A Cat Safe Halloween

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Halloween is a favorite holiday with its tradition of pumpkins, candy and costumes, but holiday entertainment for humans can translate into hazards for the family cat.

You can keep your kitties out of harm's way while allowing them to be part of the fun however by just taking a few precautions.

The Problem With Pumpkins

Pumpkin can be good for kitties (see the article titled Pumpkin), but because cats like the taste, some felines will chew or eat a carved jack-o-lantern used as Halloween decor, even if the pumpkin is no longer "fresh".

After sitting on a porch or in a heated house for a few days, a pumpkin can begin to grow bacteria that if ingested will cause intestinal inflammation, stomach upset and diarrhea in your cat. Enjoy your pumpkin but keep it out of the reach of feline taste buds.

Burn Beware

Never leave a lighted candle or a jack-o-lantern with a candle in its interior where it could be knocked over by a curious kitty. Not only could the kitty start a house fire but it could be severely burned in the process.

Candy Snacks Are A Feline No-No

Keep chocolates and other treats away from your cat. Warn your children not to feed candy to the cats. Read the article titled Chocolate for details concerning theobromine, the compound in chocolate that is toxic to cats if eaten in sufficient quantities.

Make a home made cat treat especially for Halloween for the kids to feed their furry family members.

Candy wrappers are also enticing playthings to cats but can cause an intestinal blockage if eaten.

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks and glow jewelry are generally not terribly toxic for cats. However, if bitten, the substance inside has a terribly bitter taste that will cause your cat to drool intensely. If the worst happens and your pet does bite into a glow stick, allow him to drink some water to dilute the bitter taste. Wash the chemical off his fur with soap and water if necessary. If you’re unsure whether there is any chemical that needs to be washed away, turn the light off and look for glowing fur.

Other Decorating Dangers

Before hanging Halloween decorations, think about possible consequences for the feline member of the family. Items like spray-on-cob-webs and paper streamers can be a serious threat to your cat if eaten.

Keep Halloween decor up high beyond the reach of inquisitive paws. Keep your animal companions away from jack-o-lanterns, candles, balloons, or other decorations that they could ingest, become tangled in, or be injured by.

It's Shocking!

Lighted Halloween decorations come with cords and plugs. A playful kitten can be electrocuted or suffer mouth, tongue or gum burns if it bites into a cord. Tape cords to the floor and walls so they are not accessible or use protective cord covers available at electronics or hardware stores.

Batteries Not Included

Many cats think batteries make wonderful toys. For some felines, "Batting Batteries" is an addictive game. However, the ingredients in batteries are toxic to both pets and children, so be sure to keep batteries away from playful cats.

On Halloween Eve

Halloween night means lots of ringing of doorbells, open and closing the front door, loud voices, and excited children. To protect the safety of your cat and prevent any escapes out the front door, the cat should be confined to a quiet room away from all the commotion until after the trick or treating is finished. And if you're going trick-or-treating, don't take your animals with you.

Make sure your cat has some form of identification in the form of ID tags, a microchip, or both, in case the worst happens and your cat does escape.

Finally

If you think your cat has ingested something, symptoms to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, not defecating or straining to defecate, agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures. Contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

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