Thursday Thirteen: 13 Halloween Safety Tips for Your Cat
As Halloween approaches, it's easy to get caught up in the fun of it and forget about keeping your pets safe. Here are 13 tips on keeping your cat safe and happy on Halloween, courtesy of PetSmart and The Cat's Meow:
- To ensure that your cat isn't part of any Halloween mischief or pranks, don't let her outside unattended, especially at night. Even if your cat does normally go outside, remember that on Halloween, she could get spooked by the loud noises and costumes, wander off and become disoriented.
- Your cat should wear a collar and name tag with your phone number and address on it all times -- if she does get out of the house, at least you can be contacted. Microchipping ensures that if the collar is lost, you and your cat can be reunited.
- Candy is a hazard:
* Never leave candy or candy wrappers lying around or put it where your cat can get them. Small candy and errant candy wrappers are choking hazards and can cause intestinal blockage.
* Chocolate can be toxic to cats, and especially dogs. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst, urination and heart rateand even seizures.
* Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to pets. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. In cases of significantly low blood sugar, liver failure has been known to occur.
- Confine your cat to one room in your house during parties or high-traffic trick-or-treating times. This way, you'll be at ease when opening and shutting the door. And, if trick-or-treaters enter your home, your cat will be protected from pokes, prods and loud noises.
- Lit pumpkins and candles can easily be knocked over and burn your cat. Curious kittens are especially at risk for getting hurt. Use a special battery-powered Jack-o-Lantern light or an electric candle.
- Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet could damage her mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
- Instead of sharing any of your trick-or-treating loot, celebrate Halloween with your cat by giving him goodies made especially for her. You could even find a cat-specific recipe for making homemade treats. Another way to get in the spirit is to switch out regular toys with some Halloween-themed toys.
- If you plan to put a costume on your cat, try it on her well in advance of Halloween to see how she reacts to it. If she tolerates it without fuss, make sure that it fits well enough to allow her to see, breathe, hear and move around unencumbered.
- Most Halloween costumes for cats are best used for photographing the cat, then removing. NEVER leave a costume on a cat unattended.
- Resist the temptation to take your cat to a Halloween Pet Parade, unless she is extremely comfortable around barking dogs, shrieking kids and other noise. For most cats, it's a little slice of hell. It's much more humane to leave her at home and enter her in one of the many online Halloween photo contests -- the PetSmart Howl-O-Ween photo contest, for example.
- If your cat is mellow enough to attend a Halloween Pet Parade, keep her in a harness and on a leash at all times.
- Resist the urge to take your pets trick-or-treating with you. Dogs especially are prone to picking up and eating candy or wrappers that have fallen to the ground, and in the dark, you're unlikely to see it happen. Cats can be easily spooked by the noise and chaos and escape.
- Because most cats dislike loud noises and shrieking, keep a television or radio on for your cats throughout the evening on Halloween to drown out the neighborhood sounds.