Tips For Keeping your Cat Safe During a Disaster

Whether you live in an area prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, tornadoes or floods, you can’t wait until Mother Nature comes knocking at your door…   The time to be prepared is now, and advance planning could save your pets’ life and make yours easier.

  • June1Take several pictures of all the animals in your household and keep these pictures with your important insurance papers (include vaccination records, too). Be sure to include in the pictures any distinguishing marks. These pictures can help reunite you with a lost pet. Store the pictures in a resealable plastic bag in case you have to post them during rainy months.
  • Have at least a minimum two week supply of pet food and water on hand at all times. Store the dry food in air tight/waterproof containers. If you use canned food, buy the flip top cans or have a can opener in your airtight disaster supply container. Keep some of your pet’s favorite treats on hand – they get stressed, too, and a treat provides them some comfort. Also keep a supply of cat litter, a clean litter scoop, and litter pan in your disaster kit.
  • Put a collar and tag (with address and phone number) on your pets. This will increase your chances of reuniting you with your pets if they escape.
  • If your dog rides in the car, always have a leash in the vehicle to be able to keep your dog safely controlled if you have to leave your car. A disaster may occur while you are away from home.
  • Always keep a back-up supply of your pets’ medications. A vet may not be open for some time following a disaster. Prepare to ice down medications that need to be refrigerated (ice is available from the Red Cross). Ask your vet is he/she has a disaster plan. Your pets may need medical attention after a disaster and you need to know where to take your animal. Keep a first aid kit in your disaster kit for your pet (check with your vet on what to include).
  • Have a cat carrier or evacsack to evacuate each cat in your household. If you have to confine the cat(s) for a long period of time, have a carrier large enough to hold a shoe box sized litter box, a water/food dish, and room for the cat to comfortably lie down. Ensure the carrier is not left in the sun, and, if it is warm, that the cat gets good ventilation. If you must take the cat out, do so in a confined space as the cat may try to run away.
  • Start a buddy system with someone in your neighborhood so that they will check on your animals during disaster in case you aren’t home. Agree to do the same for them. Exchange information on veterinarians and have a permission slip put in your file at the vets, authorizing your buddy to get necessary emergency treatment for your pet in case you can’t be reached. Talk with your pets’ “babysitter” about a disaster plan to be used to evacuate and care for your animals in your absence.
  • Comfort your pet during a disaster – they are frightened, too. Having you near to give them a hug will help. Do not force this – let them come to you when they are ready.
  • Continue to feed your pets the food they are used to and put it out as close to the normal time as possible. If you feed canned food, reduce the normal amount by half (supplement with dry food) to reduce the possibility of diarrhea. Be sure to provide your pets with fresh water at all times.
  • Know where the animal shelters are in your area. You may need to visit them after a disaster to look for a missing pet. Also call the National Lost Pet Hotline, 1-900-535-1515 (this is a charge call) to report a lost pet. Call the National Found Pet Hotline, 1-800-755-8111 to report a found animal.
  • Check with local news media for facilities offering disaster animal rescue and relief. Also, you may call (800) 979-0241 and leave your phone number for assistance.
  • Microchip Your Pet!



Easter Hazards

Photo: bob in swamp / / CC BY

Photo: bob in swamp / / CC BY

It’s that time again when Spring is upon us and we look forward with great anticipation to the upcoming Easter holiday and nice, long days of summer ahead.   With 10 to 12 million lily plants produced annually, the lily is a very popular plant to receive as a gift, especially during this time of year.

Cat owners must be aware when bringing lilies into their homes. The following species are known toxins to cats: The Easter lily, Tiger lily, Day Lily, Rubrum lily, Japanese Show Lily, as well as other members of the Liliaceae family can all cause kidney failure in cats. In most plants, the leaves are known toxins along with the stems and flowers in certain species. With some species, cats can eat as little as two or three leaves which can result in liver failure and, if left untreated, can cause death if not caught in time.

Photo: flores do meu jardim / / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo: flores do meu jardim / / CC BY-NC-SA

If you catch your cat eating a lily plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. Should your cat ingest lily plant material, he may vomit, have diarrhea, became dehydrated and lethargic and develop a lack of appetite. As internal damage progresses, symptoms can become more intense without prompt, appropriate treatment by your veterinarian. Take the plant along when you take your cat to the veterinarian to make it easier for your veterinarian to prescribe the proper care and treatment.

If you receive a lily plant, take extra caution to make sure that the plant is out of reach and kept away from your cat, especially if he likes to nibble on things. Rather than struggle with the problem of where to put the plant, you may decide that cats are more fun and more decorative than a plant and just ban them from your home.

Beware of Holiday Hazards with Kitty

This time of year is full of festive occasions and fun with family and friends.  Make sure that your cat is safe and cozy and free from harm.

There are several precautions you can take for all to have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.


Photo: Coco

  •  With people coming and going, make sure your cat is kept away from doors to the outside.  Consider micro-chipping your cat if you have not done so.
  • Poinsettias are not lethal and may cause some stomach upset, but lilies are deadly.  Do not keep any lilies in the house at all.
  • Stick to cat food.  Cats can be curious and beg for tempting goodies.  A piece or two of turkey is fine, but be sure not to over-feed your cat on people food.  Stick to your cat’s regular diet with a few extra cat treats thrown in.




Photo: Ginger Meeker


  • The tree.  What fun and a great temptation for your cat. If you have a real tree, let it sit in your house without decorations, for a few days. Stay away from putting ornaments on the bottom branches.  I learned that the hard way as one of my cats broke my grandmother’s 75 year old ornament. Be sure not to add any tinsel. Choose decorations that are cat-friendly, such as cat toys on the bottom branches, your kitty will have her own toys to play with.  If you have climbers, you may want to anchor the tree to the ceiling.  If you have water for the tree, get a cover so your cat will not get sick.
  • If you have to have ribbons and decorations on Christmas packages, keep them in a safe place until you are ready to open presents.  Once the presents are open, put away the ribbons.  Keep the box for your cat to play in.

These tips will only take a few minutes and can ensure that you and your cat will have a holiday season to enjoy and remember for years to come.

Beware of Holiday Hazards that Could Harm Kitty

It’s that time of year again when the Christmas decorations are up and can attract kitty’s attention.  It is better to be safe than sorry when decorating for the holidays. Decorations, tinsel, plants and ornaments can potentially harm your cat. The shiny decorations are so appealing to cats.

Below, are a few of the common hazards that could potentially harm your cat.


There is some debate as to what part of the plant is poisonous. The sap that comes out of the plant can be the most harmful. As an alternative, consider using some silk plants instead?

Holly, Mistletoe, Bittersweet and Jerusalem Cherry, on the other hand, are very toxic which will make your cat vomit, have diarrhea, and increase its heart rate.

In addition, some cats are allergic to pine trees and can be harmed if the pine needles are ingested.



Tinsel can be very harmful to your cat as well.  The long strands of tinsel can cause your cat to choke or worse, get caught in the intestinal tract and need to be surgically removed by your vet.

Watch ornaments and hooks as well. Candles can be quite festive, but such a danger. Personally, I don’t ever allow candles in my home. It is just better not to even have them around.

Be sure to take these simple precautions so that you and your cat can have a wonderful holiday season together.