Hiding places: Cats need a place to retreat when they feel stress and just enjoy having new places to curl up and take a nap. They also desire privacy at times. Cat furniture with built-in hiding places can help to meet this need.
What to Include in an Animal Disaster Kit
While you might view yourself as calm and collected, it’s hard to think of gathering supplies for your pet with a disaster on its way. That’s why the CDC recommends preparing a disaster kit before you need to use it. For pets, it should include the following:
- Your pet’s regular food placed in airtight container
- Bottled drinking water
- Bags for waste
- Extra litterbox and litter for cats
- Grooming supplies
- Your pet’s regular medications
- A carrier for each pet
- A leash and/or harness
- Your pet’s favorite pillow, blanket, or other bedding
- A few toys
- Your pet’s vaccination records
- Written care instructions that direct others how to care for your pet if you become separated
If you have put off getting a microchip for your pet, consider how handy it would be in a natural disaster. Your dog or cat could lose his tag and collar easily amidst all the stress and chaos. If he has a microchip, anyone who finds him can take him to the nearest animal shelter or veterinary clinic to scan for your contact information. It’s also important to label the carrier for each pet with his name, your name, and a telephone number.
The extreme stress of a natural disaster can cause some pets to run towards danger instead of away from it. Even a normally obedient dog or cat could take off the other direction when you call her. The best way to avoid this is to keep a harness or leash by each exit in your home. This keep your pet with you and under your control.
Natural Disasters Are Breeding Grounds for Disease
When disaster strikes, people only think about escaping it. They’re not necessarily considering how quickly disease can spread due to things like stagnant water and exposure to hundreds of other people and animals.
Calicivirus is most common in crowded living conditions such as an animal shelter or boarding facility. For this reason, catteries require all cats to have a calicivirus vaccine. In fact, it’s part of a series of core vaccines for cats due to how easily it spreads. Unsanitary conditions can also create a breeding grounds for the spread of calicivirus. Yet another way this virus spreads is when an infected cat exchanges bodily fluid with a non-infected cat. Typically, this occurs due to contact with eye discharge or sneeze droplets.
Nasal discharge, eye discharge, and frequent sneezing are the most obvious signs that your cat is unwell. Other indications of this virus include:
- Lack of appetite
- Low energy
- Difficulty chewing food completely
- Pink eye
- Mouth ulcers
- Breathing difficulty, including noisy breathing
Just like the common cold in humans, no cure exists to eliminate calicivirus once the symptoms have started. You can help your cat feel more comfortable by doing the following:
- Gently wipe discharge from the eyes with a damp towel
- Minimize stress in the household while your cat recovers
- Bring your cat into the bathroom and turn on the shower so he can breathe in the hot steam. You should not bring him into the shower, however.
- Make sure that your cat continues to eat. Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell and may show no interest in eating when nasal discharge prevents them from smelling. You may have to temporarily feed your cat foods with a stronger odor or speak to our veterinarian about prescription cat food.
A common mistake pet owners make is to place their pills into a plastic bag for convenience and then leave them in a place their pet can find them. Dogs and cats are naturally curious and will stiff, tear, and claw at the bag until it opens. The pills seem like a treat to them, which means that just saying “no” might not be enough. Some pets simply have no resistance around something they perceive as a treat.
The Pet Poison Helpline reports that pets chew or swallow these human medications most often:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen and naproxen
- Acetaminophen, including Tylenol
- Medications to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders
- Anti-anxiety medications and sleep aids
- Birth control pills
- Blood pressure pills
- Thyroid hormones
- Cholesterol lowering agents
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