BETHESDA, Md.—As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida and the Southeastern United States, Alley Cat Allies, the international advocacy organization dedicated to protecting cats, has assembled a set of Disaster Preparation Tips for community cat caregivers, pet owners, and others involved with animals. These tips will help community cat caregivers and pet owners in the path of Irma weather the storm and keep their cats safe. Among the tips:
- Make sure to have descriptions of your pets and the community cats (sometimes called feral cats) you care for, along with photos. If you need to look for displaced cats in shelters or other rescue areas, this will help accurately identify them. Make sure all pet tags and animal microchips have up-to-date information.
- Enlist a back-up caregiver who is responsible for the community cats in your absence, and network with other community cat caregivers in your area to set up a ‘buddy system.’ This will create a safety net of care for the cats. You may be able to find other cat caregivers in your area through our Feral Friends Network.
- Create an emergency contact card for your pets and community cat colonies in case you are not immediately available. Include all contact information for your substitute caregiver. Carry this card in your wallet and your car, give copies to your backup caregiver, and post it somewhere visible in your home like on the refrigerator.
- Make a list of local shelters and their contact information. You will need this information in case you need their help or resources.
- Keep an emergency supply kit on hand and know where to find it quickly. Disaster kit basics for pets include a pet first-aid kit, a supply of prescription medications for pets, veterinary and microchip ID records, three to seven days of pet food and dishes, a seven-day supply of bottled water per person and per pet, a litter box and litter, a leash and collar, crate or carrier, blankets, and photos of pets and cats in colonies.
It’s not possible to bring community cats with you when evacuating from disasters, so they need their own special disaster plan. Read our Disaster Proofing a Community Cat Colony resource for guidance.
Finally, you can always reach out to Feral Friends Network members in your area for help in preparing community cats for a disaster or finding them after the danger has passed.
With an active Atlantic hurricane season now under way, it’s important to have a disaster readiness plan in place.
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About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the global engine of change for cats. We protect and improve cats’ lives through our innovative, cutting-edge programs. We are seen around the world as a champion for the humane treatment of all cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 650,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. Its website is www.alleycat.org, and Alley Cat Allies is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.