Elvis and Priscilla met on a blind date after they were each rescued from separate feral colonies where they’d been abandoned. They got to know each other very well at Happy Cats, so well that they were adopted together. Happily ever after, right?
Then came the Black Forest fire. Happy Cats got the call, “Remember Elvis and Priscilla? We’re about to be evacuated. Can you help?”
Of course we could. Elvis is now Charlie and he and Priscilla shared the luxury accomodations of our exam room while they waited for their Tessa to come back for them. We also took in 20 cats and kittens from Wild Blue Animal Rescue after their evacuated home got evacuated.
Many of us had to evacuate last year because of the Waldo Canyon fire and some of us even had to get out for this one. This has given us first-hand experience with dealing with this kind of disaster. If you ever have to evacuate your home with your cat or cats, here are some tips based on what the Happy Cats family has already gone through.
TIP 1: SECURE YOUR CAT
Before you start packing, either secure your cats in a small closed room like a bathroom or put them in their carriers. Your cats are very sensitive to your emotions and actions and will likely become anxious when all the commotion starts. This may cause them to hide or try to get away, possibly ending up lost.
Always use a carrier to transport your cat. A frightened animal will be in flight-or-fight response, neither of which you want to deal with while evacuating. Your cats will be less fearful if they know they’re secure in a carrier, especially if you have a towel to put over the top of it. Please try to have a carrier for each cat. If you have to cram your cats together, you risk them taking their fear out on each other and will have even more frightened animals to deal with later.
TIP 3: GRAB THEIR STUFF
If you have time, grab their beds, blankets, scratchers and/or litter box. Anything that can make wherever they’re going smell like where they’ve come from will also help ease their fright.
Treats, toys and Rescue Remedy will all help to settle your cats when you arrive at your safe haven. Play is one of the best ways to normalize a cat and switch them from fear mode into something more positive. Giving them their favorite treat can also help, but don’t expect most cats to start eating if they’re still stressed. Rescue Remedy (available at your local health food store) is a supplement that can be put in their water to help ease their anxiety.
TIP 5: SECURE YOUR CAT AGAIN
Once you arrive at your safe place, tuck your cats into a small room with their things. Cats bond to place as well as people, so having you there with them, talking quietly and using the calming agents, can help them know they’re safe and sound.
KKTV online can keep you updated. They also have some great tips for evacuating from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office on their website. Please have a look before you get in an emergency situation. We know from experience that under stress our brains tend to turn to mush!
Wild Blue cats @ Happy Cats
Charlie and Priscilla are now back home, but our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones and homes and to those who are having to be away from them. Keep checking in, stay safe and pray for rain!