Refresher Course: Disaster Checklist and Tips for Your Pets

(Editor’s note: As we are in the midst of hurricane season, we thought it important to review the disaster checklist and tips. To read the full article, click here. Also, check out our latest issue of Cat Talk Magazine. Subscription details are here.)

prepared cat

In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, pets are NOT normally 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. Check to see which shelters in your area will allow you to bring your pets. Such planning could save your pets’ life and make yours easier. The alternative, which may not always be wise, is to stay in your home with your pets.

Have a carrier available for each cat, clearly labeled with your name and address.

Water for everyone in your household (enough for at least 7 days to use for drinking, cooking, pets and personal hygiene).

Pet food. Canned food should preferably be in pop-top cans. Dry food should be stored in waterproof containers.

Water bowls and dishes or paper plates for food.

Litter. Have a sufficient supply on hand, and a litter scoop plus garbage bags.

Medication, if necessary, in a sufficient quantity for a minimum of 7 days.

Make sure all pets are either microchipped or have collars with ID (their name, your phone # and address) on them in case they get loose during the storm. Have a picture of them on hand in case you have to go to shelters or post “missing” ads in your neighborhood. “Missing” posters can even be printed ahead of the disaster, just in case they are needed in the aftermath.

Protect important documents (registration certificates, pedigrees, vaccination certificates, etc.), photos, and keepsakes in watertight containers/bags.

Create a family communications list, and copy it to all members of your family. Include home and work phone numbers, your cell phone numbers, and numbers for a close friend as well as email addresses that can be used for contact before, and after, a disaster.

Let your family members know what your plans are (staying put, evacuating, where to, etc.) in advance of a storm, and contact them asap afterward. It will most likely be easier for you to contact them, than for them to try and contact you. Consider setting up a Yahoo! Groups mailing list for your family members and close friends, so that one message to a list will be distributed widely to all who have a need to know. A single mailing list address is easier to remember than a list of dozens.