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How to Make an Emergency Evacuation Plan for Your Cat :: Cat-speak Dictionary: Ears and Eyes :: Three Options for Caring for Your Cat While You're Out Of Town :: Cat Sitter Checklist: What to Do Before You Leave Town

How to Make an Emergency Evacuation Plan for Your Cat

You may need to evacuate your home quickly for any number of reasons: natural disasters, a house fire, or in a worst case scenario, even terrorist attacks or warfare. Very few cat caretakers think about disaster plans for themselves, let alone for their cats. But you need to make a plan now, because if you ever need evacuate quickly without one, it'll be too late.

Here are the basics:

  • Make sure your cat has identification.

  • Collars or harnesses with tags that have your current contact information, are a good bet; microchips are even better because they won't get lost if the cat escapes.

  • Most disaster shelters won't accept pets, so be sure your plan includes a place to go, whether this is with family, friends, or at a pet-friendly hotel or motel.

  • Make sure you have one carrier for each cat, and that the carriers are easily accessible.

  • Put together an evacuation bag for your cat as well as for yourself. Your evacuation bag should be easily accessible, as close to the exit as possible, easy to carry, and water-resistant or waterproof.

This evacuation kit should include:

  • A list of emergency contact phone numbers and addresses of pet-friendly hotels and motels

  • Photocopies of your cat's veterinary records -- or, at the very least, proof of vaccinations (if you need to board your cat, proof of vaccination will be required)

  • A description of your cat's feeding and medication requirements

  • Recent photos and descriptions (including any special markings or identifying details) of your cat, preferably with you or your family, in case you become separated

  • Disposable litter pans (if you get the kind without litter, be sure to include a small bag of your preferred brand of litter in your evacuation kit)

  • Collapsible food and water dishes for each cat in your household

  • A seven-day supply of food for each cat (canned food should be in pull-top cans)*

  • A seven-day supply of bottled water for you and for each cat*

  • A two-week supply, in a waterproof container, of any medications your cat needs to take*

  • Pet first aid kit and first aid manual

  • Extra bedding

  • Paper towels

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Liquid dish soap

  • A blanket and a couple of toys for each cat

  • Garbage bags (for clean-up)

*Note: Food, water, and medications should be replaced every two months.

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