Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Preparing for a Disaster with Pets

As I'm sitting here writing this post, the entire coast of South Carolina is under a mandatory evacuation because of an approaching hurricane - Hurricane Florence. We live approximately two hours from the coast and are usually safe from hurricanes, but this particular storm has the potential to impact us in the middle of the state, so we are preparing for potential bad weather. 

We believe many of you are prepared for your human family in case of emergencies and natural disasters, but are you prepared to take care of your pets? We've seen far too many videos and photos of pets who were left behind during natural disasters, especially storms such as hurricanes. Many times, people were not prepared for the disaster and had to leave without their beloved family pet. We want to make sure you are prepared to keep your pets safe and secure alongside you if you ever need to evacuate or prepare your home.

Planning Ahead

Truffle and Brulee with preparation tips
  • Proper Identification - make sure your cats have proper identification, such as tags on their collars and microchips that are up-to-date.
  • Prepare an Emergency Go-Kit - this should include first aid supplies, safety harness and leash, waste clean up supplies, medications, comfort items such as their blanket and/or favorite toys.
  • Pet Rescue Decal - There are several places where you can obtain a decal that you should place in your front window near that door that lets rescue workers know there are animals in the house.
  • Locate Hiding Places - We all know cats love to hide from us, especially when they are scared and they can pick up on your emotions when you are stressed getting ready to evacuate your home. Make a list of locations where you've found your cat hiding in the past and always check these locations. We recommend you block access to some of the more difficult places they like to hide.
  • Locate Pet Friendly Locations - It's too late to find a hotel that will accomodate pets when a natural disaster, such as a hurricane is approaching. Research hotels that are pet friendly in advance and make sure you make reservations far in advance of the approaching storm.

Important Papers

Baby Praline helps keep important papers organized

  • Place copies of your pet’s registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container.
  • Photos of Pets - We all love to share photos of our cats on the Internet and our phone, but you should print out some photos of your cats and keep with important papers that show specific details of your cats that make them easily identifiable. If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. Include detailed information about species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
  • List of Current Medications - This should include any medications your cat is currently taking as well as a list of medications they cannot take because of allergies or other reactions.
  • Copies of Medical Records - This should include the name of the veterinary hospital, the veterinarian(s), copies of recent wellness examinations, and other pertinent papers.
  • List of Feeding Routines - Make sure you have a list of any special diet your cat may be on and if her food needs to be served a particular way or time.

Carriers and Supplies

Brulee and Truffle with their Sleepypod® Go Bag for Supplies and their Mobile Pet Bed for Safety and Comfort

We've already shared our unique carriers and supply bags from Sleepypod®: The Go Bag and the Mobile Pet Bed. These items help us keep important supplies, papers, technology, food, and us in one location that is easy to carry and find. We strongly recommend you pack a bag with important supplies and papers and place it in a convenient location where you can grab it quickly. You should keep the carriers out in the open so your cats are familiar with it and aren't frightened when it's time to place them in the carrier to evacuate. Items you can keep in the supply bag, in addition to the important papers we mentioned above, are
  • Basic first aid supplies -  Most kits should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book. 
  • 3-5 day supply of bottled water 
  • 3-5 day supply of your cat’s preferred food in an airtight and waterproof container
  • Medication

Sanitation Items

Truffle wants to remind you to remember the cat litter and a litter box

  • Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs. 
  • You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 8 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water, stir well and let it stand for 30 minutes before use. 
  • Do not use scented or color safe bleaches or those with added cleaners. 

