Update–August 28, 2017: Some Hurricane Shelters Allow Pets

Pets are now allowed at Houston evacuee shelters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, thanks to a decision made by the city’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett Sunday night.

Alley Cat Allies applauds this decision as we continue to work with Feral Friends and our network, providing resources and grants to assist them in saving cats’ lives. Donate to help support our efforts in Texas.

Texas officials announced that pets are allowed in certain shelters to persuade people to evacuate in areas hardest hit by the hurricane. According to a local ABC TV station, here’s a list of emergency shelters in Houston and the surrounding areas, including those that allow pets.

In addition, Gallery Furniture, at its I-45 North location (6006 North Freeway, Houston), is welcoming people who need shelter and has put out a call for kennels so it can accommodate pets.

In Dallas, city officials are preparing for tens of thousands of evacuees and their pets. The city is setting up shelters for displaced Houston-area residents, including one in the convention center.

As FEMA estimates that devastating flooding may force as many as 30,000 people into shelters, it’s best to check with a shelter beforehand, if possible, to make certain that animals are permitted. The official stance of the Red Cross is not to take in pets at their emergency shelters.

Update–August 27, 2017:

As Hurricane Harvey continues to spread havoc, Alley Cat Allies strives to aid Texas residents and their animals. We want to keep affected citizens informed of the current situation and how they can best keep themselves and their pets safe.

Those affected by Harvey need to know: The American Red Cross DOES NOT allow cats or other pets in its emergency shelters. It instead asks citizens to create their own plans ahead of time to house and care for pets and livestock. That means evacuees with pets cannot rely on Red Cross shelters for assistance. Learn more on its website.

Alley Cat Allies stands ready to help. Right now, we are providing resources to support organizations in Texas that will help save cats’ lives. We’re also compiling resources to help Harvey evacuees find pet-friendly accommodations to ride out the storm.

Keep watching for updates and donate to support us as we help Texas organizations mobilize to protect cats and all animals: www.alleycat.org/Donate.

Original Post–August 24, 2017:

As Hurricane Harvey is projected to hit Texas on Friday, threatening residents near the Gulf Coast, Alley Cat Allies has put together a “disaster preparation” package for community cat caregivers, pet owners, and others involved with animals.

Harvey is expected to become a dangerous Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes landfall in Texas on late Friday, August 25. Residents near the Texas Gulf Coast, from north of Port Mansfield to Matagorda, including Corpus Christi, may feel its impact most. Heavy rain and hurricane-force winds are expected in portions of the state, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Alley Cat Allies’ Disaster Preparation Tips will help Texas community cat caregivers and pet owners weather the storm and keep their cats safe. Among the tips:

  • Make sure to have descriptions of your pets and the community 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.

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 the official Atlantic hurricane season now underway, it’s important to have a disaster readiness plan in place.  Alley Cat Allies hopes for the safety of all Texas residents and animals who may be affected by Hurricane Harvey.