If there is one thing that we spend longer preparing than any other each Halloween, it is our costumes. From the simple but scary to the ostentatious and crazy, many people use Halloween as an excuse to their imagination run riot. However, it may surprise you to learn that an increasing number of owners are now letting their four-legged furbabies get in on the dressing up act too. Dressing up your pet is now very much a thing, and some estimates suggest that this year, more than $350million will be spent on Halloween costumes for animals.
There is no doubt that the right costume can look fantastic on your feline friend, but before you get carried away with planning, there are a few things that you should consider – not least, doing a dry-run of your costume before the big night itself.
Here are some of the main reasons why you should test your cat’s costume ahead of Halloween.
Your cat may not take to wearing a costume as you had hoped
You may think that your kitty will look adorable once she is in costume, but this certainly won’t be the case if she is uncomfortable and stressed out when she is in it. Cats may have a reputation for being laid back, but this doesn’t mean that she will just accept being forced into a costume. You know yourself how restricting, itchy and just downright awkward some costumes can be. Since your cat doesn’t understand why she is being made to wear her costume, the frustration that she feels may be compounded and the signs of stress may become clear through her behavior.
Symptoms of stress/anxiety in cats
Cats are predisposed to trying to hide any signs of vulnerability for fear that it will make them look to any potential predator. However, if your feline friend is particularly bothered, she will not be able to help but reveal some symptoms of stress/anxiety. These include:
- Pawing at her costume
- Shaking his body vigorously
- Running around nervously
- Constantly scratching and licking at himself and his costume
- Tucking her tail
- Becoming aggressive
- Freezing / becoming immobile
No loving owner wants their pet to be uncomfortable, but the only way that you will know if your cat is able to tolerate wearing her costume on her is to try it on her a few days before. If she exhibits any of the symptoms listed above, swap it for something else or better still, forgo dressing her in costume and let her enjoy Halloween just as she is.
You need to check that your cat can function normally
It may sound obvious, but one of the most important reasons for doing a dry-run of your cat’s Halloween costume is to ensure that she can do everything that she would do usually. This means walking, jumping, climbing, laying and emptying her bladder and bowels. If she can’t do these things, she will become frustrated. Her costume is not suitable and should be exchanged for something else.
You also need to check that the costume that you have chosen enables her to see and hear clearly. Animals are heavily reliant on their senses, and if hers are diminished in any way, she could feel vulnerable and her behavior will reflect this. It is not fair to put any animal in something that leaves them feeling unprotected, so this is a crucial thing to check when you do a test-run of your feline’s Halloween costume.
You must check that her costume is not unsafe in any way
Unfortunately, not all costumes are designed with safety in mind and this means that your choice of fancy dress could pose a potential risk for your cat. Things to look out for include decorations and embellishments that could come loose or be chewed off by a curious cat, hanging material and sharp sections such as plastic or wires. Any of the above could block or damage your pet’s airway, or lodge in her stomach and cause an obstruction. Look at your cat’s costume from a health and safety point of view and if anything seems hazardous, it is time to rethink your outfit choice.
As a caring and conscientious owner, your cat’s safety is your responsibility this Halloween. For further guidance on costumes or anything else related to this Halloween season, please contact our offices in Navarre, Florida to speak to our dedicated veterinary team.