catIn the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma’s pathes of destruction, it’s important to remember that humans are not the only victims of disasters. Cats, dogs, and other pets can get lost in the chaos of an emergency, too. Take a few minutes to create a disaster preparedness plan for your pets before an emergency happens.

Have stickers and proper identification

Your cat should be identifiable at all times in case they are ever separated from you. A tagged collar or microchip will help rescuers track you down as the owner. In case the unthinkable happens while you’re away from home, place stickers on your doors and windows to help emergency responders know that there are pets inside.

Make an emergency kit with pet supplies

Any emergency kit you assemble for yourself should also include supplies to tide kitty over for up to two weeks. This includes food and water, a can opener, litter and litter tray, cleaning supplies for messes, and medications, among other items. Your kit should also have a carrier in case you and kitty need to leave. Write your contact info down on the carrier. Acquaint your cat with the carrier before they need to use it. Keep in mind that you may need to run in a disaster, so any kits you prepare should be light enough that you can carry it on your back.

Establish a safe haven for you and your pet

When seeking out shelter for an emergency, find out if kitty is welcome too. While some shelters take pets, not all do. Contact your local emergency management office to verify if accommodations are offered for cats. If not, check the local animal shelter or boarding facility to see if they provide emergency pet housing. You can also research pet-friendly hotels or stay with family/friends who don’t mind having a furry guest.

Have an emergency contact

An emergency contact is someone who can care for your cat and serve as a trusted caregiver if you are suddenly unable to. Ideally, this person should have met your kitty and is familiar with looking after animals. They should always have a copy of your key — leaving a copy for them at your home is not enough. Talk with them beforehand to establish guidelines and expectations.

Emergency preparedness is all about being ready long before disaster strikes. The ASPCA even has an app so that you can have an emergency checklist and store your pet’s medical records in one place. Have a clear thought out plan, and of course, don’t forget to go over it in detail with your cat sitter.

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by kisluvkis on flickr