Monday night was crazy here in Kansas. Tornado sirens were blaring, serious thunderstorms were all around, and we were advised to take cover since several tornadoes had been spotted in the area. I tried to coax my cat Marty downstairs to our shelter area in the basement, but skittish boy that he is, he balked. Finally, I picked him up and carried him downstairs.
As we sat in our shelter waiting out the hazardous conditions, I looked at what I had and discovered I was woefully unprepared in the event we’d have to evacuate our home. I’d thought often about compiling a disaster preparedness kit, but hadn’t acted on it.
With unpredictable weather conditions becoming more of a possibility in many areas of the country, it’s important to have a disaster preparedness kit ready for your pet in the event evacuation becomes a reality. The team at petfinder.com compiled this list of items to include in your cat’s disaster preparedness kit:
- Pet food. Include 1-2 week supply (if your pet’s diet is canned food) of your pet’s regular food, or airtight premeasured packets of kibble if your pet’s diet is primarily dry food.
- Can opener. If your pet’s food is canned and doesn’t have a tab top opening, include a can opener
- Portable food and water bowls. Look for the bowls that fold down flat to save space in your kit
- Bottled water. It’s often difficult to access clean water in a disaster, so include 1-2 week supply of water so you and your pet will have water to drink
- Cleaning supplies. For cleaning pet carrier or litter box
- Cat Litter. Include a 1-2 week supply of litter, along with a litterbox and scoop to maintain the litter box. An option to check out are the disposable litter boxes that come prefilled with litter.
- Pet Carrier. Although this won’t fit in a disaster preparedness kit, it’s important to have a carrier to transport your cat easily. If your cat is like Marty, he doesn’t deal well with being carried very long, so a carrier will be a safer option.
- Pictures of your pet. In the event your cat is lost during a natural disaster, having pictures of your pet to show may help reunite you.
- Pet medical/vaccination records. Make a copy of your cat’s medical records to add to your kit in the event your original copy is damaged or destroyed. If you have multiple pets, include each pet’s information
- Veterinary information. Include your vet’s name and contact information. Add an alternate vet with contact information in the event your primary vet is not available.
- Pet Medication. Include any medications your pet may be taking. If you have multiple pets, include applicable meds for each pet.
- Grooming supplies. Your usual supplies may be lost in a natural disaster, so include items such as brush, nail trimmers for your pet.
- Pet Identification. Include a tag with emergency information.
- Bedding or pet blanket. This may seem secondary, but will help your pet feel a little more comfortable if you have to seek temporary shelter.
- Pet toys. Another item that may seem secondary, but similar to the bedding above, can help your pet relax in a strange environment.
You’ll want to package all of the contents above in a sturdy, waterproof bag that’s easy to pick up and be sure to stow it in a location that’s easy to access. I included a picture of a bag I purchased from our local Emergency Response Team. It’s lightweight but sturdy and has several pockets for additional storage.
Since there are items that will expire over time, it’s important to check your kit regularly to replace items such as food, water and meds that may be near expiration. Begin a habit of designating one day of the month as Kit Check Up Day.
I plan to get Marty’s Emergency Kit ready this week so I won’t be caught off guard. How about you?