As many of you know we are work and live in San Francisco. As a native your cat faerie has been through countless earthquakes, most minor, but some quite major like the 1989 Loma Prieta quake which happened during a World’s Series game played at SF’s Candlestick Park.
Saturday night at 3:20 am there was a 6.0 (some reports say 6.1 but who’s counting!) earthquake centered in Napa which is one of the vital valleys of our wine country. Some 60 miles or an hour away by car it woke us up and we felt every dramatic wave and shake. Fortunately for us not even one can of cat food toppled over!
Do animals know before that an earthquake is coming?
After the devastating earthquake in Kobe, Japan a Japanese university began to study animals and earthquakes. Can they predict them? How far in advance do they feel that something is coming? Your cat faerie was part of that study and answered the many pages long questionnaire.
For us personally before this most recent quake, the cats were fine, no out of the ordinary behavior. But we suspect that cats being cats would only alert us or act strangely if a quake would be serious and affect our home or immediate area – which this one did not. Napa on the other hand got hit very hard.
But our bunnies were a different story. For the 3 days leading up to this earthquake several of them were fighting. Rabbits being animals that burrow underground might be more sensitive to the earth’s movement than cats or dogs.
The Save A Bunny rabbit rescue in Mill Valley (in Marin County and about 20 minutes closer to Napa than we are) reported that night their bunnies were thumping in unison – they knew something was coming and were thumping to alert everyone around them.
We’ve been told that African Gray parrots will hang upside down their cages prior to an earthquake.
Jim Berkland, a now retired geologist, has been predicting earthquakes for years. He uses lunar phases, and tides, and most interesting, he observes animals.
What he has observed is a spike in missing cats and dogs on posters and in newspapers a few weeks before a big quake, for example the horrible Northridge quake of 1994. Cats and dogs will sense something is coming so if they have access to outside, they often run off.
We found a really good story about Jim and his predictions written in January of 2014. It’s a great read, we know you’ll enjoy it. Interestingly Jim still lives in Northern California, in Glen Ellen which is the Sonoma side of the wine country. It looks like he isn’t leaving anytime soon! We aren’t either!
Being safe during an earthquake:
- As soon as you feel an earthquake stand in the frame of the nearest doorway. Door frames are structurally very strong and if something falls it probably won’t hit your head. Don’t stand near a refrigerator or anything else that can topple over.
- As soon as you can turn off your gas! Don’t know how? Learn this week. Also this week, strap your water heater so that it can’t tip over.
- Aftershocks can occur minutes, hours, days, or weeks later. Some aftershocks can be as strong as the actual quake, but usually they are less so.
- It’s not always safe to be outside – chimneys can fall, buildings can collapse, glass windows can pop out of their frames sending dangerous shards flying. If the building you are in seems unstable go outside but stand in the center of the street.
- This week look over your emergency food and water stash. Discard anything with old expiration dates and replenish. Have flash lights and batteries. Maxi pads make great bandages because they are so absorbent, just wrap medical tape around them. Keep a large jar of cayenne pepper – it stops bleeding in seconds when poured on a gash. (really!)
- Keep your emergency items in plastic garbage cans with the lid on securely. If something falls on it, the contents will probably not get broken. They also won’t get damaged by water.
- You can buy emergency kits for your car from The American Red Cross. You never know when you might need it for yourself or your passengers, or another injured person you may encounter.
- Don’t ditch your land line! In the event of an earthquake and so many other disasters where the power can go out that cell phone is not going to work. You want an old school phone that goes into a wall jack. Have a land line for emergencies and you’ll be the first to be able to call out for help, or to let friends and relatives know that you are safe.
Here’s a presentation titled “Earthquake Prediction and Animals” that describes the behavior of all sort of animals and even insects before a major earthquake. It’s really fascinating!
People love to ask us Californians, “What does it feel like?” The first thing is what you hear, which can sound like a loud crack or like a Mack truck hit your house. A split second later it’s like a giant grabbed your house and is shaking it. It might also feel like a long steady roll. You’ll probably hear the rattle of drinking glasses and plates clanging. Pictures on the wall start to sway or even bounce, a chair might dance across the floor. You might hear or see things fall over.
Have any of your cats or other animals warned you of earthquakes or any severe natural disaster, like a life threatening storm? We’d love to know for a follow up to this article.
Dear Cat Faeries,
We have been letting our cats “play” in the attic area (for some reason, they really want to be in there), and have just discovered they have been doing more than playing in there.
Those naughty kitties! This isn’t surprising, but don’t be angry with them – get your hands on a few bottles of our Anti Icky Poo urine cleaner (on sale now) which will get rid of the urine and odor.
I feel the reason they do this is that the smells up there are intriguing, and they know you don’t go up there often. It’s similar with basements or garages, or crawl spaces. Also those rooms don’t always have the insulation that other rooms of your house have so smells from outside waft in. Sometimes what your cat smells are from animals who are traveling through your yard or garden (and doing their business there too).
Another reason they suddenly want to go into your attic is that you’ve got mice or rats. You’ve either got them now or you recently had them. The smells of their little bodies and nests, plus their droppings can lure cats to such rooms or spaces in the house. When your cat can access where mice or rats have been they like to pee on top of those odors.
You might set rodent traps. What will dictate the type of trap you buy will depend on your view of trapping mice. Some people like what’s known as a humane trap so they release the mice to a field. Other people want The Terminator Method. Because the Hanta Virus carried by mice scares me, we like The Rat Zapper which your local hardware store probably carries or can order for you. The Rat Zapper can be used indoors and outdoors.
When you set any type of traps make sure that the room/area is completely closed off to your cats, dogs, and children.
Here’s Cat Faeries fail-safe bait recipe for any type of trap:
1 cookie (it can be stale)
1 bit of peanut butter (“the glue” for the next two crucial components)
1 Macadamia nut (mice and rats cannot resist them)
1 small piece of black licorice (they adore this too)
Have you ever noticed your cats staring at heater vents? Or worse, peeing on them? The heat ducts in your home are highways for mice! And yes, you may pour Anti Icky Poo down a heater vent – it’s not flammable. Just turn off the heat for the day or few days you are treating it with Anti Icky Poo.
So now we have yet another reason to have Anti Icky Poo always on hand. If you don’t have any more why not order a few fresh bottles?
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