The northeast is currently recovering from a major winter blizzard. Many there are still without power and/or heat in their homes. Others were forced to evacuate homes affected by flooding. Our thoughts and best wishes go to all impacted by the storm. Everyone here at CATalyst Council hopes that recovery for the region is swift and that everyone there, two-legged and four-legged, remains healthy and safe.
This snow storm serves to remind all of us of the need to be prepared for an emergency. That preparation should include plans for your pets. We hope you never need to implement your emergency plan. However, if the worst happens, you’ll be glad you have a plan in place.
What should you do to prepare for an emergency? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has prepared a brochure that provides lots of information about disaster preparedness. It’s available here: Saving the Whole Family.
Here are some of the highlights.
- If you need to evacuate, even for a short period of time, take your pets with you. Disasters can sometimes have unforeseen complications and you may end up being away from your home longer than anticipated.
- Make sure your pet has some form of identification. For a cat, identification tags and microchips are good choices.
- Consult your veterinarian for assistance in formulating a suitable emergency plan.
- Be certain you have a cat carrier available for each cat in your household. Provide bedding in the carriers for our comfort. Make sure we’re acclimated to our carrier also.
- Make sure you have up-to-date copies of your cat’s medical records, including the vaccination history. (Is your cat up-to-date on vaccinations? Has your cat had a veterinary examination recently? If not, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian as soon as possible.)
- Keep a list of important phone numbers.
- Have an evacuation kit and first aid kit packed and accessible.
You’ll find lots of information, including a list of phone numbers you should have handy and a list of items you should include in your emergency and first aid kits in the AVMA’s disaster preparedness brochure. Be sure to review it and take the steps necessary to be ready should a disaster strike.
Being prepared for a disaster can make the difference between life and death for both you and your cat. You should know where you will go if you need to evacuate your home. Do you have a friend or family member nearby that would be willing to take you in with your cat? What about if you need to evacuate the neighborhood? Is there a hotel you can retreat to that is pet-friendly? Perhaps there is a boarding kennel or veterinary facility willing to board your cat. You should know where you need to go and have the corresponding phone numbers available.