10 Cat Prep Tips for Natural Disasters

Animal care group Last Chance for Animals has listed must-haves for cat owners to protect their cats or kittens in the event of a natural disaster.

By Cat Fancy Editors | Updated: December 10, 2014 11 a.m. EDT

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Homer the Blind Cat
Thousands of dogs and cats go missing when earthquakes, tsunamis, destructive storms, floods, fires, mudslides and other catastrophes suddenly strike. With natural disasters on the rise, learn how to protect cats or kittens by preparing for an emergency situation.

1. Cat ID
Cats must wear a collar with current contact information, such as a cat ID tag. Because collars can come off, another way for a lost cat to be identified and returned is to microchip or permanently tattoo "collar” information on a cat's inside rear leg.

2. Cat Food Reserve
You might not find your regular cat food in an emergency situation, so keep one week’s worth of cat food on hand, especially for cats that may be traumatized and may not eat a new brand of food.  

3. Water
Have extra bottles of fresh water on hand for your cat to last at least one week.

4. Medication
Have all your cat’s medications easily available and have enough extra to last a week or so in case your cat's veterinarian or source of your medications is wiped out due to the emergency.

5. Cat Carrier
Have a sturdy cat carrier readily available that your cat is accustomed to. Make sure your cat is used to it beforehand so he is not scared when you try to put him in it. Make sure the carrier locks and is escape-proof.  

6. Cat's Personal Items
Bring your favorite cat toys, blankets, etc., and have extra towels or thick gloves on hand for handling cats. Sometimes, even the most docile cat will bite when terrified.

7. Cat Shelter Location List
Know the locations of all cat shelters or places that could take you and your cat. Also, leave a note on your home that says how many animals live there, as well as a current photo of your cats, in case you get separated.

8. Cat Caregivers
Arrange friends or family to take care of your cat ahead of time, much like you would with a Will. Let the people know that you are entrusting them with your cat, and make sure that all the parties involved, including your cat and the new caregivers, are comfortable with one another ahead of time.

9. Evacuation Practice
Know your evacuation routes out of town; line up multiple routes. Practice an evacuation ahead of time and learn how long it takes you to gather your family and cats. Acustom your cats, so when the  they will be a lot less stressed and a lot more manageable.

10. Emotional Support
In an emergency situation, your cat is likely to be scared and nervous.  Treat them like you would a small child, as they are totally dependent upon you for their survival. Provide them with lots of attention, including soothing, reassuring words. Read your cat’s nonverbal communication as some cats might wish to hide and be left alone, while others may be clingy and want to be by your side at all times.
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Vana    Bow, WA

8/25/2014 10:41:23 PM

When preparing your own bug out bags make sure to have one set up for your furry family members as well. We have a bug out kit all set up for our kitty China. She has some of her favorite toys, dishes and some food ready to go in a moments notice. Her leash is there as well as her own bed.

Pauline Paddock    Juneau, AK

8/24/2014 3:33:30 PM

I am so thankful for this article, I have rheumatoid arthritis and it gets harder to deal with the older I get, I worry about my big handsome baby boy Buddy The Cat and me if we are home alone and should a disaster occur.

sandy    L.F. Texas, TX

8/24/2014 3:25:12 PM

I like the tattoo. Idea, but what if u move. Or change. U fone number ? And I take my cat on short trips to the post office. To get her used to being in the car. Still hates it , lol

Sarah    Stga Spgs, NY

8/24/2014 9:18:17 AM

The article is helpful. We have to be aware that emergencies usually happen un-announced.
Have a question about a cat having abscess and can anyone give me advise as to what to do about it. She had one than two and now three. One she opened and cleaned and she is taken antibiotics. Has anybody ever been successful with this in the long run???

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