Living in disaster-prone areas of the world can be terrifying, but it definitely helps you feel more secure and safe when you make an emergency plan or kit. However, if you are a cat family, taking care of the humans isn’t your only concern. You will have to incorporate your furry friends into your emergency plan and make sure they are kept safe too.
Coming up with an emergency plan
To make an effective, cat-friendly plan, consider the steps listed below.
Do your research
Before you can get to the exciting action of things, you need to know exactly what kind of disaster you are preparing for. Is the neighborhood you live in at risk of fires? Perhaps your region lies on a fault line and can become ground zero for an earthquake. You may even find that you could be preparing for storms and blizzards.
All these disasters have different relief plans, and knowledge is vital to make sure you have the right resources on hand when you need them. You will benefit greatly from this. You can also look up ‘templates’ of disaster plans and preparedness kits for ideas on what you and your family will need. Research on your cat too – different breeds react to different environments differently, and you will need to cater to your cat’s specific needs.
Make the plan
Just like with other relief plans, you should get together as a family and discuss the plan thoroughly. This is important because you have to set a chain of command. This helps to reduce haphazardness and chaos when an emergency strikes. It also helps for everyone to know what their responsibilities are so that they can immediately take care of their share of the work without wasting time when in times of disaster.
In reference to your cat, make sure that there one person in charge of picking up the cat and making sure it is safe while telling everyone else it is their job to check that the cat and his or her emergency kit is safe. Make sure to set up a safe place where everyone can meet after executing the plan. It is vital that this place is cat-friendly.
Discuss and practice
Simply coming up with the plan isn’t enough. While the plan will likely be carried out by the adults of the house, the children or any elderly people should be informed of the plan. If they are in tune with the specifics of the plan, the whole thing will go off smoother.
Another way to make sure you’re all set is to practice the plan as drills. Although you may never be completely prepared for a terrifying emergency, you can become familiar with the plan and its moving parts with continuous practice.
Study your cat’s behavior
Each cat reacts to different situations with different mannerisms. Because cats tend to be jumpy animals, they may immediately go hide when they sense something is wrong. In this case, you should be aware of your cat’s favorite hiding spots and how to get him or her out of there safely. These will likely be behind or under furniture, such as a bed.
Keep carriers accessible
Once you find the cat, your best bet will be to keep him or her in a carrier rather than holding him or her in your hands. This way, you can prevent any incident of the cat dashing out of your hand and running away. The cat will be scared, so your best bet is placing it inside a carrier and using that to take him or her safely away from the source of danger.
Keep your carriers in places that are accessible and easy to find. If you keep it in one spot which you know is always for the carrier, you’ll be better off because you won’t have to waste any further time while evacuating. This is a good detail to add to your emergency plan and one that everyone in the house should be aware of.
Creating a kit
The next part of the plan is coming up with an emergency kit. These are kits with everything that you might need if you are trapped or relocated for some time. Make sure that you always have a few weeks supply of food (preferably dry), a cat first-aid kit, litter, litter trays, a vet book with medical information, dishes and bowls, at least a week’s supply of water, some of your cat’s toys, and recent pictures of your cat.
If you have a cat carrier that can hold things underneath it, that will be the best tool to use as all things will be in one place. Make sure that the food is rotated often and not just left to rot inside the kit. In addition to this, if your cat is leash trained, bring along a harness and collar.
An unfortunate problem in many cases of disasters is that animals tend to get scared and run away. This is especially the case with cats that are allowed outside. Although this can be an added stress to another stress-inducing event, you need to stay calm and not panic. As soon as you get the go ahead and it is safe, start looking for your cat. You can try calling out its name or using alternative methods like leaving a litter box outside.
Never leave your cats
Some of the myths regarding cats are that they will be okay if left in a situation like a home fire for a few minutes. There are several issues with this. First and foremost, cats are probably as much at risk as you when it comes to disasters. Leaving them behind can be very dangerous and may result in severe illness, injury, or even death.
Secondly, you never know when you may or not be able to come back home. In cases of fire, for example, you don’t know how long you have until you are allowed access to your home. You cannot just abandon your pets for weeks if something like this happens, so always, under any and all circumstances, take your pets with you when you evacuate. Also:
- Never leave your cats in cages or tied up when you leave.
- If you have nowhere to go, consider keeping your pet in boarding facilities.
- If your pet gets lost, immediately start looking when it is safe to do so.
Tips for setting up an emergency plan
Now that you know how to set and execute an emergency plan, here are some tips to help make the experience an easier one for you and your cat.
- Use an alert sticker. These help rescuers know you have pets at home.
- Reach out to your vet for help with emergency kit content recommendations.
- Consider pet-friendly places to stay when deciding on a safe haven.
- Keep a clear picture of your pet on you at all times in case he or she is lost.
- If you are trapped at home, make sure your safe space is safe for pets.
- Always keep your cats microchipped in case they escape during a disaster.
- Keep an ID tag on your cat at all times so he or she can be found if lost.
Follow all these guidelines, and you and your cat family will stay safe and comfort each other during a difficult time.