I love living near the coast because it allows me to go to the beach and Galveston for a day of relaxation and recreation. I hate living near the coast because of the threat of hurricanes. Once each year at the beginning of hurricane season, we’re told to check batteries, water, medications and to have an emergency plan. This plan should extend to cover our pets as well.
There is NO reason to leave a pet behind. I still remember with horror when Tropical Storm Allison hit in 2001 and the flooding that occurred. Television coverage was nonstop. The thing I remember is a reporter saying he couldn’t get to the dog that he could see that was chained in a yard. The water was deeper that the chain was long and the dog drowned. What were those people thinking?
Some agencies advocate having an emergency kit, but I think an emergency list made out and kept in a place it wouldn’t be forgotten is sufficient. On that list should be things like food, medications, treats, toys, favorite bed or blanket. Food – should you take it all or just bag some up? Should you take every can of food or just some? Decide ahead of time. Treats – it goes without saying that you take them all! Favorite toys and bed or blanket will act as a calming agent in a situation of great tension and stress. Medications – you should take all of it. Food and treats are easy to get, but your vet may have evacuated, too, and you will be unable to refill the medication.
Most shelters now accept pets after people refused to evacuate and leave their pets behind. For dogs, be sure to have a leash to keep them close by and safe. For cats, carriers are the safest option; however, they must have access to a litter box. If possible, it is ideal to have a small wire kennel large enough for the cat and a small litter box that can be draped with a sheet to keep the cat calm.
For the people lucky enough to have friends or relatives out of the path of the storm, staying with them for the duration is the perfect solution. Of course, the list will still be important for this kind of evacuation, too.
The bottom line is your pet should never be left behind. Never.