Tuesday, May 15, 2012

• Animal Disaster Preparedness

My hamster's regular & traveling cages
On August 23, 2011, as I worked on my computer at home, I felt my high rise sway. I heard what I thought was wind rushing by my windows. Then, as if the building had two feet, one "foot" stepped down an inch. Thunk. Terrified, I packed my computer and my hamster, Maggie.

California people can start laughing now, because it was "just" an earthquake, and only 5.8, at that. Centered in Mineral, Virginia, it was more than 85 miles from my home. But my terror was real.

Luckily, it was easy to evacuate Maggie. I keep a traveling hamster cage filled with bedding and seeds on a shelf beneath his main cage (yes, Maggie's a boy). I grabbed a piece of watermelon from the fridge to keep him hydrated and a small bowl for water, in case we were gone more than a few hours. The traveling cage worked for a short evacuation, but I hadn't prepared an evacuation kit in case we need to be away overnight.

All pets owners (including me!) should have an evacuation plan and evacuation kit. The goal is to keep your pet safe in a disaster. You think it won't happen to your family. You think you'll have time to prepare. But you don't know.

After the earthquake with friends
Information in the links below overlaps; some sites are exhaustive, some are basic. Use what suits your style or pet.

•  Use the Pet ID Form to record information on each of your pets; add microchip number.
• The Emergency Planning Guide for Pet Owners is a 19-page all-inclusive guide that addresses all scenarios.
Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies covers crucial steps for preparation.
Red Cross Dog: Disaster Preparedness explains how to keep pets, horses, and livestock safe in natural disasters.
• Making Sure Your Dog is Evacuated if You're Not Home

If you hire a pet sitter, make sure he or she has a copy of your evacuation plan and knows the location of your emergency kit.


  1. I have a supply of pet food in my cyclone kit... every year it crosses my mind during cyclone season that I am so concerned with making sure that the cats and dog are taken care of that I'll forget my own tins of food and end up having to eat dog biscuits!

    H and Flo
    BTW, I have a cat called Fergus... she's a girl. :)