Natural disasters can happen anywhere. For some, the threat is hurricanes, for some it is earthquakes or fires, and for others it massive blizzards. No matter what disasters are most likely to occur in your area, it is important that you and your cat are prepared to survive. The 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is a stark reminder of what can happen when we aren’t as prepared for disaster as we need to be.
Full Disclosure: I have not received any kind of compensation, including free product, from the ASPCA for the post. However, the ASPCA is donating the prize for the giveaway.
Remembering Hurricane Katrina
Everyone knew it was coming. Tropical Storm Katrina had picked up speed and become Hurricane Katrina as it hit the Bahamas. Mandatory evacuations began for New Orleans on August 28, 2005. About 80% of residents packed up and evacuated the city while tens of thousands chose to ignore the evacuation order and stay in their homes. Early in the morning on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States as a category 3 hurricane. Winds ranged from 100 – 140 mph (161- 225 kph) and the storm measured an enormous 400 miles (644 km) across. As if the storm itself were not a big enough disaster, faltering levees along Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Borgne, and a number of swamps and marshes on the east side of New Orleans began to give away by 9 AM. That is when the flooding started – 80% of the city was under some amount of water. In the end, it was the aftermath of the storm that was the true disaster. Even with the valiant efforts of many people, nearly 2,000 people were killed. Over $100 billion in damage was done. Ten years later, New Orleans is still rebuilding and many people who evacuated have not returned home leaving lots of empty lots where homes once were. Hurricane Katrina was not just a human disaster, but a disaster for pets as well. According to the ASPCA, the storm and its aftermath left 600,000 pets deceased or homeless. This wasn’t for a lack of care or love. Of the people who chose to ride out the storm in their homes, 44% percent refused to evacuate because they wouldn’t be able to bring their pets. Being better prepared could have saved many people and their pets! The facts about Hurricane Katrina above come from The History Channel and the ASPCA.
How You and Your Cat Can Be Prepared for a Natural Disaster
A recent poll by the ASPCA shows that “35% of pet owners don’t have plans in place for the next big storm.” Don’t want to be a part of that statistic? Here are 5 things that you can do to ensure that your kitty will be safe if a natural disaster strikes in your area.
- Sign the ASPCA’s Disaster Prep Pledge The ASPCA would like to see every pet owner pledge to include their pets in their emergency plans. No one wants another catastrophe like we saw with Hurricane Katrina. You can make the pledge by clicking here.
- Always keep your cat with you. If disaster strikes, don’t assume that your cat’s instincts will be enough to see him/her through. Abandoning your pet is one of the worst things you can do. Make sure you have a carrier for each cat in your home and you can easily access those carriers in an emergency.
- Make sure your cat has ID. It can be easy for a cat to get lost in the crowd when disaster hits. Make sure your cat has a collar with ID and/or is microchipped. That will make it a lot easier for them to be returned to you if you get separated.
- Create an emergency kit. This kit should include a pet first-aid kit, an emergency supply of cat food and litter, travel food and water dishes, a travel litter box, a printed copy of your cat’s vaccination records and health history, and current photos of your cat. The photos can help you prove ownership of your cat and help you find your cat if you are separated from him/her.
- Download the ASPCA’s Mobile App This FREE app is available for both iPhone and Android and it can give you show you exactly what to do for your cat in the event of a disaster.
The ASPCA Giveaway!
To help you get started in planning for emergencies with your cat, the ASPCA has given me a wonderful prize to give away. One lucky winner will receive:
- An Emergency Ready Pet First Aid Kit
- A Subaru Roll-up Picnic Blanket
- A Subaru Penguin Umbrella
Entries can be received from Monday, 8/31/15 at 8:00 AM EST to Monday 9/7/15 at 11:59 PM EST. You must be a US citizen and at least 18 years of age to win. Winners will be notified via email by the end of the day on Wednesday 9/9/15. If a winner does not respond to the email within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. Void where prohibited. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.