That perennial Boy Scout motto should be yours, as well, when thinking about taking care of your pets in a disaster. Make a portable pet disaster supply kit, and include the following:
• A first aid kit, medications and veterinary records. Medications and records should be stored in a water-tight container.
• Sturdy leashes and carriers to transport pets safely. Ensure that your animals can’t escape. If you lose your pet in a chaotic situation, he or she will be frightened, disoriented and probably unable to get back to you.
• Dogs and cats should have buckle collars with current identification tags. If you know where you will be housing your pet, make a temporary ID tag by writing the information on masking tape with permanent marker and placing it on the collar. You can also purchase temporary tags at pet supply stores. In addition to visible ID, a microchip is permanent identification that a pet can’t lose. Veterinary offices, animal shelters and many rescue organization have scanners to read microchip numbers.
• Current photographs of your pets.
• Food, bottled water, bowls, cat litter and litter box, and can opener.
• In the event you have to foster or board your pets, prepare information on feeding schedules, medical problems, behavior problems and the name and number of your veterinarian.
• Toys and pet beds, if they can be easily transported.
Birds need special consideration in case of a disaster. They should always be transported in a secure carrier or cage, large enough so they can stretch their wings. If the weather is cold, wrap the carrier in a blanket. If it’s warm, carry a plant mister to mist feathers every now and then. Don’t put water inside the carrier. Instead, provide fruits and vegetables with high water content. As with dogs and cats, pack a photo of your bird. If there’s no perch in the carrier, line the floor with paper towels and change them often. Try to keep the birds in a quiet place, and do not let them out of the carrier or cage.