What do costumes, candy, candles, cords, and commotion have in common? All are potential hazards for your cats during the Halloween season.
Costumes: Dressing your cat as Snow White may be enjoyed more by you than your pal. Keep in mind that the costume should in no way constrict movement, seeing, hearing, breathing, or meowing. Check for dangling pieces that may be chewed off and swallowed. It should be non-toxic and non-flammable. Simple costumes like a t-shirt or hat are best. Consider doing a dress rehearsal. If the cat resists being put in the attire or tries to tear it off, forget it. Your cat should always be supervised if dressed in a costume. Your witch outfit may spook your cat. A dress rehearsal may also help your cat get accustomed to the disguise.
Candy: Halloween candy should be kept in the cupboard or in covered containers. The shiny wrappers are interesting to cats. I have to select a high cupboard out of the reach of Chauncey as he chews through any package left in sight or paw’s reach within minutes. He also knows how to open the pantry door, so that is off-limits for the candy stash. Contact your veterinarian or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888)426-4435 if your cat gets into candy that is chocolate or is sugar-free and contains xylitol. Foil wrappers may cause an intestinal obstruction if ingested.
Candles: This time of the year we love the aroma of apple spice and pumpkin harvest candles. Candles light our jack-o’-lanterns. Cats are drawn to candles like moths to a porch light. Curious cats can knock over pumpkins and candles and start a fire or get burned. Cats may get singed when they swish their tail through the flame or get too close with their whiskers. Never leave candles and cats alone–even if you think the candles are out of reach. They probably are not. Since flameless candles are available in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and aromas, I have replaced traditional candles with flameless candles.
Cords: Halloween decorations with wires and cords should be kept out of the reach of your cats to avoid cuts and burns or electrocution. Dangling, snake-like, and thin cords attract a cat’s attention. These are just the kind of cords you will find on Halloween lights. Cats can also be strangled if caught up in a jumble of tangled cords. Take time to tape, wind up, or hide cords. Use cord protectors. Unplug lights when not in use. Whenever the routine changes, Chauncey and Grace take notice. Earlier this month when I decorated the Halloween tree, they wanted to be in the middle of the lights and ornaments.
Commotion: Ringing door bells, frequent knocking, strange voices, and masquerades can scare cats. Changing the home to accommodate holiday decorations is disturbing. Consider moving your cats to a safe haven during trick-or-treat time or a party. If you have house guests, let them know about the off-limits room or put a sign on it. I take Grace and Chauncey to the master suite a half hour before I expect the first goblins at my door. I set up extra food along with a couple of their favorite toys. They are safe and comfortable giving me peace of mind that they will not bolt out of the house when I hand out KitKats.
Halloween can be fun for the whole family. Please take to heart these simple precautions and have a safe Halloween.