Cats Wearing Halloween Costumes: Why Cats Hate Them

In just a few weeks, Halloween will once again be upon us! It’s time to get the festivities in motion. And if you are considering putting your cat into a Halloween costume, you might want to reconsider. Sure, it’s cute. Sure, you think it’s fun.  But does your cat really enjoy it? Not really, and if he could talk, he might just have a few unkind words to express. For now, however, he will just hiss at you. You might be one of those folks who can persuade your cat to wear a costume, but if you get inside his head, you will see it from another perspective. Below are some reasons why cats dislike wearing Halloween costumes:

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Cat wearing rabbit halloween costume

Cats Dislike Halloween Costumes Because They’re Scary!

Imagine what you look like to him with a witch’s hat on or a cape fluttering around your shoulders. Put that cape on HIM and will he most certainly run for the hills. Just by attaching a cape to his collar, he will sense he has fake arms flapping around and that will cause undue stress and anxiety in him. There will be no sense of calm in this instance.

And can you imagine what your cat will feel like if he is covered from head to toe in some costume?  He may just become paralyzed with fear and anxiety.

Costumes Smell Funny

Halloween costumes smell strange. As you know, cats identify what is safe in people and in objects by scent. A costume actually covers up their own scent to they might not even recognize themselves!

Cats Dislike Wearing Halloween Costumes Because They Make Weird Sounds

Then there are the sounds those costumes make.  Think: rustling fabric, jingling bells, or a hat scrunched over your cat’s ears. A cat’s hearing is highly sensitive and these extra, unexplained sounds could send him into overdrive with anxiety and fear.

Costumes Interfere With Feline Communication

All communication has ceased.  Since cats communicate via their ears, tail position, fur elevation and eyes, a costume will stand in the way of that communication. Imagine how difficult it would be for you to communicate with others if someone tied your hands and taped your mouth shut. Not fun! And if a costume inhibits a cat’s vision, that can be extremely dangerous. He may feel vulnerable and in the line of fire in terms of an ambush. No, your cat totally doesn’t need that stress.

Cats Dislike Wearing Halloween Costumes Because They Feel Trapped

Additionally, a cat in a costume feels trapped. Consider the Halloween costume akin to a feline straitjacket.  Yeah, you get the idea.  Not fun. And finally, when a cat is in a silly costume, he is subject to stares from others, which makes him feel as if he is under attack.

So, fair warning….if you want a fun and safe Halloween with your cat, resist the urge to put him in a costume. If you absolutely have to indulge in this holiday by dressing up your cat, then be sure to introduce your cat to the costume early; keep it simple;  an even let your cat sniff and explore the costume as you leave it on the floor for a bit.

As an alternative to a costume, consider a Halloween themed breakaway collar, bandana or bowtie. Many cats tolerate these much better than costumes and your cat will still be in the Halloween spirit!



Written by Ann Butenas

Ann Butenas

An internationally-recognized author and writer, Ann began her professional writing career at age 12 and began speaking while in college. She has been published thousands of times over the past three decades in all media forms, was former editor and publisher of KC Metro Woman magazine, and has also hosted three talk radio shows in the Kansas City area.