C2017-17

Dear Christopher Cat: Our family recently moved to “hurricane alley” on the Virginia coast. If we must evacuate, should we take our cats or leave them at home?

Christopher Responds: Any storm that’s unsafe for you and your children is too risky for your pets to weather alone. May 13 is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, so start planning now to take your cats with you if you must evacuate because of a hurricane, flood or other disaster.

Use your cell phone or tablet to photograph each cat and their vaccination and microchip certificates. Record the names, addresses, phone numbers and websites of several locations that can house you and your cats – from pet-friendly evacuation shelters and motels to boarding kennels and the homes of family and friends.

Alternatively, you can store this information in a large envelope. Every spring, update the information so you’re prepared for summer hurricanes.

Fill a tote bag with a two-week supply of your cats’ medicines, food, bottled water, dishes, litter, litter boxes, and each cat’s collar and ID tag. Periodically use and replenish the medicine, food and water so it’s always fresh.

Label each cat’s carrier with your name and contact information, and line the bottom of each with a thick towel. Pack a bottle of Feliway, the feline facial pheromone that helps cats feel relaxed and secure. When you evacuate, and even when you’re making a routine visit to your veterinarian, spray Feliway on the towels.

With any luck, you’ll never need to evacuate, but it’s always best to be prepared.