Avoid 7 Scary Cat Boo-Boos: Help Your Kitty Have a Safe and Happy Halloween
Category: Cat Ownership
Halloween is a time for fall fun, festivities, and … uh-oh … frightened felines.
On All Hallows Eve, little ghouls and goblins of the hooman variety can be found on any given street racking up lots of sweet treats, which is sure to be a good time for them! But what about your fur-baby? How can you keep them from getting anxious at those well-meaning gremlins' antics? What about those scary noises that kitties would rather not hear? And are there purr-haps ways to help them actually enjoy the night?
Whether your kitty likes to join in on the fun by playing dress-up or prefers having some "me" time in a quiet space while others have a boo-rrific night, it's essential to consider how your kitty will experience the night itself and everything going on around them.
So, let's look at seven ways to keep your cat safe and happy on Halloween.
Boo-Boo One: Wonky Windows
Autumn is a lovely time of year in many parts of the nation - we can enjoy pleasant evenings with cool fall breezes without the cold temps that are soon to come. It's great to have a window with a screen so your cat can get some fresh air. However, ensuring the screen is intact every time you open the window is super important.
There should be no holes or tears in the screen (even if they're not big enough for the kitty to escape, they may get their paws or even their heads caught!). Also, consider gently pressing on the screen's frame to ensure it is secure, as it may not take much pressure for the kitty to push it out and then jump. Use these same safety-check tactics if you have a screen door.
Boo-Boo Two: Ignoring Door Danger
Is your indoor cat a would-be escape artist? This night could be a prime opportunity for your kitty to dash outdoors. Make sure doors used to dole out treats are securely shut after you greet each goblin to keep kitty from squeezing through them or even opening an ajar storm or screen door with their nose or determined paws in an effort to escape. (Sometimes, the essential things can be missed during something exciting like Halloween, especially when little ones are involved!)
Some of us may only have one or two visitors tonight, while others' homes will be like Grand Central Station. If it looks like you're going to be opening your front door to lots of little ghouls and goblins, your best option may be shutting your cat away for a while. No matter how quickly it's closed again, an open door could be a tempting escape route, especially if your cat is spooked by something they see or hear.
Or, consider using a mudroom or a similar arrangement versus your front door. (Just put a sign on your front door saying, "Treats this way!" with an arrow pointing that direction!). If you cannot have a door between you and your kitty, consider buying a pre-made four- or three-panel screen to stand in a hallway or doorway between your door and your kitty's favorite hangout. A baby gate can be subbed as well if need be. It may not always work one-hundred percent, but it will undoubtedly slow down the kitty and give you time to react if they try to make a run for it.
Another option is to dispense your treats in your carport or at your garage (by leaving it open) and hang out in some comfy lawn chairs or bean bags (if you have a garage or carport, natch). That way, your home's entrance door is closed, and you're still being neighborly. (And it may turn into a fun Halloween block party!)
Boo-Boo Three: Nerve-Wracking Noises
Many cats are frightened of loud or unusual noises, and there may be some unexpected sounds on Halloween. It's probably not the best night to open a window, especially if some little pranksters may tease or pick on your kitty while sitting at a screen just for fun. If your neighbors or community center/recreation center plan fireworks for Halloween, keep those windows and doors closed to muffle the sound as much as possible.
It is a great idea to allow your kitty to relax in their special safe place during this time, such as an unoccupied bedroom. If your cat can get into an even smaller space, such as a large closet with a kitty bed in it or an igloo-style bed or condo, that may be even better! (Kitties feel safer when they're in small spaces, especially if there is chaos going on.)
It may take your kitty a while to adjust once things have calmed down, so open the door and let them come out in their own time rather than picking them up and bringing them into their usual living area.
Boo-Boo Four: Spreading Around Small Parts
Be wary of any small parts, including treats, party favors, costume components, etc. Small items can be swallowed even if your kitty doesn't mean to. Believe it or not, since cats' tongues are textured, substances such as gauze, thread or string can get caught on them, and they sometimes don't have any choice but to swallow these things!
Think of little accouterments used to create costumes that can be mistaken for toys by your kitty -- pom poms, eyeballs, pipe cleaners, and false fingernails or claws are all examples. If your kitty picks them up to play with, they can be a choking hazard, or if they are swallowed, they can become caught in the kitty's digestive system, causing severe intestinal blockages.
Boo-Boo Five: Scary Substances
Be careful not to leave substances such as makeup, hair glitter spray, hair color mascara wands, false hair, or similar items where your cat can get ahold of them. Consider what you'll use to remove makeup, such as alcohol wipes, makeup remover, or cold creams after the fun is over, as well.
As cat parents, we should never forget that cats explore with their snouts -- namely, their noses and mouths. Some cats eat things you would never expect, as cats' sense of taste is very different from ours. Just a tiny amount of something inedible, such as a chemical used to make neon face makeup, could make your kitty very sick.
The best way to prevent accidental ingestion during the excitement is to prep in a room with a closed door; if that's not feasible, turn to that safe cat space and don't let the kitty out until you've cleaned up.
Boo-Boo Six: Being Clumsy with Costumes
Some cat parents like to dress up their bestie, whether it's Halloween or just for fun any old day. However, consider this: your kitty may be uncomfortable if it's left on too long or even be put at risk by the costume itself in a matter of seconds. Most brand-name articles of cat clothing are entirely safe, but with online retailers and auction sites, you cannot be guaranteed of this.
Be wary of any kitty costume that features a collar that does not "break away" from their neck, as a kitty could accidentally choke or hang itself on something like a piece of furniture. Even the "bib" style pet clothing that gently ties around the kitty's neck without any elastic, clasps, or toggles can pose a similar risk in the right circumstance. So, it is an absolute must to supervise your kitty when they are dressed in their costume.
Your best bet? Snap those pics as quickly as possible, and then call it a night.
Boo-Boo Seven: Not Corralling Candy
Let's face it, Halloween costumes are great fun, but when it comes down to it … it's all about the free candy! Nothing is more exciting to a freshly-returned-home trick-or-treater than dumping that bucket or bag onto the living room floor and examining the haul! If your kitty is besties with your little one, they'll be excited too and may try to enjoy the loot.
Make extra sure that your little ones know that cats should never be given certain foods intended for hooman consumption, especially anything with chocolate, as it can make them very sick (or worse). It's also essential to ensure wrappers are correctly cleaned up when your kiddos have finished their fun feast. It's surprising how many cats try to eat things like paper packaging, foil lining, or plastic wrappers. (The author of this blog is Mom to a tabby who is obsessed with trying to eat the wrappers of Goetz Caramel Creams!) No one wants to find out the hard way that their kitty has a similarly bizarre affinity for eating non-edibles.
Proper planning and safety considerations allow your kitty to enjoy Halloween night just as much as hoomans. When you take a meow-ment to see things from your kitty's perspective, you can identify ways you make the best night in October safe and comfortable for them - just like we do every day of the year as we help cats and cat parents live their best lives with our paw-esome cat-sitting services!