Disaster Preparation and Your Cat
As those living on the Gulf Coast found out recently, natural disasters can happen without warning. Because of the tremendous cost to pets health and lives during Hurricane Katrina, this disaster should remind all of us to be prepared ahead of time.
- Make sure your pet is micro-chipped
- Prepare a pet first-aid kit include any medications your cat may be taking.
- You can buy Cat First-Aid Kits at any pet supply store or over the Internet, or, you can make your own. (Please see our article in Cat Care about making a cat first-aid box).
- Take a clear picture of your cat and laminate it. Tape it to the underside of the lid of the First Aid kit (make sure the box will float if submerged in water).
- Be sure your cat carrier is available year- round for your cat’s use.
- Keep the door of your cat carrier on and opened at all times.
- Take several small freezer bags and start to freeze dry cat food. Keep these bags in a special section of your freezer. They will slip easily into a small insulated bag or lunchbox that you can grab and go when a storm or an emergency hits.
- Using the heavy duty freezer bags freeze water. These can be used both for ice packs if your cat is injured, and once unthawed will provide fresh water your cat is used to drinking.
- Prepare a pet box for each cat. Use Rubbermaid containers with tight fitting lids. If the lid is sealed the container should float. Inside place:
- Plastic food and water bowls.
- Can opener (manual of course!).
- Plastic lid to keep the leftover food fresh.
- Plastic spoons to scoop out the food.
- Remember to keep the contents as light as possible.
- Canned food for at least a week
- Dry Food for a week.
- Also include photos of your cat(s) laminated for protection. When the wind is howling, the rain is slamming down or a tornado is approaching, cats want to flee. If you are in an unfamiliar place and open your cat carrier to soothe your cat, she may escape. You will need a way to let others know what she looks like.
- Litter-box, litter scoop and cat litter. Scoopable pine is lightweight so is Nature’s Best. But changing litter mid-stride during a disaster isn’t wise. Keep to the brand that your cat knows best. She is going to be upset enough without you changing litter types on her. You can purchase several, large aluminum throw-away pans. These make great litter boxes.
- Rescue Remedy- kitty is going to be stressed. Have a bottle of rescue remedy you can slip into her food or water to help her relax. Feliway Spray is also another item to have during a stressful time.
- Paper towels and litter liners. Litter liners are not something I use on a day-to-day basis, but they are the best in cleaning up kitty piles, hairballs and other signs of kitty anxiety. Puppy pads are good to line the carrier with; they will catch all the messes. Or try this product www.dryfur.com
- Dark cloth to drape the cat carrier.
- Veterinary information.
- Medication for your cat.
- Don’t depend on collars. Have your cat micro chipped. Cats with collars on are vulnerable to all sorts of hazards if the cat escapes. Collars snag on items and the cat can choke to death.
- Also include your personal information. Business card or small index card that has your information on it.
During the disaster, keep your stress level down. If your cat gets wind that you are upset or anxious, guess what? Kitty vanishes and she will be difficult to find.
Keeping your cat carrier out 24/7 will help tremendously. Most cats associate the cat carrier with pain, confusion and anxiety because they only go inside to go to the vet’s office. Please see this article for how to accomplish making the cat carrier cat-friendly
You can also use a folding wire cage to keep your cat in. If you are working in a warmer climate, this would be a better option as far as air circulation goes. Bring something to cover the cage as well.
For every cat you own, be sure they have their own carrier. Even the best of feline friends will fight when they are under duress. Be sure that you have the cat carriers prepared well ahead of time if you know the storm/disaster is coming, throw in soft bedding, a few cat toys. Spray the inside of the carrier with Feliway prior to placing the cat in the carrier. A dirty sock or two added to the carrier will also help keep your scent close and your cat calm.
Have an evacuation plan ready before you have to use it. Keep the pet box stocked and know where it is at all times. Mother Nature does not discriminate. If she wants to clean up the planet there is little we can do to stop her. But, we can be prepared ahead of time for whatever she decides to throw our way.