What to do about the cats…

We live in a 3-story stacked townhouse, where our bedroom is on the 3rd floor and the garage is on the ground floor. Almost everything related to escaping or surviving in a hurray is located in our garage (which still needs to be better organized) but I’ve thought a lot about what if we can’t access the garage for some weird reason.

In our spare bedroom (that was converted into my amazing walk-in closet), I keep a durable snowboarding backpack with a few important items: band-aids, granola bars, ear plugs, chapstick, batteries, tissues, hand warmers, safety pins, swiss army knife, etc. It’s all very light stuff, and since it’s located near our bedrooms we could shove in a few extra things, if needed (including a cat). In the bedroom, I keep another snowboarding backpack handy with gloves, hats, goggles, a multi-tool, emergency blanket, etc. It has less space, but has lots of clippy strappy things to attach heavier items to carry on your back. Next to the backpack is our biggest flashlight (mostly there because the power goes out a few times every winter).


If there is a disaster where we have to hole up in our house for an extended period of time, we could make it maybe a month based on the bin of emergency food and water I have stored. Obviously, everyone’s house has a lot of things that can be utilized; but if we suddenly had to go on the move, that’s where the complications set in. I know that Thor and I could quickly grab our emergency packs, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CATS?!?!?!?! Really. I think about this everyday.

We have two cat carriers: one for Rocket, and one for Wedge and Bandit to share. Will we REALLY be carrying these freaking things along with us on foot? It would be cumbersome and heavy. I loathe the idea of searching the internet for ideas on how people have transported their pets during emergencies because I’m surely going to come across many depressing stories…but it seems like I need to face facts. A dog is one thing, but cats are a whole other set of issues.

Their food is HEAVY!

They will run away!

Where will they go to the bathroom?

Am I totally delusional to think they could come with us?

Have any of you thought about this? What would you do????

7 thoughts on “What to do about the cats…

  1. I agree – cats will be much worse than dogs (although my 165 pound Great Dane will be an issue no matter what!). I worry I won’t even be able to find the cats when the emergency happens. They are very good at disappearing within the house.

    A few thoughts: do you have your cats microchipped and do you have a picture of you with your cats? If worse comes to worse and they have to stay behind or get lost, this might help reconnect with them. Also make sure you have copies of medical records/vaccinations, both on paper in your go-bag and on your phone.

    Do you have soft carriers or crates? A soft carrier is compressible and easier to store with your upstairs go-bag. It seems barbaric, but people have even suggested shoving cats in pillow cases if you need to grab and run, worrying about the carrier later.

    You can probably get by with only 3 days food, which isn’t too heavy if dry. Red Cross is working hard on having pet friendly shelters, and hopefully you can be in one within a day or two (they will want a copy of the medical records).

    Litter – I haven’t solved this one yet!

    You might keep an eye on my blog. I write about all things having to do with emergency preparedness and response. My blog is fairly new, but I will be doing a few pet preparedness articles soon, based on a recent conference where this was discussed.

    Sheila Sund

  2. I wanted to let you know that I posted the first of what will eventually be multiple posts on pet preparedness today. Excellent job on the fire by flint, by the way. I haven’t ever tried it. My husband has one, so now I have to add fire starting to my to-do list.

  3. Awesome, I’ll be sure to red them. I also ended up buying two cat roller carriers that also work as backpacks. They haven’t been delivered yet but I’m gonna give them a test run soon.

  4. I worry about what we would do with our cats in a disaster ALL the time. The closest we’ve come to facing that situation was a couple of years ago, when there was a fire at our apartment complex back in Texas. We didn’t have time to find the carriers, so we each grabbed a cat, ran downstairs, and threw them in the car. Thankfully we were able to get back into our apartment that same night and we just carried the cats back up, but that “solution” was definitely not the best of plans, and we had scratches all over our arms to show for it.

    • Several pet experts recommend using pillowcases for emergency cat carriers. You grab kitty by the scruff of the neck like a kitten and shove them in. Sounds horrific, but better than being severely scratched, or having the cat escape. Plus pillowcases are quickly available on every bed!

  5. Yes, throwing the cats in the car was also an idea we had, too. I could just imagine losing an eye on that one! My cat carriers were just delivered this weekend and although they are smaller than I had hoped, one of the cats jumped right in so at least it seemed like a viable option. It also has rolly wheels and an adjustable handle so I could potentially stroll them around the block in the summer. Double bonus!

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