When disaster strikes, having a safety plan is important but preparation and quick thinking is often needed to ensure the safety of your pets . Cats will often panic in stressful situations and that, combined with their natural ability to find amazing hiding spaces that are unknown and seemingly inaccessible to humans, can be deadly in an emergency. For me it only took one hard-hitting superstorm to bring all of this to reality.
Hurricane warnings and evacuation notices spark little fear when you live in a flood zone. Most listen to the warnings, fill their car with gas, buy bread and milk, maybe get out a flashlight and some candles, then settle in to ride out the storm. “Expect the worst and hope for the best” is my motto and since these types of warnings come at least once a year little effort is put forth to prepare with anything else but the basics. For the cats? Besides adequate food and bottled water there is one important piece of equipment every cat parent needs to have: A carrier – one for each cat.
October 29, 2012. Reports of a superstorm heading up the coast brought concern though little fear as previous hurricanes failed to produce any significant wind or flood. But when Sandy hit the flood waters came quick and fierce. With the electricity the first to go everything was dark and, when the flood waters began reaching dangerous levels, the pets were a huge concern. Luckily, their carriers were accessible and I was able to put them in their cozy secure space, safe by my side, high out of reach of the rising tide. Here they slept soundly and I could breathe easily knowing that when it was time to evacuate, they would be right there, ready to come along to safety.
Unfortunately, many pets were not that lucky. In the aftermath of the storm the neighborhood was littered with posting of lost and found pets that had hid or run in fear. Tragic stories, like those of cats hiding and then becoming trapped as the waters engulfed the area, were heard too often. Hearing these stories made me thankful that my cats survived unscathed and that I owed a lot to a simple item, the cat carrier.
From this experience I have learned that having the means to keep your cats feeling safe and secure is an important first step to ensure their safety. My ability to locate the carrier, even in the dark, hectic conditions was essential to the positive outcome to this potentially tragic situation. I will no loner view the carrier as an occasional use item but more as an important piece of safety equipment.