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Pets and Emergencies

Many of us live in areas where there are earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes. I live in an earthquake/flood/lahar zone. Sometime we may be forced to evacuate to a safer place. If you have a cat like I do, and need to grab them quickly to take them to a safe place or shelter, they usually have a mind of their own. Most times they won't come when called (especially if they are afraid). Recently I was on a website that has ideas for dealing with pets in an emergency. Here are 3 that I found especially useful for dogs and cats:


  1. Every time you feed your pet make a special noise or whistle. This way he will remember that "special noise" and know he's going to receive food. If you need to grab your pet in a hurry to remove them from danger, you simply make that same noise and he will come running and you can take him to a safe place, away from danger! (Also: Remember, the electric can opener will not work if there's no electricity, so if your pets come running when they hear it, use another sound!)
  2. All of us should have a pet carrier. Many pets think they are going to the vet when they see us get out the pet carrier, this can really scare them! To re-condition their minds to think "happy thoughts" when they see the pet carrier, do this: When you feed them, make the "special noise" (from above), then put their bowl of food in the pet carrier and walk away (so they won't think you are going to shut the door on them). If you feed your pet in the pet carrier daily, they will begin to feel good about the carrier and it will make it easy to get your pet into their carrier in an emergency with minimal trouble!
  3. Every pet should have his or her own pet carrier. If you have cats that usually get along well with each other, you might be able to get by with buying only one medium-large size carrier, but remember, we never know what they will do in an emergency. It's best to have a carrier for each animal we have in our family. They always say to get a carrier that's just big enough for the animal to "turn around in". But after reading up a bit on pets in emergencies, I found that it's important for cat's have a carrier that is big enough to also fit a cat-box in it.

We saw what happened to pets during "Katrina", so don't wait until it happens! Read up now so you'll know what to do before it happens! The top URL is the best. It has information not only about what to do afterward, but also, what pets do to warn us before an earthquake.


If you leave for a shelter and can't find your pet, be sure to leave lots of water for it and post an emergency phone number on your front door, in case someone finds your pet and check back at home daily if possible.

Remember, in a fire, just GET OUT, and get your family out. Leave a door open for your pets to escape. They will know what to do. Be sure to post a sicker on your door or window so the fire department will know you have pets and how many. These are available at most fire departments.

Here are several Great URL's for dealing with animals in emergencies:



    If you have any stories or tips that could help us animal lovers know what to do in emergency situations, please post them here!

    Cyinda from near Seattle

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March 21, 20070 found this helpful

Great tips! From personal experience, make sure you use a food bowl the pet can't break. Also, after the Hurricane Katrina disaster, I started getting ID chips put in all my cats.


Thanks for the links, I will definitely check them out. We live across the river from an earthquake fault, and are also in hurricane & tornado country.

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April 11, 20110 found this helpful

Thank you for sharing these tips Cyinda! These are the best ideas I've ever heard.

Here's another, for fires, that I thought of: Have regular "fire drills" by briefly pressing the smoke alarm button (what an awful sound) and then calling your pets in the tone of voice you normally would use when calling them for treats. Then rush to their carriers and leave special treats inside. Hopefully they eventually associate that awful smoke-alarm noise with treats (even though in an actual fire, the alarm would continuously be going off).

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