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Caring for pets if 'the big one' hits

Caring for pets if 'the big one' hits



Posted on March 3, 2010 at 9:31 AM

With the news of yet another massive earthquake in the world, I started to think about my two cats and how I should prepare, should "the big one" hit us.
Rhonda Manville with the Seattle Humane Society says the most important thing to do is to prepare an emergency pet care kit.
This should include:
• Food, water and medications to last a minimum of three days, longer if possible.
• Leash and pet carrier, your pet’s veterinary records
• Cat litter and litter box
• Current identification and vaccination tags – consider having a permanent microchip implanted in your pet
• Veterinary records and other important papers, such as feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavior issues in a water tight container
• Pet first aid kit
• Pet carriers, harnesses, leashes, etc.
• A favorite blanket/towel, pet beds, and toys

For housing purposes, the Seattle Animal Shelter recommends that your cat carriers be large enough to hold a small litter pan and two small dishes and still allow your cat enough room to lie down comfortably or stand to use the litter pan. Dog kennels or collapsible cages should be large enough to hold two non-spill bowls and still allow enough room for your dog to stand and turn around. For added assurance, clearly label each carrier with your identification and contact information.

Rhonda said the number one thing NOT to do is to leave your pets behind in an evacuation.

"In advance, prepare a list of pet-friendly places to stay, hotels or the homes of friends and family, and bring your pets with you," she said.

And if you don't evacuate, bring pets indoors and keep them in a safe room.


o Pet carrier or cage for each pet
o Food/water with non-spill bowls
o Manual can opener
o Medication and dosing
o Pet first-aid kit
o Vaccination, medical records, and current photo
o You veterinarian’s information
o Cat litter box and litter
o Newspaper
o Plastic bags for waste disposal
o Paper towels
o Disinfectant
o Leash and collar/harness
o Blankets
o Toys and treats

Pet First Aid Kit
o Large and small bandages
o Scissors
o Tweezers
o Q-Tips
o Antibiotic Ointment
o Hydrogen Peroxide
o Elastic tape
o Eye wash (saline)
o Ear cleaning solutions

After a disaster:
• Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Pets get stressed just as people do and may need to readjust.
• Reintroduce food in small servings, gradually working up to full portions if animals have been without food for a prolonged period of time.
• Allow uninterrupted rest/sleep for all animals to recover from the trauma and stress.
• Familiar scents and landmarks may have changed, and this can confuse your animals. Release cats, dogs, and other small animals indoors only. They could encounter dangerous wildlife and debris if they are allowed outside unsupervised and unrestrained.
• If you have outdoor pets, you should consider bringing them inside after an earthquake. Keep them inside until the threat of aftershock has disappeared and your pet has had time to calm down. Remember, pets are not allowed in shelters. If you must evacuate for a short time, leave your pet in a secure place with ample water and food. If possible, return daily to check on your pet until you can return to your home permanently.
• Listen to the radio for information where shelters will be set up and ready to open in your area. This may take three or more days depending on the extent of the damage. That is why it is so important to be ready to take care of yourself, your family and your neighbors for a minimum of three days.
• Physically check animal control and animal shelters DAILY for lost animals.
• Post lost animal notices and notify local veterinarians and your neighbors of any lost animals (visit for lost and found).