Preparing for Emergencies to Save or Protect Your Cat
Q: What kind of emergencies?
A: Natural disasters come to mind first; such as: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes. Other emergency situations: house fires, car accidents, explosions, gas leaks, hazardous driving conditions, sickness, anything that keeps you from returning to your house or forces you to evacuate immediately.
Figure out now WHERE you will go if you must leave your home. Will they allow you to bring your cat? Many shelters are NOT setup for pets. If you go to a friend or family’s house, they need to know you have a cat. Keep in mind pet-friendly hotels, boarding kennels, and veterinarians.
Does your cat have a microchip? This is incredibly important. If your cat isn’t microchipped, and you would like to have the best chance of reuniting with a lost pet if she escapes during an emergency, then get kitty to the veterinarian and have this very simple, inexpensive procedure done.
Make sure your contact information is updated with the company that makes the chip. Include a cell phone number if possible.
Pack cat supplies and an emergency kit in advance. Keep with your own items that you’d grab during an emergency. Have a carrier on hand (which you should already own for transporting your cat to the vet or anywhere else).
Try to have kitty be “comfortable” with her carrier and not freak out every time she sees it. This will make having to quickly plop her in there during an emergency less chaotic and stressful – for anyone involved.
Q: What should I have in the emergency kit and what other supplies?
A: Most of these items should be obvious:
>Food, water, small bowls
>Litter box and litter
>Blanket and/or cat bed
>First aid kit for cat
>Picture of your cat
>Medical information (proof of vaccinations)
Put any pictures and paperwork in a Ziploc baggie.
For emergency situations when you cannot get back home and kitty is STILL in the house, place a sticker or tape a card on a front window alerting rescue workers or a helpful neighbor that a CAT LIVES IN THIS HOUSE. Make a note that cat care instructions are to be found in a specified location (example: living room closet). Place the instructions in a sheet protector. Include additional contact information, vet, where to find the cat’s emergency kit, etc.
Designate another caregiver in case you are unavailable or unable to take care of your cat. What if you die? Discuss this responsibility in depth with a possible new caregiver and make sure they would be willing to take your cat under their wing. A new caregiver will need access to all the cat’s medical records and other information, too.
You can also authorize your veterinarian to treat your cat if you are not around. A signed consent form can be placed in your cat’s file.
Keep a cat info card in your wallet or purse in case you’re in an accident. Whoever comes to your aid will have the knowledge that a cat is in your house, needing care.
It never hurts to go through a drill – a practice evacuation – with kitty. This can help you see a problem and correct it before an actual emergency occurs. Give her lots of love and a treat afterwards.
And try to stay calm.
Get that cat carrier ASAP! In case of emergency, I can guarantee you that you do NOT want a loose cat to try hanging onto!!