No one likes to think about their cat getting sick or contracting a disease, but unfortunately there are many diseases your cat could contract. It is important for you to be informed, understand what signs and symptoms to look for, and most importantly how you can prevent your cat from contracting certain avoidable diseases.

The most common feline diseases are FeLV and FIV. You can learn about prevention, signs and symptoms, how your cat could contract these diseases, and treatment options.

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Natural disasters, or situations requiring evacuation, will require you to prepare not only yourself for safety, but your pets, too. Here are a few types of disasters you may want to prepare for:

  • Immediate - such as a gas leak or house fire - when evacuation is necessary right away
  • Short Warning - such as a toxic spill or fire in the neighborhood - when you have to grab your pets and a few supplies and leave within a short period of time
  • Seasonal Disasters - hurricanes, floods, or forest fires - when you’ll need a plan for gathering your pets, packing up supplies and evacuating

Here's a checklist of some things you can do to be prepared for a disaster. Anyone who has ever been in a widespread disaster will tell you that at the last minute veterinary hospitals are packed with people trying to get copies of their animals’ records, microchips and carriers.

Pet Checklist

Put your pets' ID on their collars: your name, address, and phone number. Since cell phones and land lines may be down for a while, consider adding the phone number of a relative or friend who lives outside of your area.

___ Have your pets microchipped and be sure to register the chip in your name and provide additional phone numbers.

___ Have copies of your pets' microchip information and contact information for the microchip company in the event your pets get lost.

___ Have current photos of your pets in case one of them is lost.

___ Buy carriers appropriate for your pets’ sizes; the carriers should be easy to transport.

___ Always have on hand at least a one-month supply of your pets’ medications.

___ Make sure your pets’ vaccination records are current and you have copies.

___ Periodically check your pets’ collars to make sure they fit properly and tags are securely fastened. If the collar can slip over a pet's head when you pull on it, you may lose him if he panics and pulls back from you.

___ Choose potential evacuation destinations – for example, homes of relatives or friends, pet-friendly hotels – in different directions so you’ll know where you’re going in the event of a disaster.

___ Periodically print out a list of phone numbers for animal shelters, animal hospitals and hotels that are pet-friendly.

___ Take an animal first-aid class if one is offered in your community and put together a first-aid kit for pets.

___ Put all the information mentioned above (copies of your pets' microchip information; current photos of your pets; pets’ vaccination records and contact information; list of phone numbers for animal shelters, animal hospitals and hotels) in one easily accessible place in your house or garage so you can get these items at a moment’s notice for a quick exit.

Storage Containers 

You’ll also want to pack a storage container with necessary items so you can just grab it and go. Here are the items that should always live in this storage container:

    • A roll of paper towels
    • A pet-friendly cleaner
    • Trash bags
    • Small poop bags
    • A small bag of litter
    • Litter pan
    • Pet first-aid kit
    • Leashes
    • A pair of heavy-duty gloves
    • A blanket
    • Two towels
    • Two bowls
    • Can opener and spoon

This means buying duplicates of a lot of items you may already have and use, but having these items in one location will save time when you are in a hurry to leave your home. Last minute items to grab:

    • Food, canned and/or dry
    • Gallon jug of water
    • Treats or snacks

Emergency Drills

You can practice emergency readiness by doing drills during which you pack all needed supplies, including human supplies.

Be aware that your pets’ behavior during and after an emergency evacuation may be different from the normal daily behavior you know and expect. Pets may panic as the danger nears and become lost before they are safely evacuated. If you do end up in the middle of a disaster, bring your pets inside and keep them inside. Block off rooms in your house to keep all your pets in one area, so if you need to evacuate, you can get your pets into their carriers quickly. Keep pets on lead if they must go out to eliminate. Remember, too, that one of the most important things you can do to help your pets during an emergency is to stay calm yourself.

Finally, watch out for hazards during the evacuation, such as chemicals on the ground or in floodwater, broken glass, sharp metal, hot surfaces, or downed, exposed electric wires.

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