How to Protect Your Cat in a Tornado
In Nebraska, spring brings beautiful blooms…and ugly storms. That’s why it’s important to have an emergency preparedness plan for your 4-legged family members as well as for your 2-legged ones.
Kitty Needs to Take Cover, Too
- Bring your cat indoors if tornados are in the forecast. You may not have time to do so later. Be proactive.
- Make your family shelter feline friendly. Keep a kitty carrier in your shelter or safe room. Not only will the carrier give your kitty added protection it may also make it easier to transport your pet after the storm. Keep a pet bed and some toys in your shelter, too.
- Make your shelter kitty safe. Don’t keep plants, garden supplies or any toxic items in or near your shelter. Also block access to cat escape routes and hidey-holes in case your kitty gets loose and tries to bolt.
- Confine your cat during a “Tornado Watch,” don’t wait for a “Warning.” Many cats hide during storms and you may not have time to find them once the sirens sound. So don’t wait too long to confine your cat. If your kitty associates a pet carrier with a trip to the vet and hides as soon as he or she sees it, use a towel or pillowcase to transport your cat to the carrier in your shelter.
Collar, Tags and Microchipping Are Important
- Make sure your cat is identified clearly with a collar, up-to-date tags and hopefully a microchip. This will help to ensure recovery of your beloved feline family member if he or she becomes lost during the storm.
- We highly recommend microchipping because a microchip is much more reliable than a collar and can’t fall off. If you and your cat are separated—during a natural disaster or at any time– this gives you the best chance of a happy reunion.
Keep Pet Supplies in Your Shelter
- Cat food, cat treats, bottled water, bowls and a manual can opener if needed
- Litter and litter pan
- Pet bed and toys
- Medications, medical records and info about your cat’s medical conditions
- Photos of your cat in case your pet gets lost
- A pet first aid kit
Always remember that pets are not allowed in American Red Cross shelters or in many others (with the exception of service animals). Therefore, have a list of family or friends who might temporarily foster your cat if necessary, as well as a list of area hotels and motels that accept cats and a list of pet boarding facilities.
If you’re forced to evacuate, don’t leave your cats behind or turn them loose. As the Humane Society of the U.S. says, “If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for your pets. Pets left behind can easily be injured, lost or killed.” Above all, don’t turn them loose and expect they’ll be able to fend for themselves. They won’t. So take them with you!
Important Pet Safety Resources
- FREE Pet First Aid Mobile App from the American Red Cross: Download to Your Phone
- Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist from the American Red Cross
- Emergency Preparedness Tips from the Humane Society of the U.S
- Tornados: Keeping Pets Safe from the Humane Society of the U.S
- Make a Disaster Plan for Your Pets from the Humane Society of the U.S
- Cat and Dog First Aid Instruction Manuals sold by the American Red Cross
- Cat First Aid, a book sold by the American Red Cross on Amazon