NOAA is forecasting a severe Atlantic Hurricane season with 13 to 19 named storms and up to 10 hurricanes for 2020. Hurricane season runs from July through November with a peak from mid-August through the end of October. Before any bad weather appears, you need to make sure that you have an emergency plan that includes cat-friendly accommodations. Here are the steps you need to take to ensure you and your cat stay safe and secure this hurricane season.
One in three pets will be lost at some point in their life, and the return rate is 2000% better for cats with microchips (yes, three zeros!). Make sure they are microchipped and that it is registered. As an added precaution, have an ID tag attached to your cat’s harness. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, take some time to practice placing your cat on a leash, so they aren’t surprised when the time comes. Note, a harness will work better than a collar in emergencies because it’s harder to escape from and doesn’t create a choking hazard.
Before a storm approaches, weather forecasters will report a ‘cone of uncertainty.’ Watch these reports carefully and heed all warnings. Even if you’re on the edge of the cone, you should stock up on food, water, litter and medication, including calming spray. Cat parents need to care for their fur baby’s body and spirit. Finally, make sure you fill your car with gas early in case of shortages. Never let your tank go below half full with an approaching storm.
If there’s a call for an evacuation, leave early. Everything takes longer when you have your fur baby on board. Plus, Kitty will hate sitting in traffic more than you do. Whatever you do, don’t drive around barricades or through standing water. Even six inches of water can be dangerous, and first responders do not have an obligation to rescue your pet.
If it’s safe to stay, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Know where the local shelters are and pick a safe room in your house, maybe an interior room or hallway without windows. Also, make sure you keep your cat on a leash or in a carrier during the storm in case you need to make a hasty retreat.
When the storm hits, talk to your cat and let them know it will be OK. You’ll both appreciate the company. If they are burrowers, they might feel safer under a blanket. Plus, they’ll be easier to reach hiding on your lap instead of under the bed.
Even after the storm, your pet will be very anxious. Keep them on a leash or in a carrier until they’re calm and everything’s safe. Hidden dangers may exist like floodwater, which could have dangerous debris or present the risk of electrical shock. If you’ve evacuated, don’t return until authorities advise you to do so.
If you want you and your cat to stay safe this hurricane season, listen to all the reports and stay ahead of the crowd. Make your plans and reservations as early as possible, and act on them quickly when the time comes. After all, you’re not only planning for yourself when you’re a cat parent.
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