As I follow cat news fairly assiduously I know how many fires occur in the USA and elsewhere which end up killing cats. The cat owners almost invariably escape the burning home but the cats don’t. When push to come shove – and I totally understand why – the cats are left behind in the panic. We are all familiar with pictures and videos of firefighters saving the lives of cats with respirators after they have been pulled from burning homes.
Over the past few years there has been increasing discussion about applying mandatory regulations regarding multiple cat ownership. I am not necessarily in favour of increased regulations. However, for people who engage in cat rescue and fostering and who use their homes as rescue facilities (and I am a great fan of these people) there is a pressing responsibility to install good fire alarms (smoke detectors).
These homes are places of multiple occupancy. Yes, it is “just cats” but where there are up 20 cats in a home the responsibilities to protect against fire are higher.
There is an argument that home based cat rescuers or owners of many cats should be obliged under local regulations to install fire alarms. Just recently 37 cats died in a fire in Knoxville. The couple, Connie Brock and husband, had 40 cats on their property and all but 37 perished in a house fire. It happened at night.
I would doubt that they had functioning fire alarms installed. People with more than say ten cats in their home should:
- have proper systems in place to prevent fire which might include fire extinguishers and preventative measures such as materials which burn very slowly (retardants, provided they are safe for pets).
- fire alarms
- a procedure for getting themselves and their cats out of the home fast in the event of a fire. It could be quite complicated getting 40 cats out of a burning home. You’ll need a well rehearsed procedure. But I don’t think that it is that difficult to figure one out and the local fire service would be very happy to assist.
I’d like to see less stories about cats asphyxiated and burned to death in burning homes. The thought of what the Knoxville cats went through is horrible to contemplate. Concerned cat lovers don’t need it and neither do cats.