How To Prepare For Saving Your Cat’s Life During A Disaster

When disaster hits, you may only have a matter of minutes to get you and yours to safety. How can you make the most of the time available?

Preparation can save time, sanity and lives. Here are some tips as to what you’ll need to do.

Stay calm

Easier said than done, remember your cat will pick up on your fear and fearful cats hide. Keep things as normal as possible. Watch your tone of voice most of all.

Teach your cat to come when called

Find a very special treat your cat will love. Use it only for your practice “fire drills” and reward lavishly when he comes running. This will work best when you have a warning—like take cover for a tornado or evacuate for a flood or hurricane.

Get your cat used to the crate

If you have more than one cat (and who wouldn’t?), have a crate for each cat. Keep the crates near the exit or basement door. A copy of current vaccinations, medications and microchip number for all the cats, attached to each crate, will help—no need to try to get a cat in a certain crate, the description will tell who is who.

Click here to learn how to get your cat to like the cat carrier

Harness and leash

Crates are made to move cats from one place to another, not to withstand a lot of bouncing around. As a backup, teach your cat to be comfortable in a harness and leash. Keep the harness/leash with the crate except when practicing how fast you can get it on your cat.

If the crate door pops open or the crate falls apart under duress, grab the leash as a second way to corral your cat. Many cats fake paralysis when first introduced to the harness. It may take a number of sessions to “restore” his ability to walk.

Click here to read more about harness and leash training for cats

A secure spot

Decide ahead of time where you’ll go if disaster strikes. A fire means get out of the house while a tornado means head for the basement or secure room. Have an exchange agreement set up with a friend – if you’re unable to care for your cats in your home, she’ll take them and you’ll do the same for her.

Food, water and medicines

An emergency kit with bottled water, canned or freeze dried/dehydrated food and extra medicines is a big help. If those items can be stored in an empty litter box with a baggie of litter, then everything is in one place for easy pick up on your way to safety.

As with all things, planning ahead can save time and lives in the face of a disaster whether man-made or natural. Walk through your cat’s routine to see if you’ve forgotten anything. Don’t forget your own things—as flight attendants say during their speech on the plane, “Take care of yourself first or you won’t be able to save anyone else.”

Fire, flood and mayhem—you can be ready for anything with a little preparation.

9 comments on “How To Prepare For Saving Your Cat’s Life During A Disaster

Kitty_Oliver August 29, 2019
Kitty_Oliver said:
Help! How can I help a feral mommy and her 2 kittens only 11 days old. She's use to me feeding her and her other friends and I was thinking of trapping her and putting her inside and bringing in her kittens to her but someone said that she might stop feeding them due to the stress
Forgot to mention, I live in Miami Florida and we have a category 4 hurricane coming Sunday
Kitty_Oliver August 29, 2019
Help! How can I help a feral mommy and her 2 kittens only 11 days old. She's use to me feeding her and her other friends and I was thinking of trapping her and putting her inside and bringing in her kittens to her but someone said that she might stop feeding them due to the stress
LTS3 January 24, 2019
The AVMA has a free downloadable Disaster Preparedness Guide: AVMA Store - Product A Spanish language version is available here: AVMA Store - Product in Spanish The AVMA also has a page with general tips: https://www.avma.org/public/EmergencyCare/Pages/Pets-and-Disasters.aspx
MrHandsomesMama March 8, 2018
gloriajh said:
Good Tips, but not relevant to me - we have too many cats to do anything but have food and water available for them - so, I've given up on planning anything else. Like - which cats do I actually pick to live? I think I'd rather just die with them.
If it came to that I feel the same way!
rubythecat September 17, 2016
Lucky for me, I only have one cat so it will be simple. 
donotsurrender October 23, 2014
Good tip about practising "fire drills". I will do that. Thanks.
lunariris November 28, 2013
I have 9 cats and have made sure I can get them all in carriers,  and come when called, and have copies of vet records etc. for them, and a meeting place set up for an emergency. If there's a major catastrophe, cats go with me above all else. We set up emergency things like extra litter trays, blankets, and dishes, and protective items for things like hurricanes and tornadoes. It's good to prepare. The only thing I've questioned is how to get them all in the car at one time lol.
goosegoose January 4, 2013
I have the same problem. I have 7 cats and one of my cats is a 15 year old and another two that are skittish cats that always run away and hide...I am always having nightmares that a disaster has hit and I am running around the house trying to grab all my cats. There is no way I'd leave my cats either...But one thing I will do is get a backpack and stalk it up with pet supplies... so when disaster hits, I can just grab the bag and shove it in the car. But yeah, good article and thanks for posting xd.
gloriajh May 10, 2012
Good Tips, but not relevant to me - we have too many cats to do anything but have food and water available for them - so, I've given up on planning anything else. Like - which cats do I actually pick to live? I think I'd rather just die with them.

Leave a Reply to donotsurrender Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top