Our resident feline expert – Issac Newton – writes on how to help cats and other animals affected by Hurricane Harvey, as well as preparing your own household for emergencies.
Newton’s Purrspective – Hurricane Harvey and Beyond
You have probably heard of the courageous people risking their own lives to save abandoned animals following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. http://www.lovemeow.com/cats-rescued-houston-residents-stay-behind-to-help-save-stranded-animals-from-flood-waters-2478964880.html?from=homer
You may also be wondering what you can do to help. But aren’t sure who to trust with your efforts or hard-earned money.
Most of us are not in a position to physically help with rescue efforts, so you might be considering sending money to a relief organization. Many groups are doing wonderful work, but sadly, not all can be trusted in this electronic world. Since 9/11 there have been many stories, for example, about The American Red Cross not distributing money as they promised.
How can you tell if your potential recipient will spend the money to help hurricane victims? How can you tell if an unfamiliar group is a legitimate charity? The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance http://www.give.org/for-donors/about-specific-giving-guidance/disaster-relief-donations/ is an excellent place to start.
Rescue organizations across the country are partnering up to help the overcrowded Texas shelters by transporting displaced animals to other states. If you live in a state near Texas your local shelter may be accepting some of these cats, dogs and other animals like bunnies. If you know a shelter that is taking in evacuated pets you can donate food, bedding, cat litter, dishes etc.
In general, cats are very “location oriented” and have a much more difficult time with losing their homes than “people oriented” dogs. Perhaps you have experience in foster care. Fostering a displaced animal can not only supply an immediate need, it can also free up room at shelters.
In fact, if you have been considering adopting a cat, now is a great time to do it. (Of course, attempts will be made to reunite families, but there are many adoptable cats in shelters waiting for forever homes.)
Hurricane season is not over and disasters are possible wherever you live. The Red Cross explains how to prepare yourself for such emergency situations. http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/get-a-kit However, animals are not considered and may not be allowed in shelters designated for people only.
Redrover has been helping animals in crisis situations for 30 years. Their website provides a comprehensive list of supplies needed for cats. https://redrover.org/disaster-supplies-cats
Cat Faeries flower essences may also help Kitty through a stressful situation. I recommend Moves and Changes, and Calm and Serene. Convivial House Cat can be used in tandem for added calming and the ability to cope with stress.
Having a plan and supplies gathered is as important as having a list of emergency numbers by your phone. You might get a few backpacks and fill them with first aid materials, cash in small bills, food and water for all of the species in your home and keep them near the front door or the garage door in the event that you need to make a quick exit. It’s always a good idea to have carriers in good shape, clean and that contain a carrier pad – Cat Faeries waterproof washable pads are excellent choice. And, of course, the time to make your plan is now – long before you are told to evacuate.
Another wise precaution is posting a sign saying there are animals inside your house to alert first responders. https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack Wallet cards and keyring tags saying “my pet is home alone” are widely available and could save lives if you are sick or injured and unable to return home.
While this story centered on Hurricane Harvey, at the time of this writing Hurricane Irma was threatening to strike. We also cannot forget about the horrible fires in The Pacific Northwest, throughout California including Los Angeles and Yosemite National Park, Montana, Oregon and the people and animals who will be displaced, or worse.
Help others whenever you can, and above all, be safe! And be sure to hug and kiss your cat and loved ones!
Photo courtesy of the Southeast Volusia Humane Society