Winter Storms and Power Outages: How to Plan Ahead For Your Cat
Winter is once again upon us. Simple as it sounds, in these hectic times, we can often forget the little things that will help our cats stay safe in the event of a power outage.
Keep Kitty Inside
When news is forecasting a storm and you have an indoor/outdoor cat, plan ahead to keep your cat inside. Know when the storm will start and plan to keep you cat in well ahead of that. Door darters may try to get outside before the storm starts only to take shelter and hide at the first sign of sleet or snow and may be scared into hiding by unfamiliar sounds like a snow plow or a neighbor’s snow blower. Relocate outdoor access cats to a bedroom or other room where you can shut the door.
Stock Up on Supplies
Be sure to stock up on cat food, litter, and bottled water. Plan well ahead to avoid finding empty shelves just before a storm hits. Also important is making sure that your cat has enough medication. Covid has caused delays in getting refills, whether it is a shortage of a medication or limited pharmacy/vet hours. Plan to stay well stocked and refill ahead of time.
This is the best time to have a snuggle fest with your cat. Snuggling and sleeping together will help keep your kitty warm. Have extra blankets so your cat can nestle into a cozy pile of them. Drape a blanket over a cat hut, cat teepee, or hooded cat bed to help keep in warmth. Utilize a self heating cat bed (which helps reflect back a cat’s own body heat). Cardboard boxes can also help to maintain body heat, so save those Chewy boxes.
Leaving your cat home alone is not recommended. You won’t be there to monitor their food and water intake, if they are getting too cold, or if they are feeling unwell.
If you need to find alternate shelter, you will need to know ahead of time if any hotels in your areas will accept cats. Did you know that most pet friendly hotels only allow dogs? Most hotels will not accept cats. Community shelters may accept pets but again, it is best if you know ahead so you can plan accordingly.
Things you will want to plan to have travel ready are food, bottled water, and medications. Escapes happen. Plan to use a carrier and have an id collar on your cat. You will want to have a collapsible or disposable litter box, collapsible travel bowls, and a first aid kit. Have current photos of your cat, including front and side shots as well as pics of any notable features. Keep a power bank on hand in case you need to recharge your phone. Be sure to have your cats microchip id # on hand as well as the phone number for the company that registers it. Now is a good time to make sure your contact info with the microchip company is up to date. Lastly, you may consider getting your cat a gps collar. Many people think that a microchip can track their cat but this is false. A gps can track your cat. A microchip can only provide your contact info to reunite you with your cat if it is scanned.
Don’t forget that cats get into mischief. I always think of how I would baby proof my home and then do that for my cats. Prevent drowning accidents. If you fill your tub with water in anticipation of a power outage, make sure your cat does not have access to the bathroom. The same goes for buckets of water. Keep lids on buckets and keep them in a closed room. Heaters can cause burns or tip over and become a fire hazard. Candles also should never be left unattended.
Winter can bring trying times. We all have out cat's best interests at heart. With a little planning ahead, we can curl up with a hot cuppa and our furry children and watch those snowflakes fall, knowing we are providing the best care that we can.