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Pet Disaster Plan: For Cats

Preparing what your cat needs in case of emergency

Your cat might not like leaving home, and it is up to you to convince your pet that an emergency or disaster is truly an adventure. Focus on the prospect of having long, soothing hours with your cat during a time you cannot take part in normal activities. The following list will help you pack to get ready for hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, terrorists, or the bird flu. Prepared, you and your cat can weather whatever nature brings.

What your disaster kit should have in it:

    Personal Items:
  • bed
  • leash
  • collar with ID
  • crate
  • grooming tools, shampoo
  • toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Litter pan
  • Litter
    Survival Items:
  • 2 bowls, one for water, one for food
  • bottled water
  • food packaged to keep dry and mold-free
  • can opener
  • medications for normal concerns: heartworm, fleas, thyroid, hairball remedies, etc.
  • medications for emergencies: diarrhea, constipation, cuts
  • medication to boost immunity if there is an avian flu outbreak
  • calming medications
  • have at least a 1 month supply of your pet's medication on hand. Now may be the time to renew your prescriptions
  • written schedule of when medications are given and the diseases they treat
  • brief health history
  • veterinary contact information
  • addresses of boarding kennels or shelters that accept pets
  • catnip or toys
  • a great little book

For your cat’s bed, choose a lightweight, washable towel or crate pad. Use a bright leash and collar or harness that are easy to find. The collar should have your cat’s ID secured so it will not become dislodged. Pack grooming aids so you can brush your cat and prevent hairballs. During emergencies, it’s easy to forget how important grooming is, but you want to notice skin problems and treat them before they become infected.

A stressed cat may not feel like eating. Rather than forcing your cat to eat, entice it by providing dishes and food it is familiar with. Pay special attention to keeping cat kibble dry. Damp kibble can mold and make your cat sick with vomiting and diarrhea. Best to have it packaged in water-tight containers. Canned food is safe if it can be refrigerated once opened. Pack small cans so that less is wasted if there is no refrigeration and your cat doesn’t eat the entire amount. If your cat has bladder or urinary stones and is on a special diet, be sure to include a two-month supply of food so you are not caught without. You don’t want to have a cat blocked with crystals and unable to urinate when emergency clinics are hard to find.

Put effort into preparing medications. When the world is topsy turvy, finding your cat’s dose of medication may be out of the question. Begin with a list of everything your cat needs and the condition it is taken for. For example, if your cat takes lasix (furosemide), write down that it is for a cardiac condition. That way, if you need more medication and no lasix is readily at hand, a veterinarian with a list of your cat’s conditions may feel comfortable substituting a chlorothiazide diuretic without having your cat’s chart.

Include a supply of medications your cat uses only monthly in case there is no access to a veterinary clinic for some time. Your cat may need heartworm and flea protection even though you do not currently use these medications if you evacuate to another area of the country.

For first aid medications, include Fast Balance-GI to treat diarrhea, Traumeel to help with bruising or injury, and your favorite first aid cream, such as Animax. Include a wound cleaner, such as Nolvasan. If your cat is prone to allergies, pack Yucca Intensive. For calming, take Comfort Zone Feliway, which is available as a spray or atomizer. If your cat catches infections easily, pack an immune booster, such as Maitake-DMG.This will be especially useful if avian flu develops in the U.S. because cats are susceptible to this infection.

If you are caught somewhere without the medications your cat needs and have been purchasing from 1-800-PetMeds, they can access your cat’s record and help provide what you need anywhere in the U.S. Be sure not to give your cat a human or dog medication without checking with a veterinarian. Cats have unique body chemistry and need particular medications at particular doses.

Plan for a positive adventure by including something fun to do with your cat. Catnip toys, feathers, and crushed up brown paper bags make excellent toys. Pack at least one cat book that will make you laugh. There are several delightful book reviews in the News Section. Find one that you’ll look forward to reading and pack it away.

Gather your Adventure Kit into one large bag and attach a list of contents. Include the expiration dates of any medications. At the end of your local disaster season, remove prescription medications and use them before they become outdated. Have your prescriptions refilled and replace the medication with a fresh supply so that it will not be outdated if your cat needs it and you’re on an adventure. Many of the nonprescription medications will be safe and effective for several years and won’t need to be replaced as often as prescription medications.

Enjoy your preparations knowing you’re ready for all of life’s adventures. Your cat will appreciate everything you do to keep it safe and healthy.

The AVMA is another good source for disaster plan preparedness and they are offering a free, 500-page Disaster Planning Guide for Pet Owners.


The articles here were answered by a variety of pharmacists and veterinarians
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 First Aid:
  • Fast Balance-GI
  • Traumeel
  • Animax
  • Nolvasan
  • Comfort Zone Feliway
  • Yucca Intensive
    This information is for educational purposes only and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your veterinarian. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet.

    The information about medications is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, allergic reactions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for your pet. It is not a substitute for a veterinary exam, and it does not replace the need for services provided by your veterinarian.

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