Last Sunday night, we told you we were ready for the approaching storm. We had stocked up on emergency supplies, including canned food for Allegra and Ruby in case their raw food went bad in the event of a power outage, and chocolate for me in case – well, because you need chocolate when life gets stressful. We had Storm Soother and Stress Stopper on hand. We were as ready as you can ever be for something like this.

By the time we woke up Monday morning, it was raining heavily. The forecast was for the rain and wind to increase steadily throughout the day, with the worst to come in the afternoon and into the night. I decided to venture out for my weekly Pilates session in the morning, followed by lunch with a friend. I needed the distraction from worrying, not to mention the exercise. The roads were already deserted, and many businesses were either already shut down, or closing early. By the time I got home a couple of hours later, the wind had started to pick up in earnest.

I expected to find Allegra downstairs, in or near her safe space in the downstairs bathroom, but to my surprise, she spent much of Monday upstairs in my office, or sleeping in the bedroom. Ruby spent quite a bit of time sitting by the window. She had fun watching things blow by. She got especially excited when a big trash can made its way down our street.

The howling wind and punishing rain were unnerving, to say the least, but the power stayed on. I distracted myself from worrying with work, and frequent visits to Facebook. The support of my Facebook friends from around the world was very  much appreciated. I’ve always maintained that Facebook is so much more than just a social network, it’s a true community. Never does this become more apparent than during events like Sandy. I never once turned the television on on Monday. I did not want to be exposed to the nonstop coverage. I was scared enough without seeing images of flooding and devastation as Sandy made her way toward the coast. What I saw during my forays to Facebook was sufficiently terrifying.

I posted the photo above of Ruby in her “hurricane shelter” on Facebook, and smiled when it went viral. I like to think it brought a smile to some other very stressed people as well.

As the rain and wind continued to increase throughout the day, Allegra got a little less brave. By nightfall, she spent most of the time downstairs. I dosed her frequently with Storm Soother and Stress Stopper. I took liberal hits of both myself. She came upstairs to eat her dinner, then headed back to her safe place.

By the time it got dark outside, it felt like the trees in my backyard were even closer to the house than they really are. I couldn’t decide whether not being able to see what was going on outside was worse or better. Finally, I decided I was just going to try to go to bed. Much to my surprise, Allegra joined Ruby and I, and we all slept huddled against each other. The girls slept their usual deep sleeps. Mine was a bit more fitful.

When I woke up to the morning news of the devastation Sandy had wrought in New York and New Jersey, I realized how fortunate we had been. Even though there were some power outages and downed trees across my area, the storm hadn’t been as bad as forecasters had feared. Some of this may be due to the fact that the derecho that hit our area in June already took down a lot of weak and older trees, leaving less potential for damage.

I can honestly say that I have never felt more grateful than I did Tuesday morning, when I woke up in a warm house, with my two girls cuddled up against me, and all the trees in my yard still standing.

This was definitely the worst storm I’ve been through. I lived through Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and Isabel in 2003, but I don’t remember being as terrified during those storms as I was on Monday. I had to draw on every lesson I ever learned, mostly from my cats, about living in the moment, the uselessness of worrying, and the power of surrender. And I was reminded again of how much I have to be grateful for.

My heart goes out to everyone in the affected areas.

Were you affected by Hurricane Sandy? How did you and your loved ones cope?

Related reading:

Help Animals Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Mews and Nips: Special Hurricane Sandy Edition

20 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: a few more words about Hurricane Sandy

  1. What a thoughtful post, Ingrid. I loved the mental image of Ruby watching that trash can blow by! Since we live on the coast of South Carolina, I received several emails and Facebook inquiries about how we were doing, which was bizarre because Sandy was far out to sea when she passed us, so all we got was high surf and some strong winds . . . no rain!

    I had a surprise party for my husband’s 70th birthday on Saturday, October 27, before Sandy hit, and our three sons and one of my husband’s brothers flew in for the celebration. My brother-in-law and his wife, who live in South Jersey, were scheduled to leave on the following Monday, but their flight was cancelled so they drove back on Sunday. Two of my sons (who live in Ohio and North Dakota) left on schedule, but my youngest son and his wife (who live in Brooklyn) were delayed until Friday. (Truthfully, though, they weren’t complaining too loudly about being “stranded” on Hilton Head Island!)

    None of my family had major damage, thank goodness, but a good friend I’ve known since my early teens (a looong time!) lives at the Jersey shore and her entire first floor flooded.

    I feel so sad and helpless when I see images of the devastation and helplessness in the affected areas, especially since that could very well have been us.

    I’m thankful that you and the girls came through unhurt, although it sounds like quite the harrowing experience.

  2. My biggest concern would be my cats-I cannot imagine being in a disaster and my poor babies being dragged through something like that-I would be tempted to put them in carries so that I could just scoop them up.

    • Same here, Esme. I had the carriers ready throughout the storm, and I made sure that I knew where in the house Allegra and Ruby were at all times.

  3. I’m glad the three of you are fine, that you could sail the experience let’s say in a uneventful way.
    I also have learned a good bunch of things from the cats that have lived with me. When we pay attention how non-human people react, we can learn a lot about healthy responses to certain situations.

  4. If you’re in the NYC area, Pop says Donna was the worst hurricane he remembers before Sandy. Glad you made it through with no damage or loss of power. Our neighborhood has a lot of damage but not us, thank Cod.

  5. We lost power late Monday afternoon. The storm was frightening, but we were very lucky. Our next door neighbors had a large, old tree come through their roof. Luckily they ware riding out the storm with family in another part of the county. The good part of having no power is we were prevented from seeing the devastation in our area and the rest of the country. I did my best to follow my kitties example and curled up in a warm place and dozed as much as I could. Once the atorm was over, I convinced my son that cleaning up the yard was fun by building a fire in our very beat up fire pit with the many fallen limbs. Halloween was switched to Saturday after 4pm for the safety of the trick or treaters. When the power came back on late Friday afternoon we cheered, then started up the fountains my kitties drink from. Pumpkin and Hitch were very aggravated by the lack of continuously running water. Pumpkin drank for over 5 minitues once the fountain was restored. Oh to be so inconvenienced!

    So the power came on, the yard was cleaned up and the kids will return to school soon. We were very lucky. So many endured so much more than 4days without power or wif. Their lives may never be the same. We pray that they’ll find the strength they need to rebuild and go on.

    • I’m glad all of you are okay, Dorothy, and thank goodness your neighbors weren’t home when that tree hit their house. And how clever to turn yard clean up into a game for your son!

    • Yes, they’re talking about a Nor’easter forming for later this week. Let’s hope they’re wrong. This is the last thing these already devastated areas need.

  6. I had not seen the picture of Ruby’s hurricane shelter! It’s a cool shelter!
    We’re all glad that just like us, you didn’t get any major damage. My human keeps on repeating we were very lucky! Our thoughts go to those that were less lucky :-/

  7. What a beautiful post, Ingrid. I am so glad you and the girls are safe and that you all made it safely through that terrible time. How scary it must have been, and I can see how thankful you feel!
    Again, my heart goes out to all those affected, both human and furry.

  8. My son and I joined my sister in NYC for that weekend. We made it out on a very crowded train Sunday afternoon and settled in New Haven for a few days. Some lack of internet, but that was all. Our plane (son and me) back to Tampa was not going to show up, so we rented a car and drove back to Florida. Happy to be home but we were very lucky all the way through. My heart really goes out to those who have suffered from Sandy. I thought NYC had a pact with the Universe that stated it would not be messed with again!

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