Have You Got An Emergency Plan For Your Cat?

Pondering on worst-case scenarios is no one's idea of a good time, but having an emergency plan in place for your cat if disaster does strike will help you, your family, and your beloved pet stay as safe as possible and deal with the emergency in a calm and organised manner. Think of your emergency plan like insurance, you hope that you don’t need it, but if you do need it you’re so glad you had it organised in advance!


In the event of bushfires or floods, having an emergency plan ready for your cat is going to make the whole process much easier on you and your pet. We have covered everything in this blog including important details to include in your cat’s emergency plan, what to do in the event of an emergency, and what to do if you have to leave your cat behind.


Having this knowledge already cemented in will help you to act quickly during an emergency and take all the necessary steps to keep the whole family safe.


Things To Consider Before An Emergency


Having this checklist sorted and managed at all times will help you enact your emergency plan swiftly and smoothly.


Make sure your cat is microchipped, has a collar, and identification tag: In the event that your cat is lost or runs away during a disaster, this will help to increase the chances of being reunited.


Keep their vaccinations up to date: It may be necessary for your cat to have an up to date vaccine record to be allowed into certain animal shelters or boarding facilities, in the event of an emergency.


Have several relocation plans: Depending on the type and location of the emergency, you may want to have multiple relocation plans in place for your family & pets. It is great if your cat can go to a family/friend's house if possible or a cat boarding facility if necessary.


You are allowed to take domestic pets to Tasmanian evacuation centres, as long as you can look after & secure them, although pets may not be allowed inside the actual community refuge.


Train your cat to go into their carrier: The last thing you want during an emergency is to be trying to coax your cat into their carrier with resistance. If you have already got this item ticked off the list before an emergency, your cat will gladly wander into their carrier ready to evacuate with you. If you would like to learn how, read our blog 9 Steps To Train Your Cat To Love Their Carrier & Car Travel.


Know your cat's favourite hiding spots: During an emergency event, your cat may retreat to its ‘safe space’ to seek shelter. However, leaving them there may not be a safe option at all. This is why knowing where your cat will most likely be hiding will save you time during an emergency event.


Include your cat in your family’s emergency plan: As with all emergency plans, it’s important to practice them so it’s second nature if disaster does strike. Including everyone in this practice run, as well as your cat/s, will help to make sure everyone feels comfortable and knows what’s required in order for the family to evacuate safely and calmly.


Preparing Your Cats Emergency Kit

So you’re not running around the house trying to get everything together during an emergency, having your emergency kit already prepared and good to go will save you time, stress, and help keep everyone safe. As well as having your own family emergency kit, we also recommend having an emergency kit prepared for your cat. Below are what we would recommend including in the kit.

  • Their vaccination certificate - helpful to have handy if they require temporary housing.

  • Carrier - include their name, sex, age, breed, medical information, and your contact details on the carrier in case you become separated.

  • Cat litter and tray (aluminium baking trays can be useful disposable trays).

  • Food & water bowls, as well as at least one week’s supply of food that doesn’t require refrigeration, has pull tabs, and your cat is familiar with.

  • Medications with clear instructions for usage.

  • Blankets & bedding.

  • Toys.

  • Brush/comb for long haired cats.

  • Photograph of your cat and a clear description of their sex, age, breed, features, and name. In the event that they are lost, you will have this ready to make a poster or post on Facebook.

  • Contact details of your vet, local shelter, pet friendly accommodation, family or friends who may be able to help accommodate your cat if required.


If Disaster Strikes


In the event of an emergency, it’s important to remain calm and follow your emergency plan. Having all of the above ticked off before an emergency is what helps to ensure a smooth process.


If you’re aware that an evacuation order may be taking place soon, consider moving your cat to a safe location beforehand. Whether this is a boarding facility, shelter, or family/friends, this will mean you have one less thing to worry about once you do need to evacuate. Being away from your cat for a few days might be hard, but knowing they are safe means you can act on your emergency plan more efficiently, will be much better and could potentially save their life!


If they aren’t already an inside cat, lock them inside as soon as you’re aware of a potential emergency. Stressful situations can often cause cats to retreat to their own safe space. It will be much easier to locate your cat in their safe space inside than it will be outside. Plus, if disaster strikes earlier than expected, they are safe inside with you.


It’s best to call ahead to your cat’s accommodation if you’re aware of an imminent evacuation. This way you can ensure they aren’t under the same threat as you & your home, they have the space to accommodate your cat, and they can be prepared for your arrival, making the process as smooth as possible.


When the time comes, place your cat in their carrier and the emergency kit inside your car and calmly evacuate. It’s important that you do not leave your cat alone in a hot car at any time.


If You Have To Leave Your Cat Behind

Unfortunately, there are some circumstances that may arise that will require you to leave your cat behind. Whether you can’t locate them, they are resisting their carrier or your car, or you have nowhere safe to take them.


As worrisome as this may be at the time, it’s important to remind yourself and the family to remain calm and ensure that everyone who is able to evacuate, does so. There’s a chance your cat may be completely fine left in your house when you evacuate. However, there are some steps you can take to increase your cat’s safety once you evacuate the house.

  1. Provide at least one week’s worth of food & water for each pet. Having automated machines prepared in advance that dispense dry food once/day may help to prevent your cat from gorging all their food at once.

  2. Leave a note on your front door for emergency personnel to advise which pets are inside.

  3. In the event of a flood, remember to place their food & water as high as possible, either the second story of your home or on a bench/table, as well as unplugging all electronic devices.

Natural disasters and emergency evacuations can be a stressful and scary time for everyone involved, but having an emergency plan in place will help keep everyone as safe as possible.


We recommend going over this blog several times and refresh yourself with it at least every 6 months. If you’re wondering when would be a good time to put your cat’s emergency kit together, we would say now. You never know when disaster may strike, and being prepared is the absolute key!


We hope that you have found the tips and instructions above helpful for you, your family, and your pets. To ensure we can keep as many household cats safe as possible, help us spread the word by sharing this blog on social media or directly with friends & family who own cats. The more Tasmanians we can prepare in the event of an emergency, the more cats we can keep safe if disaster does strike.


For more tips on keeping your cat happy at home, plenty of cute cat pics, and more advice for responsible cat ownership, follow us on Facebook & Instagram.


TassieCat is a state-wide initiative to promote and facilitate responsible cat ownership and management in Tasmania. The project is supported by Cradle Coast Authority NRM, Kingborough Council, and NRM North through funding from the Tasmanian Government.

© Tasmanian Cat Management Project 2021