Did you know that August and September are the two most active months of the Atlantic Hurricane Season?
It is very important to prepare your family and cat now, before disaster strikes!
Steps to Take Before Disaster Strikes:
-Create a Disaster Survival Kit for your cat (**All of these items should go into a sturdy container that is readily accessible and can be carried easily**)
- Food and Water (at least 5 days worth) along with bowls and a manual can opener (if needed)
- Your cat’s medications
- Carrier or crate to transport your cat safely
- Your cat’s medical records and information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, etc. along with the name and number of your veterinarian (Put these in a waterproof container)
- Current photos and descriptions of your cat
- Cat litter, litter box and scoop
- Newspapers, paper towels, spray disinfectant, plastic trash bags, blankets, towels
- Pet first aid kit
- Pet beds, toys, treats and catnip to reduce your cat’s stress.
-Research hotels and shelters near you (or out of town on your potential evacuation route) that will accept pets. One website that can help you with this is Pets Welcome.
-Take a picture of yourself with your cat – this will help to verify ownership should you be separated.
-Make sure your cat has identification on with your name, address and contact information.
- The easiest way to do this is to get your cat a collar and tags.
- If your cat won’t wear a regular cat collar or if they don’t like the tags, make him/her a lightweight collar. (Most cats that we make these for don’t seem to mind wearing them)
- Use 1/2 inch wide white elastic.
- Measure the diameter of your cat’s neck and cut a long enough piece of the elastic (cut the piece a little bit longer than the diameter of the neck, so you can fasten it).
- Write all of the pertinent info on the elastic with a black permanent marker (your cat’s name, your name, your address, your phone number(s), etc.).
- Close the collar and fasten it with a few staples.
- Place collar on your cat.
-Familiarize your cat with its carrier to make it easier to get them in it if you need to evacuate – many cats associate their carrier with going to the vet and may be afraid of it. Try leaving the carrier out in the open in your house all of the time – leave the door to the carrier open (or take the door off) and put a comfy towel or blanket in it (so your cat may go in and sleep if they want). Also try putting some catnip, toys or treats inside so they start to associate the carrier with more positive things.
-If you have to evacuate – TAKE YOUR CATS WITH YOU. Your cat’s chance of survival decreases if they are left to fend for themselves during a disaster.
Remember – you are your cat’s best hope for safely making it through a disaster.
For more information on hurricanes and disaster planning, check out the following websites:
- National Hurricane Center – www.nhc.noaa.gov
- Virginia Department of Emergency Management – www.vaemergency.com
- Humane Society of the United States Disaster Preparedness Page
- Virginia State Animal Response Team – www.virginiasart.org