FEMA’s National Pet Disaster Preparedness Day is May 14. Do you know how to care for your cat(s) if a disaster strikes in your neighborhood? Disaster may come as an act of nature (fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc), or it may be due to an act of mankind. None of us are immune to these possibilities. Disaster preparedness is a key to safety and survival for us and the cats we love. Luckily, programs like Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love® are there to help us make it through these difficult times.
The Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Program®
In times of emergency, the programs made to assist humans are not always able to help or accommodate pets. This is where the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love program® comes in! Operating on the 4 pillars of the Hill’s mission statement (Volunteer, Donate, Choose and Adopt), the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love program has created a first-of-its-kind network to bring disaster relief to pets. The Hill’s Disaster Relief Network is able to quickly bring much-needed pet food shipments to disaster-stricken areas.
Since its founding in 2013, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network has been able to help in 25 major disasters including the floods in Colorado, the fertilizers plant explosion in Texas, fires in Idaho and Arizona, the mudslide in Washington and areas hit by tornadoes. They have delivered free pet food to more than 60 different shelters and veterinary clinics across the US to keep pets nourished in their time away from home. To learn more about the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Program or the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network please visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
7 Helpful Disaster Preparedness Tips
Knowing what to do and having a pre-determined plan in place can greatly reduce your stress when you have to react to an emergency. The Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Program has 7 disaster preparedness tips that can help you to create the best plan for your cats.
- Make sure your cat is wearing a collar ID tag or has a microchip with up-to-date contact information.
In an emergency, it is easy for a cat to become frightened and run away. If you and your cat get separated, having a form of ID on the cat that has your correct, up-to-date contact information may be your best chance at getting reconnected.
- Place a pet rescue decal on your front window or front door.
Not all emergencies happen when you are at home. If you are not at home or are unable to tell emergency responders about your cat(s), a decal or sign on the front of your home can give them the information they need to rescue your cat. Be sure to include how many cats are in the home and contact information for your veterinarian.
- Get to know your cat’s favorite hiding places so you will know where to look for him/her in an emergency.
Part of disaster preparedness is figuring out how to be ready to leave your home at a moment’s notice. Make a note of each cat’s favorite hiding places so you can find them as quickly as possible.
- Find some cat-friendly places you can go if you need to evacuate.
It is possible that you won’t be able to return to your home immediately following a disaster. Make a list of shelters, hotels, and friends’ homes that would be willing to accommodate you and your cats in the event of an evacuation. Do not assume that just any place will allow your cats to stay! Ask specifically if cats will be allowed.
- Find a clear photo of your cat that you can carry with you.
A good clear photo of your cat can help reunite you with your cat and it can help prove ownership. If your cat has any unique markings, be sure to have photos of those. You may want to have both a hard copy of the photo and a digital copy. Photos on your phone won’t be helpful if your phone’s battery dies.
- Make your cat’s carrier easy to access in case of emergency.
A carrier is a must for emergency situations. It will be much easier to keep your cat safe and by your side at all times if they can be placed in carriers. You may also want to have a comfortable cat harness and leash available.
- Pack an “Emergency Go-Kit” for your cat.
Read more about this below!
What to Pack in Your Cat’s “Emergency Go-Bag”
What is an Emergency Go-Bag? This is a kit of necessary items for your cat that can be easily picked up and run out of your home in an emergency. The Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Program suggest that you prepare 3 days worth of items. Make sure to include:
- First aid supplies and guide books.
- A 3 -day supply of your cat’s food in a water-poof container and bottled water.
- A travel litter box, 3-day supply of litter, litter scoop, and poop bags.
- A 3-day supply of your cat’s medications (if necessary).
- Your cat’s medical records (some shelters will require these).
- Contact information for veterinarians and pet care organizations.
- Information on your cat’s feeding routine and behavioral issues in case your cat must be cared for by a shelter.
- A blanket and comfort toys for your cat.
Don’t forget to keep your cat’s carrier, harness, and leash nearby! Keep the contents of your kit in waterproof containers if it is possible.
Do you have any good disaster preparedness tips for cat owners?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hill’s® Pet Nutrition, Inc. The opinions and text are all mine.