“Herding cats” (the expression for an unruly task) is about the only stressful thing you want to worry about in an evacuation. Having an emergency kit already prepared for you and your cats is a lifeline that will give you peace of mind if disaster strikes.
It’s October 17, the day I annually check my emergency supplies. I chose a day that I would remember: we had a big earthquake in my home town several years back on this day. I was too young to think of owning a home (and what losing it might mean), but I did have my childhood cat and I thought about what it would mean to lose him.
Thankfully, we didn’t lose him or the family home, but it is a day I’ll never forget. So, today is a very easy date for me to remember each year to check for expired water and dehydrated foods in my survival kit backpacks.
Here’s an infographic checklist of cat survival basics:
More on each of the above:
- Air-dried raw cat food: My cats readily eat Ziwipeak dehydrated lamb cat food, so replenishing one bag of this regularly in my stash is easy: they eat up the old bag pre-expiration. This food packs a punch: there are a lot of nutrients in a small amount. Read the recommended servings and keep a minimum of three days of food on hand for each cat.
- Water: I have enough water to fill their normal water bowl for three days, plus extra water to add to the dried food.
- Feeding dishes: I’ve purchased camping gear for dogs! Tiny popup bowls that lay flat in my kit til popped open.
- Plastic spoon: need to stir up their meals.
- Litter and box: if you have cats use the great outdoors as their main litterbox, how can they continue to do this? Would you let them head out of your car or shelter to do their business? For both indoor and outdoor cats, I strongly recommend packing a litterbox (look for the biodegradable type, i.e. pressed cardboard, that you can easily dispose of) plus one small bag of litter and a clean, unused scooper.
- Carriers: I have three of the same carriers, different colors, that are not only airline-approved (i.e. they’re acceptable in the cabin under a seat), but they are also easy to wear as a backpack, roll as a roller, or carry over my shoulder. This way, I figure I can handle all three on my own, if I’m left to do so.
- Towel: folded up or spread out, they can share as a mat for sleeping. They might also just use some of my dirty laundry for that (assuming I’m not wearing it all), but a large towel they know and love is packed for their comfort or cleanup as needed.
- Paper towels: one roll.
- Harness and leash: one for each cat. Harnesses are certainly not their favorite thing in the world. So, long before experiencing any emergency, leave these near where they sleep to help them understand that harnesses are harmless and familiar objects. And, after they’ve gotten used to them, adjust the fit and try them out in times of non-emergency to boost your success rate of using them in a time of crisis.
- Toys: ridiculous. I know they won’t be playing, but every time I think I “know” something about them, they teach me something else. Toys are small, I have a few soft toys, a few balls and some string just for them to have some fun, should this be possible.
That’s a great base. They might have far more luxuries at home, as might we all, but this would work until we all found our way back to more creature comforts.
About the author:
Anne: Her passions are art, words, travel, the environment and animals. In addition to her human family, she shares her home with three domestic cats (though sometimes she wonders if they’re not just a bit wild). Since cats are so scrumptious, hers are always named after Italian foods: Panino 15 years old, Nutella 8 years old, and Trofia 1 year old. Anne created Radlilcat to share projects and a passion for felines. She would love to pass along her love of animals to children with her new children’s picture book, Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil.