Wildfires are common in Colorado. Many of us had to evacuate from both the Waldo Canyon Fire and the Black Forest Fire, giving us first-hand experience with fires. If you ever have to evacuate your home with your cat or cats, here are some tips based on what the Happy Cats family has already gone through.
- TIP 1: SECURE YOUR CAT
Before you start packing, either secure your cats in a small closed room like a bathroom or put them in their carriers. Your cats are very sensitive to your emotions and actions and will likely become anxious when all the commotion starts. This may cause them to hide or try to get away, possibly ending up lost.
- TIP 2: USE CARRIERS
Always use a carrier to transport your cat. A frightened animal will be in flight-or-fight response, neither of which you want to deal with while evacuating. Your cats will be less fearful if they know they’re secure in a carrier, especially if you have a towel to put over the top of it. Please try to have a carrier for each cat. If you have to cram your cats together, you risk them taking their fear out on each other and will have even more frightened animals to deal with later.
- TIP 3: GRAB THEIR STUFF
If you have time, grab their beds, blankets, scratchers and/or litter box. Anything that can make wherever they’re going smell like where they’ve come from will also help ease their fright.
- TIP 4: BRING CALMING AGENTS
Treats, toys and Rescue Remedy will all help to settle your cats when you arrive at your safe haven. Play is one of the best ways to normalize a cat and switch them from fear mode into something more positive. Giving them their favorite treat can also help, but don’t expect most cats to start eating if they’re still stressed. Rescue Remedy (available at your local health food store) is a supplement that can be put in their water to help ease their anxiety.
- TIP 5: SECURE YOUR CAT AGAIN
Once you arrive at your safe place, tuck your cats into a small room with their things. Cats bond to place as well as people, so having you there with them, talking quietly and using the calming agents, can help them know they’re safe and sound.