Natural disasters happen all the time. It is highly unfortunate, it’s devastating, and it’s something that can rock a community or even just a family straight to the core without any effort whatsoever. As someone who has lived less than 10 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico in Florida my entire life, I can tell you that natural disasters happen – a lot. And every year as hurricane season approaches, our families talk about our disaster plans and what we will do should disaster strike. While we usually have plenty of warning to prepare and get out of harm’s way when and if a hurricane strikes, not all natural disasters are so generous as to let people know in advance. Earthquakes, tornadoes, fires and landslides happen in an instant and most people have little to no warning that something awful is about to happen. And one thing we all tend to forget about – or at least put on the back burner – is our pets. What kind of plan do we have for our cats when a natural disaster strikes? Well, most of us don’t have a plan and it’s not all that simple to think about, but we do have some suggestions that will help you prepare your cat for a natural disaster.
Make Your Cat Identifiable
The biggest issue many people have when natural disaster strikes is that their cats are able to get out of the house and wander off. While this means they’re still alive and that’s a huge relief, without some sort of identification, your cat might never be found. Someone might take it to a shelter that’s not near your home, or take it in, and no one will know to whom the cat belongs. Get a collar at least, but a chip is even better.
Find a Pet Friendly Place to Stay
If you have to leave your home because of a disaster, try to find a place that is cat friendly. If you’re staying with a friend or family member, do try to find one that will accept your cat and welcome your pet into their home along with the rest of your family. This is going to make things much easier for you when and if an emergency strikes.
Prepare Plenty of Cat Food and Water
Always make sure you have cat food and water on hand. Don’t ever let yourself run out or low, because you never know when disaster might strike and leave you without a way to get food or water for your pet. This could be anything from a sudden tornado that takes out the town and you have nowhere to go for food, or a flood that ruins your home and doesn’t allow for that at the moment. Always have food and water on hand and in stock.
Provide Shelter for the Cat if Need Be
If you have to leave your home and you cannot take your cats where you are going, find a shelter or pet hotel or something that will take your cats for you and board them until you are able to return. The sad truth is that not all people have a place they can go when they are forced to leave home, and most public shelters do not allow animals to come in.
Give a Neighbor or Friend a Key
Disaster can happen anywhere and at anytime, and that means you might not be able to get home and care for your cat. It’s always a good idea to have someone in your family or neighborhood with a key and the understanding that if you can’t be home, they should help you with the cat until you are able to return. You might be surprised just how much peace of mind this offers to people.
Keep the Cats Indoors in Proper Air
Sometimes natural disasters strike during the day, such as a heat wave so bad that your cat becomes ill or dies in the car when you’re running errands. Even if you have to take the cat to the vet and you just need to grab milk on the way home, don’t leave the cat in the car. Take the cat home and leave it inside with the air on – or the heat depending on the time of year and severity of the weather – so that your cat isn’t struck by the natural weather occurrence.
Get a Carrier
You should always have a carrier on hand. You have no idea when you’ll need to leave and whether or not you’ll be able to let the cat roam the house when you return. It’s a good idea for the car and so that you can keep your cat confined while you’re assessing the damage to your home. Your job is to keep the cat safe.
Keep Cats Away from Flood Waters
Flood waters are often filled with things that you cannot see, and you need to keep your cat away from that. You have no idea what kind of creatures are in it, and no one in your family should bother with that at any point in time. Keep your cat in its carrier and out of flood waters at all times.
Evacuate and Take the Cat
If you have to evacuate your home, be sure to do so in a way that allows you to take your cat. We do realize that it’s not always possible to do that, but you have to find a place to take the cat where it will be safe even if it cannot be with you. Shelters or something; you cannot leave the cat at home if you are leaving in preparation of a natural disaster.
Keep the Cat as Confined as Possible
If you are worried about fire or other issues at home, keep as many doors closed as possible so that your cat has few places to hide in case there is a fire and you want to get the cat out of the house. While you should not worry anything but getting yourself out of the house in case of fire, people still like to get their pets out and this is a way to ensure that it has far fewer places to go.
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