Natural Disasters And Your Cat – What You Need To Know

Toy storm trooper and batteries

Mountain with heavy clouds   Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, snowstorms, ice storms, wild fires.  These are  natural events that occur with annual regularity. They may not hit the same place twice, or they may, and the one good thing about them is you often know they are coming and you have time to prepare. However, in the case of earthquakes (if you live in an area prone to them) you need to keep supplies available at all times.  When natural disasters hit, how bad they are, how long it takes to recover is only seen the closer it comes, and after the event. However, before is the time to make sure you are prepared. or it might be too late. Before the weather man stands with the red colored map. Before you get an evacuation order. And that includes preparation for you cat, and especially kittens if you are a new parent. So, what can a cat parent do to prepare for natural disasters and your cat? First, keep calm, write lists and take action. Don’t delay and wait for another day. If you prepare you have done most of your work. Cats have needs and in order to ensure that they ride out the storm and the aftermath it is a good idea to think and prepare.

Food
Make sure you have several days worth of the food for your cat or kitten. To be really safe you should have 2 weeks worth in case your area is badly hit and you lose power. It takes time to for stores to reopen and stock up so it is smart to have at least 14 days worth of food. A manual can opener in case of no power. Extra dishes and some paper towel.

Water
A fresh supply of water is essential for your pet, and water supplies do get cut off, damaged, or contaminated. You need to be able to give your cat / kittens fresh drinking water so get some bottles of water (or fill a very large container before the storm arrives) and your pets won’t dehydrate. If you live in earthquake country keep a big container ready at all times, just for them.

Litter
If your cat doesn’t go outside you will need to have enough litter to last. Again you should plan on 2 weeks. Ensure you have whatever you need to line the tray, and dispose of the litter.

Medicine
If you cat or kitten requires any medication make sure you have enough to last at least 3 days, but in the case of insulin shots and other long term medications a 2 week supply would be good to have on hand. Make sure you also have enough of the medical equipment that might be needed e.g. syringes.

A Travel Container
This is the most overlooked item many owners don’t have. If you don’t visit the vet regularly, or have a new kitten this might not be something you own. And you should. It is essential that you have a travel container for each cat you have, or if you have kittens and they are small 2 could share, but you have to have this. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate, and definitely not the cardboard type they give you at the pet store. Also, avoid the airline handbag style pet carriers. The carrier should be robust and able to protect the cat in the event of a hasty exit. The carrier should be able to provide your cat with somewhere to hide (you can put a cover over it) and should keep them safe. In the case of evacuation you need to be able to transport your pet safely without losing them – and your mind. Make sure you have their names on it, and yours with a phone number, a luggage tag will do.  If you are unfortunate enough to have to go to a shelter some shelters are unable to take animals so pets are housed at a different location – you don’t want to lose your cat so get identification on the container. It is also wise to have copies of their vaccinations so if you need them you have them. It is good to also have something inside the container that has a safe smell for them – a blanket or towel that they have rested on and scented – so that they aren’t surrounded with unfamiliar smells.

Outside Cats
If you have cats that live outside, are inside / outside or have feral cats they have additional requirements. If you have inside / outside cats keep the cat in, and you need to do this hours before the storm arrives. Once the storm hits they will be so unsettled or frightened you won’t be able to get them. So think ahead and keep them in. If an earthquake strikes you need to remember when and where you saw your cat last. They will be traumatized so it might be some time before they are seen. If you have outside cats and can actually get them it is a good idea to try and bring them into a building where they can ride out the storm or bad weather. A basement, a barn or shed any sheltered location you can secure them. However, if they won’t tolerate that then try and give them food that is in a sheltered location so it doesn’t fill with water or blow away. If you have feral cats you are quite limited in what you can do to keep them safe. Providing them with food, in a sheltered location is probably all you can do. If they are fed before the storm arrives they more than likely will just hunker down and ride it out and turn up when hungry for feeding. No matter what keep providing food and water for them for many days. Cats are sensitive to violent changes and often won’t come home for some time, but with food and water they can manage.