The season of tricks and treats (and trouble for cats) is upon us. The fun and excitement of the holiday can be stressful and even dangerous for your cat. I am here to help you keep this fun night from becoming a horror movie for you and your cat.
1 – Cat Costumes – Can we talk about costumes for cats? The internet is teeming with adorable and hysterical costumes for cats. But, here’s the thing. Most cats don’t like wearing costumes. Some cats may tolerate them, but most do not enjoy it. Don’t hate me for bringing you the truth.
If you make the choice to put your cat in a costume, make sure that you supervise your cat while they are dressed up. As your cat slinks and slides in and out of tight spaces, he/she is at risk for getting a body part stuck and even at risk for strangling. This is terrible, and it happens.
2 – Glow Sticks – Pet Poison Helpline reports that glow sticks are one of the top five reasons that cat parents call for their services throughout the year. Glow sticks add to the Halloween fun and help keep humans safe from cars while trick or treating. Some cats think that a glow stick looks like a great snack, until they take their first bite and the intensely bitter liquid makes contact with their tongue.
The good news is, the glow stick liquid is typically made of a substance called dibutyl phthalate, which is usually not toxic. The bad news is that just one bite into a glow stick can cause your cat to drool profusely. Offer your cat plenty of clean water and wash them off to make sure there is no more glow stick liquid in their fur that will be licked off later.
3 – Creepy People and Scary Noises – Keep you cat indoors on Halloween. Unfortunately, Halloween increases the risk of harm coming to your cat by cars or humans that are up to no good. You might even want to create a cat safe room in your house to buffer the stress of the constantly ringing doorbell and opening doors and gates. Pick a room far away from the ringing doorbell and add a radio or tv with your cat’s favorite programming to drown out the night’s noise and a cozy bed to snuggle in – and remove the possibility of your cat sneaking out.
In a quick second, your cat can get out and become lost. Before the big night, update the identifying info for your cat – like collar tags and microchip info. Consider making a dog safe room where your dog can spend the evening safe and sound.
4- Chocolate – Science tells us that cats do not have a sweet taste bud and are not attracted to sweet flavors. That said, every year some cats find their way into the trick or treat bag. Just like dogs, chocolate can be toxic to cats. It can cause symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to deadly heart arrhythmias. But, how can you tell how much trouble your cat is in after you find the trick or treat bag and the chewed chocolate wrappers strewn all over the floor? The toxins in chocolate come from the cocoa itself and the amount that is dangerous to your cat will depend on the size of your cat and the quantity of cocoa that your cat consumed. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate have lots of cocoa. Milk chocolate and candy bars do not have that much actual coco in them. If you find that your cat has gotten into the chocolate, immediately call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680. Early treatment will be cheaper, easier and is the most likely to have a good outcome.
5- Fire and Decorations – Fun Halloween decorations can be dangerous for your cat. The flickering flame of a jack-o-lantern candle is enticing to a cat and the danger there is obvious. Flames, glitter, feathers and the like can result in gastro-intestinal upset and even blockages. Monitor your cat and call your vet if your cat has any vomiting, diarrhea or stops eating.
Have a great and safe Halloween!
Wags and Purrs,
Dr. Liz Bales
The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine graduate, Dr. Liz Bales, has only ever wanted to be a veterinarian. She has such a passion for her job, that she says if she weren’t a vet, she would be studying to become one. She loves “helping pets and the people who love them be happy and healthy! Helping people translate complicated medical information into practical tips on how to care for, and connect with their pets is the best part of her job” Not just a veterinarian, Dr. Bales shares her passion through writing, giving speeches, and appearing on shows such as Fox and Friends, ABC News, and Cheddar. She has even started her own company, Doc and Phoebe, and invented a revolutionary cat product—the Indoor Hunting Feeder.
Dr. Bales’ favorite quote reflects her love and compassion for animals: “When a human dies there is a bridge they must cross to enter into Heaven. At the head of the bridge waits every animal that human encountered during their lifetime. The animals, based on what they know of this person, decide which humans may cross the bridge…and which are turned away.” With this in mind, Dr. Bales tries to live every day by her grandfather’s advice: “These days are precious. Don’t waste them.”