Make a Plan for Evacuation

Brulee and Truffle remind you to not forget plenty of water

We like this list from Ready.gov/animals to help when you need to evacuate.
  • Plan in advance what you will do in an emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation. Use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and ensure your pet’s safety during an emergency. For more information, visit ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY For more information, visit ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY
  • Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies Makes Sense. Get Ready Now. Evacuate. Plan how you will assemble your pets and anticipate where you will go. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you, if practical. If you go to a public shelter, keep in mind your pets may not be allowed inside. Secure appropriate lodging in advance depending on the number and type of animals in your care. Consider family or friends outside your immediate area who would be willing to take in you and your pets in an emergency. Other options may include: a hotel or motel that takes pets or some sort of boarding facility, such as a kennel or veterinary hospital that is near an evacuation facility or your family’s meeting place. Find out before an emergency happens if any of these facilities in your area might be viable options for you and your pets.
  • Develop a buddy system. Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Talk with your pet care buddy about your evacuation plans and show them where you keep your pet’s emergency supply kit. Also designate specific locations, one in your immediate neighborhood and other farther away, where you will meet in an emergency.
  • Talk to your pet’s veterinarian about emergency planning. Discuss the types of things you should include in your pet’s emergency first aid kit. Get the names of vets or veterinary hospitals in other cities where you might need to seek temporary shelter. Also talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. If you and your pet are separated, this permanent implant for your pet and corresponding enrollment in a recovery database can help a veterinarian or shelter identify your animal. If your pet is microchipped, keeping your emergency contact information up to date and listed with a reliable recovery database is essential to you and your pet being reunited.
  • Gather contact information for emergency animal treatment. Make a list of contact information and addresses of area animal control agencies including the Humane Society or ASPCA and emergency veterinary hospitals. Keep one copy of these phone numbers with you, and one in your pet’s emergency supply kit.
  • Obtain “Pets Inside” stickers and place them on your doors or windows, including information on the number and types of pets in your home to alert firefighters and rescue workers. Consider putting a phone number on the sticker where you could be reached in an emergency. And, if time permits, remember to write the words “Evacuated with Pets” across the stickers, should you evacuate your home with your pets. 


Our little family
We hope you never need to evacuate your home in case of an emergency or a natural disaster, but we prefer to live by the Scout motto - "Be prepared!"  Our fur children are too important to leave preparation to last minute when everyone needs to get to safety.

We hope all of our friends and their fur children are safe through this hurricane season and other disasters that may occur.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Hope y'all won't be too badly affected!

  2. I will be honest - if a disaster struck right this minute, the humans here would be about 60% prepared. They need to get the other 40% together! I'm purring that things aren't too bad in your area - this hurricane looks pretty grim for some areas.

  3. We don't like the turn Florence took last night! She's coming towards you--we hope she blows herself out before getting there-

  4. stay safe. this is all great advice. another blogger mentioned also putting your paperwork - pet and personal - on a thumb drive and keeping it is a plastic bag somewhere safe

  5. Good tips. Stay safe, Florence is HUGE.

    The Florida Furkids

  6. We all hope that you and everyone else will be safe and have everything they need when the hurricane arrives. We thank you for posting the tips above to make sure everyone including animals are all packed and ready to go. Thanks for sharing and hope everyone is prepared.
    World of Animals

  7. We cross our paws for our friends in the path of Florence. Stay safe. Purrs

  8. Good information. We hope you girls will be safe from the storm.

  9. Such important tips! We don't have many natural disasters here in IL, but we still keep an emergency kit just in case. Purring and praying that you three will be safe and sound during the storm!

  10. Vital and important tips for everyone at risk. Thank you for this amazing post!

  11. These are all great tips - especially the litter! I have go-bags ready but need to add a box of litter.

  12. Excellent tips and I have everything next to my door for an emergency. Please be safe

  13. We thought about friends we know who are in the path of Hurricane Florence. Out purrs are with you all.

  14. Such fantastic tips, let's hope we never need them but it's certainly worth printing out and keeping just in case. I hope you won't be affected by the hurricane, prayers you all stay safe. I remember when we first moved to Florida it was such a shock having to deal with hurricane shutters and stocking up on supplies in case of an emergency. We don't live there anymore but at times we felt that half the year was spent worrying.

  15. I haven't done any kind of preparation - thank you for the effective kick in the pants!

  16. These are really comprehensive tips. You should make a PDF book version. We prayer that everyone in the path of the hurricane stays safe.

  17. Great list of items to keep in mind to have on hand in an emergency. I also like that you mention a buddy system. I hope you and the girls are somewhere safe. Thinking of you.

  18. What an excellent reminder to be prepared and great tips. I love those Sleepy Pod products and the photos of the girls. I hope you and your family stay safe and are not badly affected by the hurricane. XS

  19. I hope everyone, pets and other animals included, stay safe for the hurricane.

  20. If we had to evacuate our area we would never leave our pets at home no matter what! I love that municipalities are now understanding how important it is for people to be able to bring their pets with them when evacuating. I was so impressed that I believe it was the governor of N. Carolina?? who said on TV to be sure to include your pets when evacuating - that made my heart sing! We have an emergency go bag for our pets - chaos and crisis are no time to start thinking about what to bring and where you've stored everything all over the house! Stay Safe my friends!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  21. Great tips! We're in the process of getting our emergency kit ready. Then we'll be prepared for anything!

  22. You always think that disasters happen to the other people. But we all are "the other people" to somebody else. It can happen to anybody. We don't get hurricanes here but the large forest fire almost caused us having to evacuate.

  23. Great list of tips and we hope you were not affected by Florence. So many have such devastating damage from Florence, it's heartbreaking...our thoughts are with them.


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