Tips for Keeping Your Cat (or Dog) Safe During a Disaster
In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, pets are NOT allowed inside emergency shelters for humans due to public health and safety reasons. If you and your family need evacuation to a public shelter during a disaster, you must have planned in advance for the care of your dog and cat. Such planning could save your pets' life and make yours easier.
- Take several pictures of all the animals in your household and keep these pictures with your important insurance papers
(include vaccination records, too). Be sure to include in the pictures any distinguishing marks. These pictures can help
reunite you with a lost pet. Store the pictures in a resealable plastic bag in case you have to post them during rainy
- Have at least a minimum two week supply of pet food and water on hand at all times. Store the dry food in air tight/
waterproof containers. If you use canned food, buy the flip top cans or have a can opener in your airtight disaster supply
container. Keep some of your pet's favorite treats on hand - they get stressed, too, and a treat provides them some comfort.
Also keep a supply of cat litter, a clean litter scoop, and litter pan in your disaster kit.
- Put a collar and tag (with address and phone number) on your pets. This will increase your chances of reuniting you with
your pets if they escape.
- If your dog rides in the car, always have a leash in the vehicle to be able to keep your dog safely controlled if you have
to leave your car. A disaster may occur while you are away from home.
- Always keep a back-up supply of your pets' medications. A vet may not be open for some time following a disaster. Prepare
to ice down medications that need to be refrigerated (ice is available from the Red Cross). Ask your vet is he/she has a
disaster plan. Your pets may need medical attention after a disaster and you need to know where to take your animal. Keep a
first aid kit in your disaster kit for your pet (check with your vet on what to include).
- Have a cat carrier or evacsack to evacuate each cat in your household. If you have to confine the cat(s) for a long period
of time, have a carrier large enough to hold a shoe box sized litter box, a water/food dish, and room for the cat to
comfortably lie down. Ensure the carrier is not left in the sun, and, if it is warm, that the cat gets good ventilation. If
you must take the cat out, do so in a confined space as the cat may try to run away.
- Start a buddy system with someone in your neighborhood so that they will check on your animals during disaster in case
you aren't home. Agree to do the same for them. Exchange information on veterinarians and have a permission slip put in your
file at the vets, authorizing your buddy to get necessary emergency treatment for your pet in case you can't be reached. Talk
with your pets' "babysitter" about a disaster plan to be used to evacuate and care for your animals in your absence.
- Comfort your pet during a disaster - they are frightened, too. Having you near to give them a hug will help. Do not force
this - let them come to you when they are ready.
- Continue to feed your pets the food they are used to and put it out as close to the normal time as possible. If you feed
canned food, reduce the normal amount by half (supplement with dry food) to reduce the possibility of diarrhea. Be sure to
provide your pets with fresh water at all times.
- Know where the animal shelters are in your area. You may need to visit them after a disaster to look for a missing pet.
Also call the National Lost Pet Hotline, 1-900-535-1515 (this is a charge call) to report a lost pet. Call the National
Found Pet Hotline, 1-800-755-8111 to report a found animal.
- Check with local news media for facilities offering disaster animal rescue and relief. Also, you may call (800) 979-0241
and leave your phone number for assistance.
- Microchip Your Pet!
PLANNING AHEAD COULD SAVE YOUR PETS' LIFE!