I love my cat and would never dream of leaving her behind in a disaster. Since hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused devastation across several states in 2005, I constructed a plan to keep T’Siri safe if something occurred.
The lessons learned from those disasters taught pet owners that leaving animals behind is devastating. There is no guarantee in any evacuation that you might be allowed to return home in 24-48 hours.
Preparing for a disaster ahead of time is the best way to take care of pets as well as your family. You can learn detailed information from the following sources:
Since many disasters do not require evacuations, the best place to begin your preparations is at home. Most authorities recommend gathering food and water for each family member for three days. With changing weather patterns, building construction and unforeseen man-made disasters, that period of time can be much longer. The following tips are those I have in my disaster plans and kit for my cat, T’Siri. Adapt them for each of your pets.
Food and Water
Since I keep enough food and water for myself for 2 weeks time, I also keep enough food and water for my cat. Water is easily stored in a gallon jug. A cat will drink an average of a half to three-quarters of a cup of water a day, so one gallon will last for a while. A vacuum sealer is used to store the contents of a three-pound bag of dry cat food; ensuring it will last more than a month. These items are rotated through her normal diet so that nothing expires or goes out of date. The vacuum seal bag ensures no moisture or bugs will destroy her food.
First Aid and Vet Certificates
A waterproof bag holds her rabies and vaccination certificates, as well as her medical history and is stored with my own medical information.
Public shelters cannot take pets as well as people. I have a list of kennels in and around San Antonio, TX. I also keep a list of the names, addresses and prices of pet friendly hotels within a hundred miles and enough money for a two-week stay. I also have tents and camping supplies, should we have need of a campground that allows pets. No matter where we are, we’ll be together and I can take care of her.
I keep a container with my disaster kit just for T’Siri. It contains extra bedding, a collapsible carrier, toys, leashes and treats that can help her if we find ourselves suddenly in new, unfamiliar places such as a tent or hotel rooms. The items are rotated out with her regular items so they remain familiar and have her scent on them.
No matter what happens, my cat will survive and endure the disaster with a minimum of stress. When things return to normal, she will have little trouble making the transition.