Ok. You have your pet first aid kit and you know CPR. You know how to give a pill and you can take your cat’s temperature like a pro. You’re ready for any pet emergency!
What happens if there is a different kind of emergency? What happens in a fire, flood or explosion? Hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks are terrible realities.
Hurricane Katrina changed a lot of things. People did not have a disaster plan for themselves, let alone have a plan for their critters. Nobody wants to consider that any emergency will ever happen to them. If you wait until an emergency to figure out how you will get your cat out of the house, you could find out the hard way exactly what your cat means by NO.
The message from Little Puff under the bed or in the drop ceiling will most likely be: “I don’t think so”.
Don’t wait until a disaster occurs to learn all of the places that only cats can find! The time to plan for your emergency is now!
Every animal reacts differently in an emergency situation. Dogs might be a bit more compliant. Kitties? Maybe not so much. Cats will usually retreat to a small, dark space where they feel safe. Learn their hiding places. Try to get your cat used to a carrier. Use treats and make the carrier a nice, safe spot for your cat. Don’t use the carrier as a place where Fluffy only goes for a trip to the vet! Reward your cat for responding to your special call, word or sound. It will make things a whole lot easier when you have to round him up! If you need quick containment, a pillow case or a blanket will work.
A disaster plan for animals is very much like a plan for humans. Have an evacuation plan, an emergency kit, and your paperwork. Make sure you have adequate transportation for everyone, whether it’s across the street or miles away. Do your homework. Find out which hotels allow pets, check with shelters, and ask your friends or family if they would be able to take your pet in an emergency.
The most important part of evacuation is doing it! Bring your pets, if possible. Leave a note on the door, stating whether there are still pets in the house. Have your paperwork up to date. You should always have copies of important information, for you AND your animals. Make sure you have veterinary records, pictures and identification in a waterproof container. You can make up a lost pet flyer … just in case.
An emergency kit should include many of the same things as a human kit. You should have at least three days of food and water, including bowls. Cans are easier than kibble. Make sure you have all of their medications, collars, litter pans, (poop bags for dogs). If you get into a situation where you have no fresh water, you can purify a quart of water with two drops of regular bleach. Shake it and let it stand. (If you have a coffee filter, it’s even better).
A disaster doesn’t have to be widespread. A disaster can affect just your family or neighbourhood. Tattoos and tags are good. Microchips are better. In a fire or flood, your pet will need an escape route. Make sure if you can’t take your pets, that you leave some food and water. Chances are that they will not even eat, but you want to make sure it’s available. Cats are usually visible in the early morning or at dusk.
Recently, after a fire at a nearby apartment, all of the pets in the building were rescued except for one kitty, Princess Pearl. Her owner was devastated. I told her not to give up, since fire-fighters saw no sign of a cat. She left food and water for over two weeks. Then, Princess Pearl was spotted on the balcony. With the help of a well-placed trap and some chicken liver, Princess Pearl was reunited with her owner! Although her owner had lost everything else in the fire, she had her Princess. For the time, that was everything to her!