Halloween season has crept up on us, and you may have your preparations for pumpkins, parties and pranks in full swing already. However, if you are the owner of an adorable kitty, have you given much thought to how this annual holiday will affect her? For many cats, and particularly those that like to roam outdoors, Halloween is a stressful and even frightening time. As a caring and compassionate owner, you will inevitably want to do all you can to ensure that your furry feline remains happy and calm.
Here are our top 5 tips for keeping your outdoor cat safe during Halloween.
1. Bring her inside if you can
It may not be her favorite place to spend time if she is used to having free roam of the neighborhood, but if she could, she might end up thanking you for it. Your local area transforms into a very different environment on Halloween, particularly during the evening when it gets dark and everything seems all that more ominous. People in costumes, scary decorations, unusual lights and sounds can all contribute to a usually laid-back cat becoming anxious and even scared over Halloween. Unfortunately, frightened cats are more likely to become injured in accidents since their fear often causes them to run out in front of traffic or behave otherwise impulsively. Keeping her inside will also reduce the risks of other types of incident, such as her eating Halloween candy – something which can make her very sick.
Most veterinarians strongly recommend that if you can, you should bring your cat inside for the duration of the Halloween celebrations. If she doesn’t usually return home at set times, you may need to grab her when you see her, rather than wait until the last opportunity before Halloween begins. You can help keep her entertained for the duration of her house arrest using treats, games and toys.
2. Get her microchipped and ensure her collar and tag have up-to-date ID information
Cats are more likely to run away on Halloween than virtually any other night of the year, and this is primarily due to the intense fear that this holiday can trigger for her. While unfortunately, not all felines that run away will be reunited with their owner, you can increase the likelihood that your feline friend will be found and returned to you by ensuring that whoever finds her knows how to contact you. In the past, we were reliant purely on either recognizing the missing cat well enough to return it, or using the information on her tag to get in touch with her owner. While a collar and tag is still a very effective way of putting your contact details on your cat, microchipping is completely tamper-proof. Placed under the skin, the chip emits a unique code when it comes into contact with an RFID scanner. This relates to a secure database entry which contains your personal information so that you can be contacted.
As well as reuniting you with your pet in the event she becomes lost, it can also go some way to prove your ownership of her should someone else try to calm her as their own.
3. Carefully consider her costume
If you are one of the estimated 16-20% of people planning on putting your kitty in a Halloween outfit of her very own, you will need to think about how safe it is for her to wear it, especially if she isn’t going to be supervised all night. You should avoid any costumes that have tripping or choking hazards, such as long and loose material fivers, and make sure that it is not obstructing her balance, movement or any of her senses. If they do, your cat will not understand why her senses have been impaired and this could cause her to freak out completely and run away. Similarly, choose something that is not made of a flammable material as if she happens to come into contact with an open flame, she could catch light, putting her life at risk.
4. Accent her outfit or collar using fluorescent and reflective accessories
If your cat is roaming around outside, you will want her to be easily seen. This will mean that she is easier to find if she has run away. She is also more likely to be spotted by cyclists and motorists and will hopefully avoid being involved in an accident. One of the best ways to do this is to add some reflective or fluorescent material or accessories to her costume. You can also buy glow-in-the dark collars made from reflective material.
5. Don’t leave treats out on the porch
If you are going out for Halloween, you might think about leaving a bowl of candies out on the porch for any trick-or-treaters that pass by. However, Halloween candies and chocolate almost always contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute that is highly poisonous to animals, including cats. If your cat returns home and sees treats left on the porch, she doesn’t know that they aren’t safe for her to eat. If you aren’t there to recognize that she has been poisoned and needs urgent medical assistance, she could quickly become dangerously ill.
If you would like more advice on the best ways to keep your outdoor cat safe this Halloween, please do not hesitate to contact our offices in Bastrop, LA for further information.