How to Evacuate with Cats in an Emergency

What would you do if you had an emergency in or near your home and you had to evacuate? Moreover, how would you handle that situation if you had pets? This is not something that you should put in the back of your mind and assume that it will never happen to you. Natural disasters, as well as man-made disasters, happen all the time. If you’ve never been involved with or directly impacted by one, that’s great but that doesn’t mean that your luck will hold out forever. As a matter of fact, there is some type of natural disaster that you have to deal with no matter where you live. Whether it’s tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes or a combination, there is some type of natural disaster that you should always be prepared for, especially if you have cats. In the case of man-made disasters, that’s something that can happen anywhere and anytime. Your best course of action is to be ready for the unexpected no matter when it comes. That includes making sure that you can evacuate safely with your cats and other pets and that you know what types of things you need to have just for them.

The first thing you need to do is make a plan. This involves sitting down with the entire family and figuring out what you would do if something were to happen close to your home. Think about the types of disasters that are a possibility in your area and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Next, figure out evacuation routes, meeting points and routes of communication. Delegate duties so that everyone knows what they are responsible for. Put that plan in writing and then practice it just as if there was really something happening at that very moment. You will soon find that the way you practice is the way that you will react when something does happen and you’re not able to think things through in a calm manner. Therefore, you should always train like the situation is real and you should do it often.

Having a kit that is prepared to go with you is just as important as having a plan. This is what’s frequently referred to as a go bag. In it, you should have basic necessities like a good first aid kit, any and all prescription medications, corrective lenses, important papers, extra cash, an AM/FM radio with extra batteries, a couple of flashlights with extra batteries, snacks like meal bars or nuts and drinking water. It’s also a good idea to have an old cell phone with you that’s fully charged, as well as making sure that your current phone is charged. You want to be certain that you won’t be dealing with a dead battery when you need it most and as far as the old cell phone is concerned, as long as it’s charged and in operating condition you can still call 911 with it, even if you no longer have service on it. It’s also a good idea to keep a couple of charging banks with you at all times so that if you do need to charge your cell phone in an emergency, you can.

In this go bag, you should make sure that you have a couple of blankets and enough drinking water for three days. At the very least, make sure that you have at least three gallons per person. If possible, throw an extra change of clothes into the go bag and make sure that you’re wearing footwear such as hiking boots. The last thing you want to do is be walking through some type of natural disaster with heels or flip-flops.

What should you do if you have cats or other pets? You need to prepare the same type of kit for them that you would prepare for yourself. The good news is that it’s a little easier to evacuate with a cat than it is with a dog. All you really need is a small carrier, clean water for your cat, and your cat’s food. Make sure that you have enough food and water for at least three days as well. If your cat takes any special medication, be sure that you also have that with you. If you have time, go ahead and take the litter box with you so that your cat’s routine is disrupted as little as possible. If she happens to have a favorite toy, put that in the carrier with her as a means of comforting her and giving her something familiar.

If you follow these guidelines, you can prepare for almost any type of emergency. Not only does it make you feel more empowered and less fearful when something strikes, it also allows you to put a plan of action into place. Time and again, it’s been proven that having that plan of action and practice practicing it can save your life. As a matter of fact, you have about a 90 percent chance of survival if you have a plan and you practice it often enough that it becomes automatic. The idea is to simply react when something happens. When you have pets, they have to be incorporated into that plan. As a matter of fact, it becomes even more important that you do this type of activity when you have someone else who is relying on you for their safety and well-being.


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