Halloween may be fun for humans, but it can be downright terrifying for animals. The strange sights, sounds and smells can all be stressful for cats and dogs.
Because black cats are a big part of the season, black cats that are adopted from the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1 are not allowed to go to their new homes until November.
PURRfect Partners, whose cats are featured weekly on Redondo Beach Patch, has a similar policy; however, it stems more from concerns about holiday stress than it does fears that the cat will be used in a Halloween display. The organization does not allow any cats—not just black ones—adopted during the week before Halloween to be placed until November.
"These are busy times where there's a lot of noise and activity that aren't helpful when a cat is trying to adjust to a new home," Executive Director Debra Corwin told Redondo Beach Patch. "The sounds of the doorbell ringing constantly, and the coming of trick-or-treaters and partygoers can be very rightening to a new cat. It adds to the stress of being in a new environment and also increases the risk of a cat panicking and running out."
Still, there are ways families can lessen their pet's anxiety. In a news release posted Tuesday, the spcaLA offered these tips for keeping furry friends safe during the haunting holiday:
- Keep pets inside in a safe and quiet area. Ringing doorbells and cries of "Trick or treat!" can be stressful, so keep pets happy by leaving them with their beds, favorite toys and soothing music. It's even better if a family member can stay with them in the room.
- Don't take a dog or cat trick-or-treating—the strange costumes and masks are frightening, and the pet might run away or attack the "monster." Owners can be liable for any injuries or damages caused by their pets.
- Don't dress a pet in a costume that's not made for pets. If a dog or cat is dressed in a pet costume, make sure it's the right size.
- Don't let cats or dogs eat candy. Many types of sweets, including chocolate, will make pets sick, and the tinfoil wrappers can lodge in a pet's digestive tract.
- All dogs should know how to "come when called," just in case it breaks free while trick-or-treaters are at the door. To that end, all pets should also be microchipped and wearing a reflective collar with current tags in case they escape.
- Pets should never be allowed around lit candles—the risk of singed whiskers or burned paws is too great.