knowing that your cats are safe and protected will also heighten your enjoyment of the fun of Halloween.

Article and picture By: Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW, (Ret.)

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