Tornadoes are a rarity in my part of the United States, but occasionally, we get some pretty wild weather. This past Saturday, a strong cold front was coming our way. Ever since the freak derecho storm that moved through here in June and left us without power for 48 hours, I’ve learned to pay attention when the sky gets dark. I also know to give Allegra Storm Soother and Stress Stopper at the first signs of any storminess. She’s come a long way, but she’s still a bit afraid of storms and prefers to ride them out in her safe space: behind the shower curtain in our downstairs bathroom.
After giving her the remedies, I checked the Washington Post Capital Weathergang Twitter feed, the most reliable weather source in this area, for updates on the coming storm. I certainly didn’t expect to see a tornado warning, with my immediate area directly in its path, and the words “TAKE COVER IN INTERIOR ROOM NOW!” Let me note that the Post rarely uses caps in its Twitter feed, so I knew they meant business.
Allegra was already in the downstairs bathroom, which is probably the safest room in our home. It’s windowless, it’s small, and Allegra already feels safe in there. I quickly gathered up two cat carriers, a flashlight, my phone, and put them in the room. Then I ran upstairs to get Ruby, who, true to her fearless nature, was sitting by the living room window upstairs, enjoying the view of the wind lashing the trees, and the rain going sideways.
The girls thought huddling in the bathroom was a big adventure, as you can see in the photo above. Allegra was so intrigued with what was happening that she even came out from behind the shower curtain.
Thankfully, only fifteen minutes later, the storm had passed, and we were safe. I later learned that a tornado had touched down just a few miles from our house.
I posted the photo above on Facebook, and got a lot of comments about what a good cat mom I was for being so prepared. But as I was thinking about the experience, I realized that I had missed a few things that could have come in handy, if this had truly been an emergency. For starters, I didn’t have my car keys or purse in the bathroom with me. I also wasn’t wearing any shoes!
This experience brought home once again how important emergency preparedness is. Here are some things to consider:
- Make sure you always have extra cat food on hand. If you feed raw, make sure you have some canned food on hand in case of an extended power outage.
- Make sure you have enough water for your cats. It’s always a good idea to have some extra bottled water on hand.
- Have carriers for each of your pets, and have them ready.
- Seek out evacuation shelters that allow pets. Alternately, have a list of hotels in your area and outside your immediate area that will take cats.
- If you have a “safe room” in your house, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep some supplies in that room at all times.
- Have remedies such as Stress Stopper and Storm Soother on hand.
I learned my lessons the easy way that day. Hopefully, I’ll never have to implement any of these things, but it helps to know before an actual emergency what steps you would take if faced with the real thing.
Do you have an emergency preparedness plan for your cats?