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Cat Safety During Halloween and Bonfire Night

Clare Hemington DipCAPBT has worked in the field of cat behaviour for fifteen years. She is an accredited Cat Behaviourist and respected member of the COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers. Here, she shares her top tips for cat safety and welfare during Halloween and Bonfire Night. 
Clare and Billy
  • Respect Your Cat's Need for Solitude: Your home may be very busy on Halloween night with a conveyor belt of excitable children ringing your doorbell in search of treats. If you have a cat that would prefer to stay away from the action make sure you set aside a quiet room where he can go to, should he choose. The room should contain a heated pet bed, food, water, a litter tray, toys and a calming plugin diffuser, allowing him to do his own thing in peace.


  • Secure Candles and Electrical Decorations: If you’d like to create a ghoulish atmosphere on Halloween night make sure you place candles and electrical decorations well out of the reach of curious paws. This prevents the risk of them being knocked over or ingested, which could lead to poisoning, choking, electric shock, or burns. Likewise, to avoid startling your cat, if possible, opt for Halloween decorations that don’t rely on remote sensors. The sudden activation of this type of decoration may cause your cat anxiety and to respond by diving under the nearest bed, or duvet!


  • Keep Treats Out of Reach: Ensure that your feline companion does not have access to sweets or chocolate, as these substances can be toxic to cats. Chocolate and xylitol, a common sweetener in many of today’s sweets, are harmful to cats.


  • Skip Dressing Up Your Cat: Avoid the temptation to dress your cat in a Halloween costume. Cats can find clothing distracting or distressing. It's best to allow him to be as nature intended, keeping him comfortable and stress-free.
  • Be Prepared: For fireworks night remember that fireworks can occur on various occasions, not just on November 5th, so be prepared for fireworks before and after this date, as well as during New Year's Eve celebrations. It is best practice to keep you cat indoors during these two celebrations. However, fireworks can catch us out in the weeks before or after this season. If your cat has a ProtectaPet garden, you can be safe in the knowledge that they cannot dart off beyond their secure garden territory when they hear a loud noise. Cats have been known to seek refuge in sheds, garages and other shelters when they are scared, causing them to become lost or trapped. ProtectaPet provides cat fence barriers, cat enclosures and catios, allowing cats to roam a safe outdoor garden territory and cat owners to enjoy total peace of mind.


  • Create a Safe Space: In the same way as you did for Halloween, create a safe space containing all your cat’s core resources where he can retreat to, should he wish.


  • Bring Your Cat Indoors: Ensure your cat is safely indoors before dusk by securing the cat flap and closing all windows and doors, even if you have a ProtectaPet garden. 


  • Create a Comforting Environment: Close the curtains and turn on the radio or television to provide background noise that can divert your cat's attention away from the outside commotion.


  • Maintain Your Usual Routine: Behave as normally as possible to reassure your cat that there's no reason to be afraid.


  • Distraction: If your cat appears anxious, use positive distraction techniques such as play to engage him, but avoid persisting with your efforts if he makes it clear he doesn’t wish to participate.

It's important not to scold or punish your cat for any behaviours you might consider 'inappropriate' in response to fireworks, as this can increase their stress and anxiety.

During both types of celebration try plugging in a calming diffuser, these are designed to help reduce any anxiety your cat may be experiencing.

Microchipping your cat will ensure a safe return if he does go out and get lost trying to escape from the hubbub.

Toys could act as a distraction, with the scent of the honeysuckle providing additional motivation for play activity over a non-scented toy However, if a cat is terrified, unfortunately no amount of encouragement towards play will prevent this!