I love Halloween. But I have a house full of running, jumping, wrestling and sometimes squabbling cats. This makes decorating problematic. Last year a really cute ceramic pumpkin man got knocked off the mantelpiece and smashed on the brick below. I had just bought it at the thrift store a week before. They all know the rule “No cats on the mantel!”. Of course it’s the largest, clumsiest, most oblivious cats who insist on jumping up there, Cloud, Mo, Hansel and Dusk. All the boys. My dear departed Skye liked to walk up there but she was small and careful and didn’t do it very often and not when it was cluttered. The picture at left is an example of the kind of result I might get if the cats decided to go wild as a group. (Thanks Morguefile.com)
It would be a lot easier if more progress had been made on the house. With the chest freezer in the dining room, hanging anything off that so-called chandelier is a dodgy option. Dangling things are too much of a temptation for cats and that freezer brings reach within the realm of possibility to feline eyes. By next Halloween that freezer had better be under the window in the kitchen ell where I intended it to go.
Another consideration in the decorations vs cats contest is feline safety. Even adult cats are attracted to string-like things and small items that rattle along the floor when batted. Cats are less likely than dogs to eat anything in site but accidental swallowing can happen to anyone, even humans. Ask anyone who has choked on a fish bone. So I have to be careful that decorations don’t take revenge on destructive cats by shedding parts that can be swallowed and choked on, or block or perforate an intestine. An expensive vet visit is a nasty Halloween trick we don’t want. Even things you would think safe might not be so good for cats.
If you’ve ever found the remains of a dead bird out on the lawn, you know that cats will tear into feathers, but it’s not really what they want to eat. However, wild birds don’t douse their feathers in chemical dyes, so if some goes down with the rest, it should not raise alarm. Indoor kitties, whose access to feathers is limited to purchased toys get feathers like the one at right. I wouldn’t want my cats to ingest any of that. Nor would I want any of the Mylar streamers on fish pole toys I see to go into them. So Halloween decorations have to be cat safe. There are enough hazards for cats as it is, especially at Halloween. Keep your kitties indoors, especially the black ones, swap out open flame candles for safe LED ones, and decorate to avoid temptation, for dogs too. Keep an eye on all that candy. No raisins or chocolate for dogs and cats. All this applies to human children in equal measure, while chocolate might not be a problem, nuts could be and too much at once is not good for anyone. A safe Halloween is a happy Halloween.