Tips for a stress-free Halloween for your cat

While you may be looking forward to Halloween as a fun and exciting night, your cat probably isn’t. In fact, nothing about finding their home invaded by monsters, loud noises and constant knocking on the door sounds particularly appealing to your feline friend. Halloween can be a major source of stress for your pet, but with the advice below, you can help make the experience more pleasant for them.

Keep your cat indoors

Even if your cat is usually allowed to play outside, Halloween just isn’t the right day to do so. By late afternoon, the streets start filling up with trick or treaters in costumes and dense traffic, as parents finish work early to return home in time. All this increased activity presents additional risks that your cat may get lost, trapped somewhere or injured. Save yourself the worry, and keep them indoors for this one day.

Don’t parade costumes in front of your cat

As fun at it may sound, parading your Halloween costume or your dressed-up children in front of your cat isn’t a good idea. The experience can be confusing to your pet, as they’ll recognize your smell, but won’t understand why you’ve suddenly grown fur, sprouted fangs or turned into some horrible creature. Consider putting on costumes gradually and in a calm manner with your cat present in the room, comforting them with an occasional praise, so your “transformation” doesn’t come as a sudden shock to them.

Create a “Halloween-free” room for your cat

Whether you’re hosting a Halloween party or giving out candy, designate a room as a safe space for your cat. Provide them with all their essentials—litter box, food, water and a few toys—and close the door. If you’re having guests, add a note on the door asking that it remains closed for your cat’s safety. Visit your pet frequently so they understand they’re not being punished, and offer them praises, treats and if you have time, a simple massage.

Provide plenty of distractions

Even in their safe room, the constant shouting, knocking, heavy footsteps and laughing can be nerve-wracking for your cat. Keep the windows closed to cut off sounds from the street, and consider playing some soothing music or leaving the TV on to help alleviate the ambient noise from inside your house.

Forget about Halloween costumes for cats

Cats don’t just “dislike” Halloween costumes. They hate them. As cute as images of kittens dressed as pirates and witches may look, there are many reasons you shouldn’t dress up your cat for Halloween. The costume’s fabric, smell and tight fit can all hinder your cat’s sharp senses, and cause them to feel threatened and anxious. If you absolutely want your cat to wear something special for the occasion, go with a simple accessory like a seasonal collar or an extra tag with a spooky design.