Plan to protect your cat in a disaster
Bushfires, storms, floods, tropical cyclones and hot weather are a reality of living in Australia. Do you have a plan to protect your cat when disaster strikes?
Natural disasters can occur at any time, and without a plan you could make panicked decisions that threaten the safety of your cat, yourself and your family.
With a Disaster Plan you will instead be prepared to evacuate fast or stay put with sufficient supplies when a disaster strikes.
1. Plan ahead
Just as you do with your family’s Disaster Survival Kit, think first about the basics for your cat – food, water and warmth. With a Disaster Plan you will instead be prepared to evacuate fast or stay put with sufficient supplies if a disaster strikes.
Decide in advance whether you will take your cat with you, so that if disaster strikes you can avoid risky late retrieval from your home.
Plan and agree with a family member or friend (who doesn’t live with you and who has ideally cared for your cat in the past) if they will care for your cat for any length of time, in case of a disaster.
Show a neighbour where your Disaster Survival Kits are kept in case you are not at home when disaster strikes. Your neighbour can feed and attend to your cat in the interim.
Make sure your cat is microchipped and registered, and that a copy of the microchip certificate is in your Disaster Survival Kit.
2. Prepare a pet Disaster Survival Kit
Place their full name, address and phone number in your Disaster Survival Kit in a waterproof container.
Food and water: At least three days’ worth of water and non-perishable pet food (canned or dried) in an airtight, waterproof container (remember the can opener!).
Medicines and Veterinary/Medical Records: Store medicines and copies of any medical and vaccination records in a watertight container or ziplock bag including your vet’s name and number.
Blanket/Bedding: Familiar items, like a favourite blanket or toys, or even a pillowcase they can bury into, can help reduce stress for your cat.
Sanitation: Include any cat litter and litter box device, newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags, gloves and bleach (to dilute) to clean.
Collar with ID disc: Add an ID disc to your cat’s collar that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and your address.
Photograph: A current photograph of your cat in a waterproof container, ideally with you and your cat together as this helps prove they are yours if you become separated.
Cages or Carrier: To transport your cat safely and ensure they cannot escape. Your cat may have to stay in the cage/carrier for hours at a time, so include bedding, blankets and any favourite toy, to reduce stress levels. Make sure your cat’s cage/carrier includes a tag that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and your address.
3. Practice your plan
Remember to practice your plan regularly so that your cat becomes used to entering and travelling calmly in their cage/carrier.
Try doing practice runs in the dark. This will ensure you can navigate quicker if a disaster strikes during the night or if there is a power cut.
Cats are a valued part of the family. Will you be there when they need you?