Family with three cats reports from Florida during Hurricane Irma

Anticipating Hurricane Irma’s Arrival: A nerve-wracking experience

Jo and Hubble
Jo and Hubble. Photo: Erin Holder, DVM
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Waiting to be deluged with either a CATegory 3 or 4 hurricane is not what I consider to be an exciting adventure. Over the past few days we have been gearing up and bracing for this monster storm named Irma. She is full of wrath and fury and is wreaking havoc wherever she pleases.

I don’t know if the anxiety that I am feeling knowing that this hurricane’s destructive winds along with the high probability of the tornedos that may accompany Irma will soon be upon us, or if it just the waiting … the endless waiting for them to actually strike us with a one-two-punch blow.

Initially we considered evacuating but after thinking it through leaving seemed totally unrealistic. Since we don’t live in a flood zone and we live in a sturdy brick house, we were advised to simply hunker down.

Our two 2 year-old kitties, Mr. Edgar Allen Poe, and Master Aki-Pataki-Baracki, would probably be able to adjust fairly well to being in a shelter if necessary, confined safely in our big dog cage. But our almost 17 year old sick cat, Sir Hubble Pinkerton who is dealing with stage 4 kidney disease and chronic pancreatitis would certainly have a much harder time settling in to a very new, confusing environment. With the strange noises and all the strangers walking around the shelter with their pets would have been extremely stressful for him. And since he requires daily SubQ fluids along with critical medications administered at a precise time; we thought it best to stay put.

We moved all the furniture off the pool deck, brought in anything we could find outside the house and stored them in the garage in preparation for Irma. We stocked up on water and the food we will need for several days. We will most assuredly lose power for many days or even weeks so we gathered all the flashlights and battery operated televisions we could find and now we are counting down the hours until this nasty, violent storm descends on us. I am quite concerned that our cats will pick up on our anxiety. They already seem more quiet than usual. Since cats are very sensitive to changes in barometric pressure, I am getting the feeling that they are onto that something very unusual is about to happen.

Living in Florida carries the risk of major hurricanes. We have been through several of them with great success but this particular storm is extremely different from the rest. We have been extremely lucky for the past several years- almost ten in fact- that we have been spared by Mother Nature. Last fall we did have a windy, wet visitor named Matthew that plowed over our house but he was kind and did no damage to our home. We were, however, without power for about 4 days due to a downed tree in our neighborhood that destroyed the transmission lines on our street. Our little generator got us through the worst of it.

To make sure our beloved cats are comfortable and safe as possible under these terrorizing conditions I set up a large cage lined with newspapers and towels and comfort items for them. This is definitely a priority to help them through this stressful and dangerous storm. The cage will be a more secure place for the kitties when the hurricane-force winds are directly on top of us. I stored cat food in a central location, and Sir Hubble’s medications within easy reach so I can access them more easily once the power is out.

As I write this it is raining lightly, but there is a strange, unsettling semi-darkness surrounding us. Every once in a while there is a strong, menacing breeze causing the tops of the trees to dance and sway. And just as suddenly, everything goes quiet and deadly still. This stillness is just heightening my anxiety and apprehension about what lies ahead. Now it is time to hydrate Sir Hubble Pinkerton and feed the cats. I am however greatly relieved that Sir Hubble ate his breakfast this morning with relish. I will write more later if the power remains on, and I am praying it will.

In the Hurricane

I am writing this on my smartphone as the power is down and I am relying on batteries. I am unable to use my computer. Please forgive the smartphone writing style.

The storm hit us at 3:30 AM. It is bad now high winds. I only have one charge left on my phone and one external charge that lasts 3 hours. We have some major damage outside the house that I can only see in my office. Pool screen ripped in one place and winds are very strong.

Gave Hubble his morning Meds basically in the dark using a flashlight. Big branches strewn all over the property and praying the big tree in the back that is dancing and bending does not fall on the house.

The wind sounds like a freight train but not raining now. The cats are somewhat freaked out and so are we. Some house on the next block seems to have power or a generator. It is weird because every other house is dark on our block. Marty and and the three cats huddled together all of us scared to death by weather reports. Power went out at 12:15 this morning and God knows when it will be restored. Wind gusts over 65mph then deadly still.

If our generator works and we get power to our wireless I will write more. It’s going to be interesting on how to feed the cats in the dark. Hubble takes a long time to feed. Hoping the freight train noises won’t prevent them from eating.


3 thoughts on “Family with three cats reports from Florida during Hurricane Irma”

  1. I don’t know you all but you are in my thoughts and may prayers. Stay together, stay safe! And may I just say I LOVE your cats’ names. Absolutely, breathtakingly fantastic!


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