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How Does a Cat Mom Prepare for a Natural Disaster?

With Sandy headed our way, I've readied myself and my cats for what's to come.

JaneA Kelley  |  Mar 18th 2015


Editor’s note: March 16-20 is National Flood Safety Awareness Week, an ideal time to republish this post from 2012 and Hurricane Sandy so you can get the information and comment on it further. It’s relevant to being prepared for extreme weather or other natural disasters.

As I write this in Maine, Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on us. Of course, we’re certainly not going to get the worst of it. I’ll probably lose power for a while, but because I live in the largest city in the state, the odds are that I won’t be in the dark for more than a day or two.

I made preparations, and many of them have been with my cats in mind. Most people think of disaster preparation for themselves, but in the heat of a near-panic state, they might forget to think about their pets.

Woman reading with cat by Shutterstock’>

Power outages make for a great reading and snuggling opportunity. Woman reading with cat by Shutterstock

Here are some things I’ve done to make sure my cats can ride out the storm. By the time you read this, the worst will probably have passed, but it might help you plan for the future. 

  • I’ve stocked up on canned cat food — If the power goes out, the frozen raw-food diet I usually feed them might not keep if the freezer doesn’t stay cold.
  • I’ve got their carriers out and easily accessible — Although I probably won’t have to evacuate, it’s good to be ready … just in case.
  • I know where I’ll go if the cats and I do have to leave — And I’ve filled up my car’s gas tank so I can get there. I also know my landing place is cat-friendly.
  • I’ve downloaded a couple of awesome books to my Kindle — So I can read and snuggle with the cats if we need to stay warm. (Oh yes, and I’ve made sure my Kindle is fully charged, too.)
  • I plan to use flashlights rather than candles — If and when the power goes out, it’s easy for an excited cat to knock over a candle and start a fire.
  • I’ve stored plenty of water — The cat and I will stay hydrated.
  • I’ve dealt with medications — Fortunately, none of my cats has to take medications, but if one or more did I’d make sure I had enough to last a while.

Cat napping on window sill by Shutterstock”>


Cat napping on window sill by Shutterstock”>

My cats are calm because I’m calm. Cat napping on window sill by Shutterstock

In my day job, I work as a communications officer for a nonprofit organization. I know how important it is to have an emergency communications plan. For example, I know there are a lot of people worrying about and praying for the cats and me, so I wanted to make sure I had a way to update the readers of my blog, Paws and Effect, on our status. I added one of my good friends and fellow cat bloggers — who lives outside of the storm’s path — as an admin for the Paws and Effect Facebook page, so she can provide updates to our fans based on text messages I send, if the need arises.

American Curl kitten eating canned cat food by Shutterstock”>


American Curl kitten eating canned cat food by Shutterstock”>

I stocked up on non-perishable cat food. If you’re feeding canned food, make sure you have a manual can opener! American Curl kitten eating canned cat food by Shutterstock

When it comes down to it, though, I’m a Mainer. I’ve ridden out some pretty nasty storms and extended power outages. I just can’t bring myself to panic.

That, above all, is key. If I’m calm, my cats are calm. It might get pretty bad, but if it does, it does. I can’t control the weather, so there’s no need to waste energy worrying about the worst possible scenario. Prepare, yes, but for your cats’ sake, make sure you stay as relaxed as you can. Your cats will thank you.

What do you do to prepare your cats for an emergency? Please share your tips in the comments!

Read more about disaster and preparedness on Catster:

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal rescue volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.

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