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Black Cats And Halloween: Danger Or Urban Legend?

Numerous adoption agencies said there is no evidence that black cats are more at risk than other animals around Halloween.
Kaitlin Davis/Instagram

Many people have heard the stories about black cats disappearing around Halloween and that adoption agencies don't allow adoptions of all-black or all-white pets in October. But for cat owners in the St. Louis area is this danger real or an urban myth?

Dr. Kelly Ryan of the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America in St. Louis said she has seen no evidence locally that black cats are more at risk than other animals.

The Animal Protective Association of Missouri said it does not limit pet adoptions at any time of the year. It did, however, implement a new policy this year that allows for adoptions of all pets on Halloween, but does not send the animal to their new home until the day after the holiday.

Steve Kaufman, the executive director for the APA said this delay is to protect animals from an even more stressful transition to their new home. He said Halloween is not the “proper time to acclimate a pet to a new environment” due to additional stressors, such as costumed individuals and doors being opened and closed regularly.

The Animal House Cat Rescue in St. Louis also does not limit adoptions of animals throughout the month of October, but director Brandyn Jones said this is because Animal House has potential owners go through a rigorous application process and does not allow for same day adoptions.

He said Halloween does present the same dangers to current pets, but there are a few simple steps that can be taken to ensure their safety.

These include, “putting them into a (separate) room when the door is going to be opened and closed, and keeping them away from candy, making sure that there are no choking hazards present,” Jones said

Keeping dogs on a leash, all pets behind a baby gate or in a kennel are a few others ways to ensure they don’t get frightened or lost during the celebrations. Ryan added that if an animal must go outside for a short period of time, owners should be sure to monitor them.

Jones suggests the best way to keep pets safe on Halloween is to simply keep them inside during trick-or-treating hours.

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