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What Can I Do With My Cat on Halloween? 8 Vet Approved Tips to Ensure Their Safety

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

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Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Halloween is a fun time for kids to dress up in costumes and go door to door in search of candy. This can be a stressful time for pets, though. Noisy and unusual decorations, lots of strangers in odd clothing, and the frequent doorbell ringing can all be extremely upsetting for cats. You’ll also likely have an influx of people in your neighborhood, which means your cat could be exposed to many more people than usual if they’re outdoors. What are the best ways to keep your cat safe and calm on Halloween?

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The 8 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Cat on Halloween

1. Keep Them Indoors

The number one way to keep your cat safe any time of the year is to keep them indoors. Outdoor cats can have shortened life spans due to the inherent risks associated with the outdoors, like predators and cars. Even if your cat lives outside or tends to be an indoor/outdoor cat, Halloween is an ideal time to keep your cat indoors for the night.

Although the odds of someone taking or hurting your cat may be low, it’s not zero. With the larger-than-usual number of people wandering around, there’s an increased risk of something happening to your cat, especially if people are arriving in your neighborhood in cars.

kitten dressed as a witch in a cauldron halloween
Image Credit: Katrina Brown, Shutterstock

2. Get Them Microchipped

Having your pet microchipped is an amazing way that technology has helped pet owners ensure their lost pets get back home to them. Although microchips don’t work like a GPS tracker, they do contain a link to your contact information, ensuring your cat will make it back to you if someone finds them.

Since you’ll be opening the door a lot on Halloween, whether you’re handing out candy or trick-or-treating with your kids, it’s best to have your cat microchipped. Because of the hustle and bustle of the day, your cat may slip out and get lost. A microchip will help make sure your kitty makes it back home if that happens.


3. Keep Them in a Closed Room

A microchip isn’t going to stop your cat from bolting out the front door, unfortunately. To keep your cat safe, the ideal solution is to keep them in a secure area. Closing your cat in a quiet room in your home can provide them with a sense of comfort and safety while also keeping them secure. Any time your door will be opening and closing a lot is a risk for a curious or easily spooked cat, but there are rarely more times in a year that you’ll open your front door than on Halloween if you’re handing out candy.

cat halloween
Image Credit: Anton27, Shutterstock

4. Secure Jack o’ Lanterns

Jack o’ lanterns are a fun activity for people of all ages to create, and they leave behind a fun reminder of your crafting skills. They’re fun to look at, especially once it’s dark outside and the candles are lit inside of them. Many people still use tea lights or other small candles to light their jack o’ lanterns, which means there’s a burn risk to a curious cat.

If your cat has access to outdoor jack-o’-lanterns or you’ve brought one into the house, you should plan to keep it well out of the reach of your cat. This will not only keep them safe from a candle inside of it, but it will also ensure your cat doesn’t pull a heavy jack o’ lantern down on themselves.


5. Give Them a Cat-Friendly Treat

Even people who don’t like sweets very much typically have a favorite candy. From chocolate to pure sugar, the candies that will be in your house on Halloween are numerous. If you’re handing out candy, you probably have a bowl of the sweet stuff sitting by your front door.

If you have kids, then they’ll likely come home with a huge bag of candy – the spoils of a successful night out. As tasty as candy is to humans, it’s not healthy for cats. In some cases, candy may be unsafe for cats. Keep the candy out of reach of your cat, but consider giving them a cat-friendly treat so they can participate too!

Hand feeding hungry seal point siamese cat with treats stick
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

6. Watch a Movie Together

Halloween movies have increased in popularity, with many older movies having cult followings and new movies coming out every year. There’s certainly a movie you’ll have fun watching on Halloween. If you’re not up to handing out candy and you’re just waiting for the night to end, consider sitting down to watch a movie with your cat. Hanging out together will provide your cat with a sense of safety and security. You can also turn the volume up just enough to help reduce the sounds of strangers roaming around your neighborhood.


7. Skip the Cat Costume

If you want to be a cat for Halloween, then you don’t have to skip your cat costume. Unfortunately, you probably should skip the Halloween costume for your cat. As cute as cats look in Halloween costumes, many cats don’t like wearing clothes of any kind. It can be stressful, uncomfortable, and frightening for a cat to be squeezed into a silly Halloween costume. You may also consider avoiding wearing any spooky costumes around your cat. Masks and other accessories that significantly change your appearance may be extremely scary for your pet.

cat on a bolster bed at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

8. Provide Calming Chews

Just like on the Fourth of July, your cat may need something to help them calm down on Halloween. Over-the-counter calming chews can be a great way to help your cat chill out a little bit, but for highly anxious cats, prescription medication from the vet may be necessary.

If your cat is extremely stressed by Halloween, something to help calm them down could be useful. Jumpiness, hiding, refusing to eat, and attempting to bolt out open doors or windows can all be indicators that your cat is highly stressed.

Black Cats and Halloween

We’ve all heard the anecdote that black cats are at higher risk than other cats for being hurt or killed on Halloween. Of course, black cats are associated with many negative things, like bad luck, witches, and Satanism. It’s a common belief that people will use black cats for rituals on Halloween, while other people fear rowdy hooligans snatching and harming their black cats.

You’ll be glad to know that these beliefs are nothing more than an urban legend. Although black cats have been associated with so much negativity, the current idea that people are harming or sacrificing black cats on Halloween dates back to the Satanic panic that happened in the 1980s and 1990s. There are no reports from anyone working in animal care environments that black cats are harmed or killed more frequently over Halloween.

So, while the good news is that your black cat isn’t at a higher risk than other cats, the bad news is that all cats are at an increased risk of getting lost, getting hurt, or getting sick over Halloween.

woman wearing witch's hat carrying a black cat
Image Credit: Konstantin Zibert, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Halloween is a time of increased risk for cats due to lots of door openings, strangers, and unusual behaviors and appearances that can spook a cat. There are lots of ways you can keep your cat safe and feeling secure on Halloween. It’s important for you to prepare ahead of time, though. Decide if you’re going to hand out candy so you can make a plan to keep your cat feeling content and safe.

 

Featured Image Credit: Firn, Shutterstock

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