Emergency Services

cat freaking outHave you ever thought about what you’d do if there were a disaster in your area? Say a tornado, fire, earthquake or tsunami? I live in California near the coast, so we often worry about earthquakes and possible tsunamis from those earthquakes. We also have fires in California and sometimes those get closer to home than my mom would like (her lungs have been irritated by 2 fires here in Southern California since we moved her almost 2 years ago), so we worry about those, also. And have you ever wondered what kind of emergency kit you should have for your cat? Well, I have some suggestions for you! There are some important things you will need to have on hand, some of which can probably be kept in the trunk of your car (like a bag of cat litter … I hear that’s even useful in winter time if your stroller – er, I mean car – gets stuck in the snow). Other things you’ll want to keep inside in one easily accessible spot (like maybe inside, on top of, or next to the cat carrier). My stroller has a trunk underneath it, and mom’s thinking that’s a good spot to keep my supplies in. I tell her it’ll make my gas mileage go down, but she doesn’t pay attention.

skAnyway, the basic things you definitely need to have in your cat emergency kit are (p.s. if you’re a dog owner, you can find a dog emergency kit checklist here: http://www.redrover.org/disaster-supplies-dogs):

  • sleepypod-outsidersYour cat’s carrier, of course. Have a few pillow cases inside, as well. Pillow cases can be useful for carrying your cat around in if your kitty’s having a hard time. Sometimes, in emergencies, we kind of freak out, and pillow cases may be the best way to get us from a home to a car or some other safe location (because we might freak out even more if we see that carrier come out).
  • Litter box and litter or puppy pee pads (puppy pee pads are less messy than litter, but it might be worth your time to test one out in your cat’s litter box to make sure s/he will actually use it before you rely solely on those in an emergency situation – they’re definitely lighter and easier to store than litter). Also, there are a number of different types of things you can use for litter boxes. There are cheap temporary litter boxes that you can buy that come pre-filled with litter, but you’ll still want to have extra litter or puppy pee pads. There are also foldable litter boxes that are easily stored. You can also use aluminum roasting pans as litter boxes (they’re light-weight and easy to store, as well).

    foldable litterbox

    Foldable litter box

  • Waste bags, like dog waste bags, for used litter.
  • Enough dry cat food for one week. Check with your local emergency kit store such as a surplus store; some of them will vacuum pack the food your cat’s used to eating for a small fee. Keeping things as similar as possible during an emergency makes a big difference, so ensuring your kitty can eat the food s/he’s used to can make a big difference …. especially if your kitty is on a special diet. But make sure you rotate the food, so that you don’t find yourself in an emergency situation with overly expired kitty food your cat won’t and/or shouldn’t eat.
  • Enough canned food for one week. Make sure to also bring along a can opener. Sometimes those pop-top cans break and you won’t be able to get them open without a can opener. Also, some cats are fed just canned food, so for those kitties, you can skip the dry food supply, but I would recommend adding a few extra cans of cat food just for safety’s sake.
  • 1280px-Anheuser-Busch_canned_drinking_waterEnough water for one week. There are a bunch of options for water. You can buy bottled water and rotate them out to ensure they don’t expire. There are also water pouches you can buy at emergency stores (REI comes to mind for these types of water pouches, but you can find them online, too). There are also cans of water, like soda cans only with water that are supposed to have a 50 year shelf life. I know some people worry about the plastic water container thing, so these might be a good option.
  • Towels and/or some other form of bedding. Make sure the bedding isn’t too big or cumbersome, though. Remember, you want all of your supplies to fit in one storage bin or cat carrier. If you have more than that, you’re taking too much.
  • Any medications your cat may be taking along with labeled bottles and dosage information printed on the label.
  • Current copies of veterinary records along with vaccine information in a waterproof container like a Ziploc bag.
  • Phone numbers of your veterinarian, relatives and friends (I know you have those in your cell phone, but you should write them down on paper in case something happens to your cell phone). An additional phone number for you to write down is for the Animal Poison Control Center (they may charge money for the phone call, though): 888-426-4465.
  • cathotelA list of pet friendly hotels not only in your area but also outside of your area. Red Cross Emergency centers often can’t allow pets, so having a backup list of other places to go (like hotels, friends or relatives) can help you keep your kitties with you.
  • Have a flashlight with extra batteries and/or emergency glow sticks.
  • Instructions for the care of your cat in case you have to leave us with someone else in a pinch.

 

Some optional items might include:

  • cfaPet first aid book
  • Pet first aid kit (you can find these on the internet)
  • Toys. If you don’t have room for toys, you know us cats: an empty box, wadded up paper or an empty toilet paper roll work just fine, too. And you can usually find paper and/or empty toilet paper rolls anywhere (in terms of toilet paper rolls, you should have a roll of toilet paper in your own emergency kit, so you can even wad up a bit of toilet paper for us to play with).
  • Temporary ID tags in case our original one falls off
  • Additional ID tags with additional contact information in case something happens to your cell phone. You can use the phone number of a relative or friend, but be sure to check with them first to make sure they’re ok with being a backup contact person in case of emergency.
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The Giving Season

Tis-the-SeasonLots of people tend to give more during the holidays than at any other time of year. But both people and pets need your help year round. So this January, when giving tends to be at its lowest, think of donating items you no longer use. If you got lots of clothes during the holidays, clear out a few of your older clothes and donate those. If you got new sheets and bedspread, think of donating the older ones. If you got new pet toys and pet beds, donating those are a great idea. There are so many things we can give to others who need it at a time when a lot of people don’t think of doing so.

fruitcakeSo, where do you take the items you’d like to donate? If you have canned food, maybe that fruit cake no one wants, you can take those items directly to your local food bank. They are always in need of unexpired items. Donating cash to local food banks is always helpful, as well, as is donating items such as toiletries and can openers. And there are lots of people who couldn’t live without the help of food banks who have pets, so donating pet food and supplies can be tremendously helpful (please don’t judge … we don’t know the history of how people ended up needing help, and pets are often invaluable mates to those in need – these pets are also well cared for, and the first to eat, even if that means the human goes without food).

