Cats will feel panic and fear during a hurricane. Texas is on the brink of encountering Hurricane Harvey. It may be the worst storm to hit the US mainland in about 12 years.
PETA have provided some guidelines for your plan to protect your cat and to assist others when necessary.
- Cats can get lost in hurricanes. They should all be microchipped well in advance. It’s amazing how often microchips can help reunite lost cats with owners. You can put secure legible ID tags on your cat as an extra precaution.
- Apparently, some motels and hotels accept small animals in an emergency. I presume this advice is based on the fact that these buildings are more secure than a house and/or they may be outside of the predicted path of the hurricane. Cat should be transported to them in secure carriers. Enough water and food for a week should be taken together with a blanket and favourite toy. I would add some personal items of clothing containing the owner’s scent.
- Don’t leave your cat behind if you are forced to evacuate your home. I think this advice is commonsense but I suspect that some owners evacuate in a panic and under very difficult conditions. Their cat may be in hiding and missing. I can remember reading many articles about cat owners coming back to a scene of devastation to try and find their cat. Sometimes they are reunited but often not. They did not take their cat with them. Common sense also dictates that you should not leave your cat unsupervised in a car because high temperatures can kill.
- If the decision is not to evacuate, your cat(s) should be kept indoors at all times during a hurricane. This I think is commonsense as well.
To an outsider (i.e. someone not living in America) the severe weather conditions encountered when hurricanes hit the mainland presents problems that are hardly ever encountered in Europe and the UK. I’m sure many Americans have well thought through plans to protect both themselves and their cat companions under these very difficult conditions.