Q. This will be the first winter with our six-month-old kitten. Is it true that you have to keep him indoors and away from all the fun of Halloween and bonfire night? Or can he join in the fun with us? Claire, Essex
A. In these situations you need to think of your pet as a toddler. You wouldn't let your toddler go to a bonfire party on their own and it's pretty much the same with your pet – especially kittens or puppies!
Most of the things you hear from animal welfare organisations about keeping your pet safe on bonfire night are true. You do need to take precautions. Many pets will be frightened by the noise of fireworks and, if your cat is outside, there's also the risk that he could be accidentally – or intentionally, in some sad cases – injured by a firework.
So, first of all, try to keep him in on Halloween and bonfire night. Also, make sure he has identification on his collar – just in case he slips out and then gets lost. At this time of year, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home sees a huge number of lost animals being brought in.
In terms of dealing with the big bangs and flashing lights, try drawing the curtains and putting some music on – and be around so that he has the option to cuddle up on your lap. And if you're having a big party, it would be advisable to put your kitten in a separate room with his water and litter tray.
If you don't feel comfortable with that, at least give him an option to escape – don't leave him locked in with the party-goers. I know I sound like a party pooper but things that we enjoy can be very stressful for our pets, so we need to offer them a safe and loving environment.
Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort, an early visit to the vet is always recommended