The Scratching Post is a weekly newsletter from pets columnist Kate Karp, bringing you all the latest news on pet adoptions, animal welfare and ways to get involved.

Meet Phoenix: ready to be adopted by not ready to wear a Halloween costume. “You promised me unconditional love, and now you want me to wear what?” Photo by CatPAWS volunteer Beth

Time to hit paws on the cute cat videos and hunker down with horror movies. If there’s an animal in any of them, all the better for us.

Unless the animal doesn’t make it to the credits. Pets, especially in horror movies, are uh-oh moments. Zombies can scoop out human brains and eat them, demons can possess teenagers, monsters can ruin a perfectly lovely weekend at a rustic cabin, people can be snuffed and slaughtered in every unimaginable way, and we’re masochistically delighted. But if the family pet gets it, we turn it off and hug the dog.

I always figure that any animal in a film has a good chance of a ghastly end, so now I check whether a film I’m interested in has an animal in it and then do a search for “Does the cat/dog/bunny/parakeet/raccoon die in the film?” If any do, the film’s off the table. If the animal isn’t, I grab the popcorn and the cats and happily scare the stuffing out of myself.

Here are a few good ones that you can sink your fangs into and not worry about the fate of the furry. No spoilers other than the pet makes it, but make sure to gloss over any when you investigate.

  •  “The Shadow of the Cat” A manor house in the English countryside, a murder, and a 22% Rotten Tomato rating would seem meh and bleh until you add the cat, who’s the only witness to her human’s murder—ridiculous premise—and consider that it’s a 1961 Hammer film. So, you’re in for a silly if not dated good time. The kitty looms large right to the corny punchline at the end.
  •  “Alien” I saw the classic space film decades ago with my nephew and his friend, and all I can remember (except for that unforgettable “birth” scene) was the two of us saying, “Jones! Jones! Where’s Jones? He’s not going to die?” Jones was a nonchalant orange cat who not only made it to the end but also slunk his way into the sequels.
  • “Talk to Me” Besides being one of the best supernatural movies I’ve seen in a while, “Talk to Me” is also the best one in which no harm comes to the animal, except for a disturbing kissy scene between a boy and a dog that was actually a merging of two separate shots (must read—the creators describe it here). The movie was created and beautifully filmed in Australia by twin brothers—it’s about a teenage girl who accepts a dare to communicate with spirits through a talisman in the form of a dried hand. The dog, Cookie, was sent from the room whenever bad stuff happened.

Give your own pets a safe time at Halloween

Keep them away from any decorations they might ingest, sequester them somewhere in the house when trick-or-treaters come, be sure they have their ID on them and are microchipped in case—dog forbid—they run outside, and put the chocolate way out of range. And please, please keep your cats indoors.

Meanwhile, have a great time with your fur buddy cuddling and huddling on the sofa, or wherever you watch horror films, and promise them that no harm’ll come to them, ever.

Pets to adopt or foster

Here’s another tip: don’t dress up the cat for Halloween unless you’ve checked with them first.

These kittens are too young to know any better, and so they allowed this indignity—for a while, anyway. But don’t they look kyoot? To take one home forever, complete an adoption application here. You can see all the fosters in their birthday suits on the same page. All CatPAWS cats have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, deflead and dewormed, microchipped and fostered with absolute love, costume or no costume.

Wally is ready to be adopted. Photo by CatPAWS volunteer Beth.

CatPAWS paid for surgery on Wally’s injured hind leg, and now she runs, plays, and climbs effortlessly. She can also get out of that hot dog costume with surprising alacrity. Wally can be an only cat and keep you company while you work, but she wouldn’t mind a calm kitty companion.

Aphrodite is the goddess of love and cuddles unless she’s wrapped in a dragon costume. After she gets out of it, she’ll snuggle while you watch TV or sleep. She gives the best nose kisses! Her favorite toy is any wand toy—they’re magic to her! And here’s a real bag of tricks and treats!

Sadie, Barbie and Raquelle are all in costume and ready to be adopted. Photo by CatPAWS volunteer Beth.

From top: Sadie, whose fortitude prevents anyone from dressing her up; Barbie, the brown tabby with her own Barbie pumpkin outfit; Raquelle, who’s desperately trying to crawl out of her skeleton suit; and Aphrodite, whom you’ve met and who has to be the most adorable dragon anywhere.

Pet events and announcements

Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade

If you go down to the beach on Sunday, you’re in for a treat, for every dog that ever was will be dressed up from ears to claws. Justin Rudd and his team of Haute Dog volunteers are famous for their events that both entertain and benefit our community. Dress up your doggies and enter them in one or more contests, or just come to spectate. Food trucks, vendors and adoptable pets will also be around. There were 400 dogs last year, so be sure to bring cleanup stuff! Culturally insensitive costumes are prohibited—follow this link for guidelines.

Sunday, Oct. 29, 2:30 p.m., Former Belmont Pool location (just west of Rosie’s Dog Beach), 4000 E. Olympic Plaza, Long Beach, register your dog here

Feline Good Social Club’s Punk Rawk Yoga

It’s all purr-nayama at the Feline Good Social Club, with a special playlist that’s sure to challenge your relaxation techniques. Goth, synth and post-punk will fill the lounge with dark sounds that night. Wear a catly costume or just your comfy wraps. All cats are adoptable, so they’ll be trick-or-treating, too! Ages 13 and up only, and any monster under 16 needs their adult Frankenstein with them.

Sunday, Oct. 29, 6 p.m.–7 p.m., Feline Good Social Club, 301 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, tickets $30, available here

Helen Sanders CatPAWS Le Chic Cat Soiree fundraiser

When Halloween’s over and done, it’s the festive season—time to get into your slinky, blingy catsuits and join in a gala fundraiser for CatPAWS cat rescue. The evening will include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a dinner buffet and dessert, silent-auction items, and a presentation featuring an overview of CatPAWS programs, a salute to adopters, and of course, bios of little lives saved. CatPAWS’ new spay/neuter mobile clinic, which last year’s Soiree helped fund, will be parked nearby. Actor/comedian Roger Lundblade will preside over the fur-stivities. All funds will go toward funding all the good things CatPAWS does for formerly unwanted cats.

Saturday, Nov. 4, 5 p.m., Navy Golf Course Seal Beach, located at 5660 Orangewood Ave., Cypress, tickets $200, available here or at door.

To see a list of local animal rescue groups, click here.