Dressing up in costume is definitely one of the aspects of Halloween that is most fun. However, in recent years it is not something that is purely for humans to enjoy.
Over the last decade, an increasing number of cat owners have taken the decision to include their furry feline in the festivities and dress them up too. This year, it is estimated that at least 16% of pet owners will purchase costumes and accessories for their adored animals.
Whether the costume you choose for your feline is frightful, cute or something hilarious, there is no doubt that cats look absolutely adorable in fancy dress. However, before you let your imagination take over, it is important that you think about how safe your kitty will be once she is in her outfit. There are many different hazards that dressing her up could present, and as a conscientious and caring owner, you will want to ensure that your choice in no way puts her at any risk.
So, what sort of things do you need to consider? Here are our favorite 5 tips for choosing a safe but splendid costume for your cat this Halloween.
1. Choose a costume that gives her freedom to move
No one likes to feel restricted, least of all your cat who won’t understand why she is wearing what she is and why it is preventing her from moving properly. Make sure your kitty’s costume enables her to walk, climb, sit, lay and empty her bladder and bowel at will. If she can’t, she is liable to get frustrated and exhibit behaviors, and let’s face it, who could blame her?
2. Think about the material of her costume
There has been a great deal of press about flammable Halloween costumes for humans over the years. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers have got the memo and many of the outfits and accessories that are being produced still present a very high risk of catching light if they come into contact with a naked flame or even if they get very hot. The same came can be said for store-bought pet Halloween outfits. If you are planning on making the costume yourself, think carefully about what material you are planning on using.
3. Don’t choose a costume with lots of dangly bits!
When it comes to pet costumes, less is more. If there are lots of hanging embellishments and dangling fabrics, they are more likely to get caught in something or irritate your cat. They are also a choking hazard, since she might chew them off or eat them if they fall onto the floor. Something as simple as a button or bell could block your kitty’s throat and prevent her from breathing. Alternatively, a foreign object could become lodged in her stomach and cause a blockage that can only be treated with invasive surgery.
4. Do not pick an outfit that blocks her vision or hearing
Headpieces may look very cute, but they can seriously impair several of your cat’s senses, from her sight to her hearing. Doing this can leave her feeling very vulnerable, and her behavior might change to reflect this. She may even freak out completely and refuse to wear her costume. When you are choosing what she is dressed in, make sure that her head and ears aren’t covered in any way.
5. Consider adding some Hi-Viz material to her costume
If your kitty is going to be roaming outside, or if there is a chance she might escape out into the neighborhood, she will be much easier to see if she has some fluorescent or reflective material on her costume. Not only will she be easier to spot and recapture if you want to bring her back indoors, but she will also be seen my cyclists and motorists that are passing by, and this means she is less likely to be involved in an accident and become injured. If her costume doesn’t have space for reflective materials, make some accessories!
If you still aren't sure if the costume you have planned is going to be safe for your cat to wear, and would like further advice, our friendly and experienced veterinary team would be happy to help. Please contact our offices in Port Charlotte, Florida to speak with us.