Do you know any pet disaster preparedness steps? This is something serious to ponder about.
Looking back on the previous years (2018-2019), apart from all the good stuff that happened, a lot of natural catastrophes also occurred from coast to coast. From floods, to tornadoes, storms and even bush fires.
We, pawrents, cats and dogs alike, are a close-knit community. We belong to social media groups where we can share images of our pets, stories, achievements and even frustrations. That way everyone can help out one another, be it about your cat’s health, food, toys, DIY projects, etc. It is a community where everyone is encouraged to share.
Now, when you hear the word “natural disaster”, what comes to your mind? Flood, hurricane, earthquake, typhoon, tornado? Whatever it is, you are right. But, the golden question: Are you prepared to move out on a moment’s notice with your pets?
I know it is not often that a disaster strikes, but we often don’t know when it will arrive and it pays if we are always prepared for it. Each and everyone of us must be ready way before any kind of disaster strikes.
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When it comes to emergency preparedness, a lot must be taken into consideration. And a much more planning is involved when you own pets! Making sure that our beloved cats are safe during a disaster is important and below are several tips that we think is essential for every pet parent.
- Identification. A microchip or a collar with proper id tag are 2 things any pet should have. Collars with tags will indicate that your cat is not a stray and that you can be contacted immediately when your pet is found by anyone. But collars can fall off and data on the tags can fade if not properly maintained. A microchip is a permanent way of ID for your pet, the vet or shelter worker can easily track you down using their scanner. During disasters, cats can get all nervous and might get out of the house or jump from your hands and run away. Hence, a proper ID is a must have.
- Vaccinations must be up to date. Always have your pet’s vaccination record safe and ready to be grabbed at a moment’s notice. I suggest you keep a waterproof envelope that contains your records and all necessary paper work that you might need just in case you need to leave outside the city or even the country.
- Crate must be ready at all times. Keeping the crate in a place that is most accessible to you and be sure that it is clean. You can also put the crate ready in the car and just put your pet kitty once you are all set to go. You may also want to consider a cat backpack as it is more mobile and handy for transport.
- Arrange a safe place for your pet. Having knowledge on pet-friendly shelters in your area is useful. Take note that not all shelters accept pets, so it is crucial that you know where to bring your pet just in case. Always bear in mind, that you have to have a safe haven arrangement for your pets before any disaster strikes. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND!
- Get in touch with your Vet and ask for a list of shelters, boarding facilities and kennels.
- Ask your local shelter if they accept pets and offer services like foster care for pets or emergency shelter in times of crisis.
- Research on hotels, motels, inns that are pet friendly.
- Inquire from your friends, family, relatives who live outside your area if they are willing to take in your pet for a while.
- Prepare an “Emergency Kit” for each pet. Just like how you prepare for emergency kits for every person in the household, be sure to include your beloved pets. Water, food, medications, treats, diapers, extra collars and leashes, blankets, food bowls, wipes, litter, carriers/crates, extra identification tags, duct tape (in case the carrier will be damaged), vaccination records and all things that are important for your pet. For more ideas, visit the ASPCA’s page.
- Rescue Alert Sticker. Rescue stickers are highly recommended by ASPCA in order for neighbors, rescuers to be alerted that there are pets at home. Maybe a disaster will strike when you are at work or doing some groceries? This sticker will greatly help so that your pets will be rescued. Letting the rescuers know how many pets and what type of pet/s you have will greatly increase the chances of them being evacuated and reunited to you, plus they have their tags with them, so the workers will not have a hard time contacting you. Furthermore, you should also have with you an animal alert wallet card, should there anything happens to you and not able to come home. But just in case a tragedy strikes, it will alert health care workers and rescuers that you have pet/s at home all alone and they can send for help.
- Leave a note. If you are already leaving for evacuation along with your pets, do not forget to leave a note behind so that rescuers will be informed and move on to help others. Also state that you won’t be coming back until all has been cleared.
- Make good decisions. Being prepared will allow you to make good decisions for your family and pets since you are not making them on crisis mode, rather you are making them long before it happens thus you have had the time to think things through.
Lastly, be patient. Certain behavioral issues may arise in your pets after a disaster. They need time to recover from the shock, just as you are, so it is best that you let them go back to their normal routines the soonest time possible.
Touch base with your veterinarian if such issues persists or if you think your beloved companion is having some health issues. May you rest easier with your beloved felines this season, knowing that you have a disaster plan in place!
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