When a natural disaster hits, homeless cats are left behind. Amid all the chaos, it is difficult to care for an area’s stray or feral cats, so concerned people must step up to the task. Because community cats are generally too feral to be trapped or kept inside during a natural disaster, it is important to care for them where they live. Doing this helps ensure that the cats have ample access to food, water and dry places to sleep and escape the weather.
Here’s what you can do to help homeless cats when a natural disaster strikes your area:
Make a List
The first step in providing adequate care for homeless cats is to compile a list of all the cats in the community before disaster strikes. If possible, take a photo of each cat and assign names or numbers to help identify individuals. That way, you can attempt to locate a community cat that goes missing or is unaccounted for.
The single most important survival tactic for community cats during a natural disaster is staying warm and dry. By building a shelter, you can help them do this. Quick, inexpensive shelters can be made by cutting a hole in a large, lidded plastic storage tub and lining the area with straw or blankets. Keep the shelters dry and sheltered from high winds by positioning them with their entrances facing a solid object.
Move Shelters to High Ground
Most natural disasters pose a high risk of flood and, should the water level rise, cats need to be able to take shelter on high ground. Heavy-duty shelving units and palates are great resources for creating elevated structures. Be sure to secure the shelters so they are not blown off in high winds.
Cover Feeding Stations
Cats still need to eat in the event of a disaster. In order to keep their food dry, cover outdoor feeding stations with tarps. Alternately, you can build a plywood lean-to that is secured with heavy nails. Having a dry place to eat is crucial for cats to survive a natural disaster.
Provide Ample Food
If you have an accessible outbuilding, stockpile it with dry food, beds and litter boxes. This will give cats a sheltered, dry place to wait out the storm.
Move Dangerous Objects
Do a quick survey of the community cats’ homes. Is there anything that can become airborne or dangerous in high winds? If so, remove the object and throw it away or store it in a safe place until the storm passes.
Although community cats are resourceful and intelligent, surviving a natural disaster is hard without help. When community cats have assistance from humans, though, they are very capable of surviving severe storms. By taking the above steps and enlisting other concerned pet parents to help care for the community cats, you can help cats make it through a natural disaster unharmed.