June 1 is the official beginning of hurricane season, and that means it’s time to make sure both humans and cats are prepared. We created a printable version of our cat hurricane kit checklist to help you assemble your own emergency kit so you don’t forget anything at the last minute.
When you are gathering food supplies for the upcoming storm season, don’t forget your cats. Gather two week’s supply of food for your cats, whether it’s kibble or canned food. Canned food is great because it contains moisture already, and hurricanes can leave you without power and air conditioning, making hydration even more important.
Some moist food comes packaged in pouches instead of cans. These are great for your cat hurricane kit because they don’t weigh as much, and when you need to carry a lot of them, the weight of the cans themselves can start to add up!
If your cat’s moist food doesn’t come in pouches, don’t forget a way to open and serve your canned food. A can opener and spoon can save you a lot of frustration.
For cats who usually eat a raw diet, you have the option to continue feeding raw during emergencies with freeze-dried raw food that you reconstitute with water. Keep in mind that most freeze-dried raw food suggests using warm water, something that isn’t readily available from the tap or microwave oven if the power is unavailable. Also, make sure you include extra water in your supply for your cat if you plan to reconstitute freeze-dried raw food so your cat has a fresh supply to drink, too.
It’s a good idea to write down feeding instructions for your cat and keep them in your cat hurricane kit. These are useful if you have to board your cat during an evacuation.
Something your cats can’t do without is a place to take care of litter box business. Including disposable litter pans and litter in your emergency kit ensure you are prepared in case you have to evacuate to a location where neither is handy.
You can buy disposable litter trays at most pet supply stores. Another option is a roasting pan like you would use for cooking a turkey. These can often be found on clearance sale after the holidays, so that’s a good chance to stock up for cat hurricane kit.
Don’t forget to include basics for cleanup. Plastic garbage bags for disposal are a minimum requirement, since it’s unlikely you will find a large enough bag handy in a motel or other evacuation location. If you can include a small broom and dustpan set in your kit, that will help you clean up the cat litter that tends to track beyond the box.
Having enough carriers for each of your cats is important in case of evacuation. Include identification on the carrier that includes a way to contact you when you aren’t at home, like your mobile phone.
That same number should be on the ID attached to your cat’s collar. If your cat doesn’t regularly wear a collar, you may still want to include one in your emergency kit for an extra measure of security in case your cat slips away from you during an emergency. If your cat uses a harness and leash, include one of those in your emergency kit, too.
You probably have a flashlight in the hurricane kit you prepared for humans, but it’s a good idea to have one for your cat, too. A small flashlight can clip onto your cat’s carrier and help you check on her during an evacuation or be used to give her some light if she has to eat in a dark location during an electrical outage.
Keep a two week supply of your cat’s medications on hand in your emergency kit so you can evacuate with them, if necessary. You will need to rotate these every couple months for freshness, so go ahead and set a calendar reminder in your phone now so you don’t forget.
Speaking of forgetting, if your cat uses insulin or another medication that has to be refrigerated, make a note to yourself and attach it to your cat hurricane kit. If you have to evacuate, you will be in a hurry and under a lot of stress, so it’s easy to forget things you can’t store with the rest of your supplies.
If your cat uses flea and tick preventative, include a month’s worth of that in your kit, too.
Take time now to write out a list of medication instructions. These are useful if your cat must be boarded during an evacuation.
Bring a written description of your cat as well as a recent photo. A photo that includes both you and your cat is a good idea, too, since it is a quick way to show someone this really is your cat. Printed copies are great, but you can also keep these on your phone.
Another thing that often helps you show ownership of a cat is your cat’s microchip. If your cat is microchipped, be sure to include a record of the chip number as well as the company where you registered the chip so you can call them if your cat is misplaced during an emergency.
Take time before an emergency to get copies of vital vet records, especially your cat’s rabies certificate and recent vaccination records. Without proof of vaccinations, your cat may not be allowed into a hurricane shelter or boarding facility.
If your cat has a health condition, include more records and even a written prescription for any medications in your cat hurricane kit so an unfamiliar veterinarian can get up to speed quickly on your cat’s condition if you need to make an unexpected visit.
Cats are creatures of routine, and having to leave home for an evacuation is disruptive and frightening to the most mellow house cat. Make sure you include some of your cat’s favorite toys in your hurricane kit, even if you think they may not play with them when they’re stressed out.
If you have to evacuate, bring along a blanket or other comfort item that smells like home. That can be like a small spot of comfort in a big, unfamiliar world for a cat suddenly in a new place. This is something you probably can’t include in your hurricane kit, so add it to your list of “don’t forget” items the way you would refrigerated medications.
Your Cat Hurricane Kit
Download a printable version of our cat hurricane kit checklist and customize it as needed.
You can gather your cat hurricane kit into a piece of luggage, a bag, or a plastic bin. Either way, keep it handy, and hopefully you won’t need to use it this hurricane season.