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November 8, 2012

Hurricanes and Other Natural Disasters: How to Care for Outdoor Cats

What to do before and after the storm hits

  • Cats who live outdoors are especially vulnerable when storms hit, but you can help them stay safe. New Rochelle Humane Society

If you're a caretaker for free-roaming cats, the approach of a storm brings on concerns about not only the safety of your family, pets, and yourself but also the cats in your care who must survive the storm outside.

Bringing them inside to keep them dry, warm, and out of the elements would be ideal. But since that simply isn't possible, The Humane Society of the United States offers these suggestions for caretakers who are trying to keep feral and free-roaming cats safe and secure before and after the storm.

 

Before the storm: Batten down the hatches

  • Put out extra food and water in a safe and elevated place.
  • Insert mylar blankets inside shelters for waterproof warmth.
  • Elevate shelters on top of wood or move them to higher ground.
  • If shelters are light, tie to secure stakes.
  • Put heavy tarps over shelters—at an angle facing away from openings—to keep out rain.
  • Allow cats access to a nearby shed or garage and place shelters inside (perhaps with litter boxes, food, and water).
  • Keep an emergency kit with you when caring for the cats.
  • Have an accurate description of each cat in case any become lost.

After the storm: Clean up and get back to normal

  • Keep an emergency kit with you when caring for the cats.
  • Be cautious of branches and other debris that may continue to fall even after the storm and remove debris that could injure cats.
  • Put out more fresh water than usual. Standing water is likely contaminated.
  • Resume your normal feeding schedule as quickly as possible.
  • Offer tempting foods, such as canned tuna or rotisserie chicken to coax frightened cats to return.
  • Clean out and replace wet straw and bedding.
  • Repair any damage to shelters and feeding stations.
  • Take a head count and keep calling for any missing cats.
  • Check the cats for injuries or illness and get veterinary care as soon as possible for those with injuries or illness.
  • Provide agencies and organizations assisting animals with information about missing cats and find out how to claim the cats if they’re found.
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