After seeing so many natural disasters and fires that have occurred in the last few years, I got to thinking what I would do if something like that were to happen where I live. Which lead me to think, how would I take care of my cats in the event of a disaster? I know I would be devastated if anything were to happen to them. Natural disasters are unpredictable and life changing and I want to be sure that my cats are there with me. In creating a Pet Emergency Kit we can be prepared to ensure that our furry family members do not get left behind in the chaos that ensues when disaster Strikes
Note that this is just a basic emergency kit that I made for my cats and what my pets need may differ from yours. In my last step I will explain how you can better tailor your emergency kit to your pet.
1. Container- preferably one that is water proof
5. Litter Box
6. Cat litter
7. Litter scoop and baggies
8. Bed or Blanket
9. Vaccination Record
10. List of Medications
11. Emergency Contacts
12. Pictures Of Your Pets
Step 1: Food and Water
Gather your materials and organize them within your Emergency Kit. I used a large bin as I have two cats and will need enough space and supplies for both of them.
First, put 1-2 weeks worth of food in an air tight, water proof bag. Be sure to check the expiration date on the bag so that you can keep track of when you need to change the food out. (No one wants moldy food in their emergency kit!). A bottle of clean water should also be placed in the kit.
Make sure you have receptacles for your pets food/water. Have at least one food dish per pet, and a water dish. If you need your kit to be more compact, collapsible food and water dishes are also a good idea.
Step 2: Bathroom on the Go!
For cats, this is an important step.
Have a litter box or a litter pan that is big enough for your pet to turn around in and hold at least 1 inch of litter. Pack enough cat litter that it will be able to fill the box and last you 1-2 weeks. Do not get a different type of litter than what your cats already use as some cats are particular about what they use and switching litter might make them not want to go to the bathroom or they may go in inappropriate locations. Lastly have a litter scoop to keep their litter box clean, if you have the space in your kit keep some small trash bags so you can throw away the waste material if a trash can is not readily available where you are at.
Step 3: Nap Time
Put a small bed or blanket/towel that already has your cat's scent and fold it into the kit. Blankets and towels make for good bedding and are more easily packed than beds especially if you have multiple cats. But providing your pets a thing of comfort during a stressful time can help make them feel safe.
Step 4: Important Documents
When creating your emergency kit there are several important documents that you should keep in it.
1. vaccination record- These can be obtained by your veterinarian. Vaccination records are important especially if you are going to be taking your animal to a boarding facility or taking them with you to a shelter as many require your pet to be vaccinated. So be sure to keep these up to date.
2. Emergency contacts- Keep a list of names, phone numbers, email and even addresses of your emergency contacts and be sure to include your veterinarian. Ideally these contacts are those of people you will likely be staying with or are someone who would be able to care for your pet in case of emergency.
3. List of locations you can go to that will accept your pet- friend/family's house, shelters, etc. This will vary depending on your location. Talk with your friends and family members to see if they would be willing to house you and your pet in case of an emergency. Additionally, do a google search for shelters that will accept you and your pet in your area as well as what things they may require if you need to go there.
4. List of medications- if your pet is taking medications consult with your veterinarian on how you can accommodate your pets needs during an emergency.
5. Pictures of your pet- should you be separated it is a good idea to have access to a photo of your pet. I have many pictures of my cats on my phone and email. Printed copies are also good and should be stored with your vaccination records.
Step 5: Make a Plan!
This is probably the hardest part, though some of it has already been done with the previous steps without you even knowing it!
1.Have your newly prepared emergency kit in an easily accessible place and keeping everything in it up to date. Go through your kit every 6 months to make sure you are keeping everything within their expiration date and are keeping your pets records current.
2. Keep your cat carriers/kennels out in an area where your cat can get used to them and they are readily accessible. Almost every cat owner has had the experience of getting the carrier out and then the cat disappears. In the event of an emergency, this makes things very difficult. Keeping the carrier out so that the cat gets used to it and won't run away will help make life easier for when you have to transport your cat. I keep my carriers Under my bed and keep the doors open, sometimes I will even spot my cats using it as a bed.
3. Figure out where you would go in case of an emergency using your list of emergency contacts. This can be at a friend's or family member's place, a shelter or even a veterinary clinic. For me, I have family that my cats and I can go to in case something should happen and they are cool with this. However, I also have a back up list of places I can take my pets if I am unable to get to my family's place as they live further away (it is always good to have a plan A, B, and C)
4. CONSULT WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN!! This is the most important part of the planning stage. They will be able to help you create a more tailored emergency plan that fits your pet and the area you live in. This is especially important if your pet has a medical condition or is taking medications, your veterinarian can help develop a plan with you on what to do during an emergency in context of your pet's condition. Keep your veterinarian in the loop!
Step 6: Miscellaneous Items
Other things I decided to add to my kit are some cat toys so my cats have some entertainment. As well as a hair brush since I have a long haired cat which requires daily grooming.
Keep your cat's needs in mind as you make your kit to help make it personalized just for them. The ultimate goal being that in case of an emergency, your cat will have everything it needs to continue to have its regular routine.
Now that you have a Plan and your emergency kit is put together this will help keep things organized during chaotic times and you are one step closer to being ready for anything!
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