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Halloween Safety Tips to Help Your Cat Enjoy the Holiday

Halloween Safety Tips to Help Your Cat Enjoy the Holiday

Halloween is a spooky time of year for everyone. But for pets, like your cat, the holiday can bring frights that they’d rather not experience. Candy, unknown visitors, jack-o-lantern candles, extra noise and outdoor threats all pose risks to your cat’s mental and physical wellbeing.

With a little preparation, including learning to recognize signs of feline stress, however, you can still have fun together this holiday. Keep these Halloween pet safety tips in mind this year to help keep the spookiness at an enjoyable level.

6 Cat safety tips to follow this Halloween

Keeping your cat inside and supervised is the simplest way to help ensure a happy Halloween. Start by setting up a cozy space or area in a bedroom that is off limits to guests and away from trick-or-treaters. Add their favorite snuggly bed, food, water, litter box and toys so the area feels familiar. Playing soft music or having the TV on may help block out scary sounds that can stress your pet. Also consider using calming aids like chews or diffusers to help your pet relax through the festivities. Keep reading for additional precautions to consider.

1. Keep all candy out of reach

Chocolate can diminish blood flow to the brain and cause heart attacks and a variety of other life-threatening problems for cats. As a rule, the darker the chocolate, the more lethal it is. Other types of candy can also be toxic and/or damage your cat’s teeth. As such, keep chocolate and all other candy away from your pet. If you have trick-or-treating children, be sure they dump out candy in a cat-free zone and let them know why they can’t share with the pets. 

2. Make your cat visible and easy to identify

Make sure your cat is wearing a collar with an ID tag in the event they break free from their "safe room." A glow-in-the-dark or reflective collar and tag are ideal. These will help you spot your cat if they do slip out of the house while also improving a motorist’s chance of seeing your pet.

Microchipping your cat is an effective and permanent way to up the odds of a happy reunion if you and your pet are ever separated. Once the chip has been implanted, a lost pet who shows up at an animal shelter or vet clinic just needs to be scanned for their pet parent’s contact information to be revealed. If your cat has yet to be microchipped, contact your veterinarian or find a Vetco clinic to set up a microchipping appointment.

If your pet does become lost, post flyers in your neighborhood, contact local veterinarians and shelters and visit Petco Love Lost to upload a photo of your lost pet into their database.

3. Pick a costume designed with your cat in mind

While DIYs can be great for many things, crafting a costume that keeps your cat comfortable and safe can be difficult. Since dressing up may be new to your cat, opt for a costume that was designed specifically for them. Petco’s Bootique collection runs the gamut from spooky to silly. Even better, really get your kitty involved in the festivities by opting for a matching getup.

4. Pick up loose wrappers

Are you known for having the best homemade treats on your block? If trick-or-treaters line up at your door for goodies wrapped in plastic or tin foil, be careful. While these materials help you create festive sweets, they can be life-threatening to your pet. If ingested, they can cause a blockage in your cat’s stomach or GI tract so be sure to take extra precaution when working with decorative wrapping.

5. Choose cat-safe decorations

The magic of Halloween is all in the decorations. At the same time, it’s important to consider the potential dangers things like manmade cobwebs and plastic or glass décor pose. If ingested, shards from a broken glass decoration can puncture an intestinal wall, string lights pose a possible shock risk if chewed, and cobwebs can cause an internal blockage. To avoid this, vacuum or sweep floors right after decorating, cover all electrical cords and ensure your cat can’t knock over or climb up any decorations you put up.

6. Place candles beyond reach

A careless swipe of the tail, the swat of a curious paw or a nose that gets too close can lead to singed fur and whiskers or a serious burn, not to mention a house fire that will put everyone in danger. Place candles and jack-o-lanterns well out of your cat's reach or swap them out for battery-powered decorations that don’t require an open flame.

What to do in an emergency

You should always have a good contact number for your veterinarian, a local emergency clinic for care after normal business hours and  the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s number (888-426-4435) that you can call right away in case of emergency (If you do opt to contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, know there may be a charge for the call). All of them will be familiar with Halloween related illnesses and injuries and can instruct you on caring for your feline. Keep those numbers in your phone and written down somewhere else, too. You can also prepare for emergencies by reading up on a few common issues and know how to respond in addition to contacting a professional.

  • Burns: Douse the affected area with cold water and/or apply a cool compress, and contact your veterinarian.
  • Stomach blockages or perforated intestines: You may not notice symptoms right away. Instead, it may take a day or two after your cat ingests a harmful object to observe a change in their eating and litter box habits. If you see a string protruding from your cat's mouth or anus, do not try to remove it. Your attempt to do so may further harm their intestines. In either situation, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Poisoning or toxicity: Your cat may become hypersensitive to stimuli such as light, noise and sound, causing their pupils to dilate. Other symptoms include a rapid heartbeat, muscle tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity or difficulty breathing. Contact your veterinarian, emergency clinic or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center if you notice any unusual symptoms in your cat. Collect a sample of the substance consumed, as well as any vomit or feces expelled. You will need to take these with you to the veterinarian's office.

By following our Halloween pet safety tips and knowing what to do if something goes wrong, you’re taking the necessary precautions. Now it’s time to let your cat join in on the festivities by checking out costumes, collars and toys from this year’s Petco Halloween Collection!