The summer of 2002 already seems to be a summer of wildfires in Colorado and across much of the Western USA. People and their homes are being threatened, along with their animals. While many of us are safe from forest fires, that doesn't make us immune to other disasters. Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, a fire in our home, the gas line explosion down the street... anyone could be forced to leave their home in a hurry due to an emergency situation.

Everyone needs to have a plan for emergencies. Do you have one? Does it include your cats and their needs?

Some things to think about:

Any evacuation plan should have at least a couple scenarios: what if you have to leave immediately and what if you had an hour or more notice.

What do you need to take with you (besides the cats, of course!)?

Basics Things to Take With you When You Evacuate:

For starters:

  • food
  • litter
  • litter boxes
  • bowls for food and water
  • medicines

Handy Extras:

Other things that come in handy are:

  • paper towels
  • kitty wipes
  • garbage bags
  • bottled water or water purification tablets in case the water supply is questionable like it may be in a flood.
  • a first aid kit
  • health & pedigree records
  • If you have kittens to care for consider keeping powdered KMR on hand.

If you live in an area where evacuations are common during a certain season, keeping a supply of food and litter just for emergencies is a good idea.

Cat Carriers

  • Do you have enough carriers for all the animals?
  • What about during kitten season?
  • How are you planning to carry mom and her litter of five?
  • Collapsible carriers are especially nice when you have a number of cats to worry about.
  • Larger kennels may be the answer to keeping mom and the kittens together.
  • Just make sure whatever you choose will fit in your car.
  • If possible have a carrier for each adult. They may have to be confined to the carrier for a length of time.

Destination

  • Where will you go?
  • If you go to an emergency shelter you may need to take the cats elsewhere as many shelters don't allow animals.
  • Do you have friends or family to stay with or will you stay in a hotel?
  • Which hotels in your area allow pets? Along with all the carriers and supplies you keep together for emergencies, keep a list of hotels in the area that allow pets along with their phone numbers.
  • If you have been on standby for evacuation, note what arrangements have been made for pets. If you're not familiar with the facility, get directions and a phone number to keep with your supplies.
  • Other phone numbers you might want to include on your list are the local veterinary hospitals. If all else fails, they may be able to help you find a place for your animals.

Sardines in a Can?

  • Can you get everyone (you, your family, your animals) in your vehicles at one time?
  • It's unlikely you'll get a chance to make a second trip to retrieve your cats in an emergency.
  • Do you have a neighbor who'd help if you can't fit everyone in your own car?
  • Don't wait until the last minute to ask for assistance if you need it... make a plan NOW!

Storing Your Supplies

Is everything you plan to take easily accessible? The last thing you'd want to be doing in an emergency is to be racing from room to room trying to collect everything. Keep your supplies, carriers, phone numbers and anything else you need together in a convenient spot. Possible places would be beside the door to your garage, a closet near the door you will be leaving through, or the garage itself. If you are on evacuation alert, you should also try to keep all the animals in a room (or a few rooms) where it will be easy to catch them.

The Two-Footed Needs

One last thing to think about… While making your plans for your furry family, don't forget your human family. Take the following items with you if possible:

  • eyeglasses
  • car keys
  • medications in their original containers
  • checkbook, cash, credit cards
  • insurance information
  • identification
  • important papers such as wills, deeds, and financial papers
  • and a change of clothes

Practice drill

Once you have your plan in place, it's time to try it out. Go through the entire plan as if you had to evacuate. Yes, load up all the animals, all the supplies, and head off to the emergency shelter. Okay, you can just drive to the park!

Once you arrive, park the car and spend some time thinking (talking, if your family is with you) about what you'd do if you couldn't go back to your house. With that in mind, go through your supplies and ask if everything you need is there. What did you forget? What don't you need that is taking up valuable space? Go home, unpack and refine the plan while giving thanks that this time it wasn't needed.

I hope none of us ever has to use our emergency plans, but at least we'll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing we're as prepared as we can be for a disaster.

2002 lisa s vasa

 

(Please note that you will see a number of photos of our cats and kittens that I've taken outside in a natural setting. The LostWoods cats do NOT go outside unsupervised! When we do go outside for pictures and occasional adventures, there is always one person and usually two watching them closely. We do have an outside, fully enclosed run to which the older cats are allowed access, but even then we check on them often.)

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