While we don’t usually know when an emergency or disaster will strike, preparing ahead of time can make sudden and unexpected situations less stressful — for ourselves and our pets. Whether you need to take a brief absence from home, or temporarily evacuate in the event of an disaster, taking steps right now can help ensure your cat’s safety. Below, we’ve outlined three simple precautions to make sure you and your pet are prepared for anything.
Know where to go
Have a plan for where your pets will stay should you find yourself in an emergency or disaster situation. Ask your veterinarian if they have a list of boarding facilities they recommend, or if they’re able to provide emergency shelter for pets. It’s also a good idea to have a list on hand of hotels in your immediate area that allow pets, should you and your animals need to spend the night away from home. During an evacuation, pets may not be permitted in human emergency shelters, so it’s important to have a few options for where to go with your animal, if needed. Consider checking with friends and family outside your local area to see if they might temporarily house you and/or your pet.
It’s also a good idea to have a plan in place in case you aren’t home when an emergency arises. Ask your neighbor or a nearby friend if they would be able to check on and/or transport your pet if needed. Be sure your neighbors have your contact information.
Research to see if your county has an emergency alert system for residents, and make sure you’re registered to receive them. Nixle.com is a great resource where you can sign up to receive alerts about weather, traffic and road closures, and official messages from your local police and fire departments. You should also consider joining online communities to stay connected and talk with people in your neighborhood, such as NextDoor.com, which may come in handy during an emergency or disaster situation.
Have your supplies ready
Depending on the situation, you may need to leave your residence quickly, so you will want to prepare as much as possible ahead of time. If you have more than one cat, each should have their own carrier. Have a light sheet available to drape over their carriers to minimize their anxiety.
Make sure you can easily access copies of your pet’s medical records (including their vaccination history and rabies certificate), your vet’s contact information, a current photo of your pet, proof of ownership (such as official adoption paperwork), and your pet’s microchip information.
You should have an emergency kit ready to go as well. While many pet supply companies sell pre-made pet emergency kits, one specifically tailored for your pet is best. Consider including:
Basic first-aid supplies like gauze bandages and ice packs
Litter box, litter scoop, and a two-week supply of litter
Temporary ID tags you can write your temporary information on
Medications and dosing instructions
Two-week supply of food and water
Non-spill food and water bowls
Manual can opener
Plastic bags to dispose of waste
Toys and treats
Blankets and towels
Finally, while preparing to care for your pet, make sure you’re also ready to take care of yourself. You’ll be the one looking after your furry friend, after all! By taking a few simple precautions and preparations now, not only will you have the peace of mind that brings, you’ll ensure everyone in your home — both human and pet — have everything they need to stay safe in an emergency.