Pets and Disasters – Do you have a plan if a disaster happens in your community?

An astounding number of disasters, some natural and some man made, have occurred recently around the globe. Earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards and other snow events, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, gas leaks leading to home and neighborhood explosions, radiation exposures, warfare, etc. You name it – it has happened.

These disasters have arisen suddenly, and have affected areas not usually accustomed to anticipating danger.

Other smaller scale and more personal disasters have happened much more frequently, yet get less notice – house fires, domestic violence, home foreclosures and evictions, etc.

Whether it is a community disaster or a more personal and individualized one, disasters affect our pets as much as they do ourselves. Why should we care?

Obviously, in a disaster, human safety is paramount and the first priority of our safety forces. But our animals bring great value to our lives when things are going well. It stands to reason that their welfare would be a priority for us in a disaster too. We want those who bring us comfort and are a part of our daily lives to be safe every bit as much as we want ourselves to be safe.

Stories such as this one about a woman who risked her own safety to save her pets from fire are not uncommon.

Whether or not you think it makes sense, there are people who consider their pets family members and will risk their lives to rescue them from danger. I am one of them. We need to recognize that and consider pet safety as a part of community disaster planning.

But we aren’t there yet. Pet owners need to think ahead and do some disaster preparedness in advance to minimize the risks if a dangerous situation does happen.

Do you have a disaster plan for your family and pets?

I confess that I do not. I do, however, lose sleep sometimes, wondering how I would save all 5 of my cats if something bad were to happen.

The ASPCA has some great disaster preparedness suggestions. I am in the process of implementing some of them. I hope you will check them out and do the same.

What ideas and concerns do you have about caring for your pets in a disaster? Do you have suggestions for how to herd 5 cats in the event of a dangerous event requiring evacuation? What would you do for your pet if you needed to evacuate? I am interested in hearing your thoughts. Please leave comments.



3 thoughts on “Pets and Disasters – Do you have a plan if a disaster happens in your community?”

  1. I would suggest a large pet carrier to put all yr 5 cats in possibly kept in the hallway or somewhere near an exit or arrange to get them out of the house quickly in a way that you know would work with your animals, such as making a very loud noise with something – if it would work, you could try it out one time to see what happens?

    1. That sounds like a good plan. I also have heard to keep pillow cases to stuff each cat in. Sounds harsh, but better than risking each one slipping back into danger.

  2. This extremely important and should part of any family’s plan. Also needed in the plan is how to deal with the personal disasters that may leave you out of your home for a day or longer. Consider developing a good relationship with a local kennel or boarding house that will work with you in crisis situation to make sure your pet is cared for as well. A good way to develop that relationship is to also use the same establishment for occassional or regular grooming or doggie daycare services.

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