Homeless-ShelterHow about clothes, coats and bedding? You can take all of these to local human shelters, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. You also can find clothes donation bins in some parking lots. These bins usually aren’t associated with thrift stores (there are some exceptions). If the name of the donation bin is not a familiar one to you or if it’s not associated with a thrift shop, then they are often not associated with any type of charity.

old-catsAnd, of course, if you have used pet toys, collars, leashes, beds, pet clothing, etc., you can take these directly to your local animal shelter or rescue. A few notes on a couple of items: please don’t donate used litter boxes (or at least call the rescue first). Litter boxes carry germs. Sometimes kitties can carry germs, like with a cold, and not actually come down with it. Those germs get in the litter box and taken to the shelter. If that litter box gets used in a shelter, even after it’s cleaned, another kitty could loosen debris and germs stuck in the scratches on the bottom of the litter box. And kitties in shelters tend to be stressed out and more susceptible to illness. So voila, kitty in shelter gets a cold and now has a hard time finding a home because people are less likely to adopt a sick kitty. Also, with any items, call your local animal shelter to make sure they can actually use the items. If not, you can try donating these items to thrift stores, at local human shelters, and at a local food bank.

Also, with any donation, if it’s something you wouldn’t use, maybe its not worth donating. By that, I don’t mean that if you got a really ugly blanket for Christmas that you shouldn’t donate it; by all means do. What I mean by that is if that really ugly blanket you got for Christmas was supposed to replace the blanket that’s so worn out, falling apart, that you can’t use it anymore, then maybe it’s time to head to the trash or recycle bin with it instead of to the donation bin.

homeless-390x250Anyway, maybe you could try to donate one thing this January, whether it’s leftover Denny’s you hand to the homeless kid you often see on the street corner asking for money, or a can of beans you take to the local food bank, or a brand new cat bed you take to the local animal shelter. Remember that it’s often the little things that count, that mean the most to those in need. You don’t have to give a dog bed to every dog in the shelter, but if you give one to the dog that’s been there a while or to the senior doggy, they will be truly grateful; you will have made a direct difference in someone else’s life.

 

New Years Eve

CatI know it’s not Christmas quite yet, but since New Year’s Eve isn’t far behind, I thought now might be the time to talk. I myself am a bit of a party cat and would love to entertain at a wondrous New Year’s Eve Party. But let’s face it, even a party cat like me can get overwhelmed with all that champagne and want to just hide away somewhere. Or, better yet, sneak out the front door and take a ride home with someone else for the night. And I’m a bit of an outgoing kind of guy. Just think of all those little kitties who are shy, skittish, and unsure of strangers. Take my little sister, Penny, for example. The most a “stranger” has gotten in is a 15 second pat on her rump as she’s running away … and to her, a stranger is anyone other than me and my mom. I know she’s not the only kitty out there like this. So here are some tips for keeping us kitties safe and happy for New Years.

  • Remember that it’s much easier for us to escape when doors are opening and closing a lot, especially if alcohol is involved in your evening’s celebrations.
  • If you have a room that your kitties enjoy hanging out in, other than the main entertaining area of your home, keeping kitties in that room with a litter box, food and water (please don’t put our food and water near our litter box) can be a great way of keeping us safe, cozy and comfy.
  • Remember that kazoos, champagne corks exploding out of bottles, party poppers, balloons, streamers, fireworks, and any other strange and loud noises can easily frighten us; we don’t really understand what all that stuff is for and it can be really scary.
  • Please don’t feed us party food or alcohol – some of it can be toxic and dangerous to us.
  • Make sure we’re wearing a collar with your contact information just in case we should somehow slip out and get really scared. And if your kitties aren’t microchipped, consider getting it done, because it can be a great way to reconnect you to your kitty should your kitty end up at a veterinarian’s office or shelter.
  • Please have a good time; all I ask is that you keep your pets safe and stay safe yourself!

 

Check Out These Two

Aren’t these two kitties beautiful? They’re looking for a home in the San Francisco Bay Area. They’re best friends and would love to find a home together. Anyone interested (besides me)?

Kitty Artwork

There’s a lady my mom got to work with; her name’s Stefanie and Stefanie used to volunteer for Berkeley Humane Society (she might still volunteer there, I’m not sure). Stefanie recently got to go visit some really big kitties at Big Cat Rescue in Florida. Every now and then, mom goes to Stefanie’s etsy page (which you can visit here). She found the pictured choker that mom thinks is just fabulous. So I got to thinking that maybe, if you’re still Christmas shopping, I should post a few good ideas for gifts for those cat lovers in your home. So, of course, the first one is the choker by Stefanie. Click on the links under the pictures and you’ll go directly to the website mom found the item on. Just keep in mind that mom’s looking at small businesses that may only produce one of each item, so if it’s been sold already, keep looking and maybe you’ll find something else worthwhile.

Poopy Cat Dolls

There’s a new type of litter box out there. Sadly, it’s not coming to the United States. It’s currently only sold in the Netherlands. But they’re trying to expand their market, so keep an eye out for the Poopy Cat disposable litter box. In the meantime, watch the cute ad for it!