September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. It’s also smack dab in the middle of Hurricane Season if you live in a vulnerable area. Thinking ahead and being prepared can make a huge difference in keeping you and your cat safe in the face of disaster.
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Have a Plan in Place
Having a pre-established plan will help you feel more in control if disaster strikes. Take some time now to learn how your city will aid its citizens during a hurricane, including evacuation routes and which shelters will accept animals. If there’s any chance you’d leave town to avoid an impending hurricane, keep a list of the names and phone numbers of friends or family members who could house you and your cat for a few days.
Having a plan is crucial, but so is being flexible. Natural disasters are unpredictable and your plan will rarely work out exactly how you imagined. Stay adaptable and roll with the punches.
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Cats are very intuitive creatures and can sense your anxiety, which will make them anxious too. It would be silly to suggest that you shouldn’t be anxious or scared when a hurricane is bearing down on your home, but there are some conscious efforts you can make to not transfer that stress to your cat. Paying attention to your body language and tone of voice will help. Moving slowly and speaking in a soft and gentle manner can help keep your cat calm while you’re internally freaking out.
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Pack an Emergency Kit
There are a lot of reasons you may need to flee your home quickly during a hurricane, such as your home flooding or a tree falling through the roof into your kitchen. Being prepared with the essentials will help your cat adjust better to an unpredictable and frightening situation.
Your emergency kit should include a litter box, a few days worth of litter, food and water bowls, a few days worth of food, a pet First Aid kit, and any medications your cat requires (keep an eye on expiration dates). Pack all of these things into a waterproof bin and store it in a place that will be easily accessible in an emergency.
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Familiarize the Crate
Getting your cat familiar with her travel crate beforehand is a great way to help minimize stress when you need to scoot her into it. Instead of packing her crate away in a closet, keep it out in the open where she can access it, smell it, and rub her scent onto it. This can help her associate the crate with comfort rather than terror during an emergency.
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Confine Your Cat
When a hurricane hits, keep your cat confined into a room with you. It will make her feel safer to be with you, but it will also help you keep tabs on where she’s hiding out so it’ll be easier to grab her if you need to flee quickly.
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Don’t Leave Your Cat Alone
Keep and eye on the news and know when the worst of the storm is scheduled to hit. Don’t leave your cat home alone during a hurricane. The power of the storm can escalate fast, bringing with it a whole slew of dangers. You’d never forgive yourself if something were to happen to your cat when you weren’t there to protect her.