Halloween is definitely a time for some fearsome fun, but someone who might not enjoy it quite so much is your pet cat. Spooky decorations, strange sounds and smells and large groups of people in frightening costumes knocking at your door over and over – it is little wonder that many cats suffer from stress and anxiety during Halloween week.
Unfortunately, these intense emotions mean that cats often behave erratically, and not at all like their usual selves. Even the most laid-back feline may suffer from a range of symptoms that suggest they are feeling worried by Halloween preparations. Common symptoms of feline stress and anxiety include:
- Urinating outside of the litterbox
- Excessive grooming
- Excessive scratching
- Excessive vocalization
- Loss of appetite
- Digestive upset including diarrhea, constipation and vomiting
- Becoming aggressive
Another common behavior on Halloween is trying to escape your house. Often this occurs in cats as a result of stress and occasionally excitement, and this creates endorphins and a flood of adrenaline that prompts your cat to try and escape. However, in some cases cats simply don’t like being kept indoors even if it is for their own good, and will try and find a way to escape regardless.
Why is Halloween more dangerous for cats than any other night?
Some research suggests that there are more accidents and injuries involving animals, including cats, during Halloween week than at any other point during the year. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, when your cat is scared she is more likely to behave impulsively. This means that even a mature, experienced outdoor cat who knows who to be careful around roads and vehicles may panic and accidentally dart out into oncoming traffic and become injured. They may also take risks that they would otherwise consider more carefully and probably avoid.
Additionally, cats and other animals tend to be largely overlooked on Halloween. Whether they are out trick-or-treating or heading to a party, people are more likely to be distracted by the lights, sounds and general atmosphere of Halloween, and this means that they are less likely to notice animals around them.
Finally, it is an unfortunate fact that there are some people who use Halloween as an excuse for bad behavior – and a very small number have been known to exhibit cruelty to animals, and in particular, to cats. Keeping your kitty inside for the duration of Halloween is the safest option all round.
How can I prevent my cat from escaping my home on Halloween?
Keeping your cat indoors on Halloween needn’t be a hugely difficult task. The first thing to do is to create a safe zone in a secure room somewhere in your house. Ideally make this a room off of another room – such as an ensuite bathroom off of your bedroom. This will enable you make sure one door is shut before another door opens, limiting how far your cat can go should she try and bolt the moment you open the door. In this safe zone, place her bed, her litter tray, something to eat and drink and her favorite toy. This will help her feel reassured about her temporary confinement.
Make sure that your family know where your cat is located and that they aren’t to let her out under any circumstances. Keep windows closed and securely locked too – cats can be surprisingly clever escape artists!
Microchip your cat
Studies have shown that microchipping your pet makes it much more likely that she will be returned to you in the event that she becomes lost or stolen. The painless and simple procedure involves placing a microchip under your pet’s skin, usually at the back of her neck. When scanned, this microchip emits a reference number that is linked to a secure database entry. This entry contains your personal contact details so that you can be made aware that your pet has been found.
If you would like more information on pet microchipping, or advice on the best ways to prepare for this Halloween with your cat, our veterinary experts would be delighted to offer their assistance. Please contact our offices which are located in Birmingham, AL to schedule your appointment.