How To Plan Care For Your Cat In The Case Of An Unexpected Absence

Do you know what would happen to your cat if you were suddenly away? Maybe you end up in the hospital or have a family emergency that requires immediate travel—in these types of moments the cat can easily slip your mind, or maybe you can’t think and those taking care of you (an EMT for example) does not even know you have a cat.  Here are a few tips to make sure your cat is provided for in the case of an emergency.

#1 – God-parent

It may sound strange, but one of the best ways to ensure your cat is taken care of should you find yourself away (hospital, jail-time, etc), is to appoint someone as your cat’s second guardian. This should be a legal document, not just verbal assurances. If your cat is registered, this person should be a co-owner on those papers. This is probably the best way to ensure your cat DOES NOT end up in the shelter.

Image source: @NielsKiiim via Flickr
Image source: @NielsKiiim via Flickr

#2 – “Pet Alert” Signs

A simple sign like this on the exterior of homes saves pets lives.  If something like a fire or other natural disaster happens emergency responders will know you have a pet and that they need rescue, too. Simply purchase enough for every window, mark the number of pets you have and affix to your windows.

iHeartCats Pet Alert Sticker

#3 – E-Kit

Have an emergency kit with a kennel, blanket, food, collar, etc., all made up and ready to go. Then, put it somewhere easy for whoever is getting your cat to find. This way, you have made it easy for them to help you out should they need to take your cat anywhere (for example to the vet for treatment or to their house if you are going to be gone a long time).

Image source: Ontario SPCA
Image source: Ontario SPCA

#4 – Carry a Card

If you live alone and don’t really have people over much, it’s possible there are people who don’t know you have a cat, including those that would respond during an emergency. Carry a card behind your driver’s license that includes critical information about your cat on it.

iHeartCats Pet Emergency Info Card

#5 – Auto Feeder

If you have a job where you sometimes have to travel at a blink of an eye, or you have a pregnant family member and you have been “waiting for the call,” set-up your house so your kitty is all ready for your short absence. There are new feeders out there that you can activate using your smartphone, for example the Petnet allows you to feed your cat from anywhere and even lets you know how much food is left and if your cat is eating it. This is a great device to have set-up in case of emergencies.

Image source: Petnet
Image source: Petnet

#6 – Will

No one wants to think about this, but sudden deaths do happen. Your will should include what happens to your pets and the people you name should be aware of (and willing!) to take on the responsibilities of your cat(s), otherwise they will most likely end up at a shelter.


#7 – Critical Information

You should have all the information someone needs about your cat – how much to feed, any meds she needs and how to administer them, vet information, if she hates men – somewhere easy to find for anyone who may be looking. An envelope on the fridge or in plain sight on your desk are good options. Make sure the envelope is clearly labeled.

iHeartCats Pet Emergency Info Magnet

#8 – Spare Key

Make sure someone has a spare key so they can get into your home to care for your cat. Aside from your god-parent, maybe give one to your neighbor (whom the emergency crew may think to ask), or someone at your workplace that you trust to keep for emergencies.

Image source: @MoyanBrenn via Flickr
Image source: @MoyanBrenn via Flickr

#9 – Pet Sitter

If you don’t have someone who can/wants to be a god-parent, or as a back-up in case they are not available, having a pet sitter that you trust and can put down as an “emergency contact” on all your forms is great. Make sure you have some money saved to pay them for an extend period of time.

Image source: @spilltojill via Flickr
Image source: @spilltojill via Flickr


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