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Feature January 2013 Issue

Important Steps You Can Take Today for your Cat

An emergency needn’t be large-scale to impact you and your cat. In fact, the odds are higher that the emergency will affect only you and your family. Even a problem that affects only you or other family members can have huge consequences for your cat. Examples would be an owner’s injury in a car accident with the cat left home alone; an explosion of a chlorine tanker that requires a quick evacuation of your neighborhood while you’re away from home; or simply a decision to spend the night somewhere else due to dangerous driving conditions while your cat is home unattended for more than one night. Here’s how to prepare for those situations:

- Designate a caregiver. Prepare specific pet care instructions. He or she will welcome written directions that specify where your cat’s food and litter box(es) are located, where his medical records are kept and how often he should be fed. Include contact information for your cat’s veterinarian and an emergency veterinary clinic.

- Authorize medical treatment. The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests that you prepare a pre-signed statement allowing your veterinarian to give your cat any necessary medical treatment should such treatment be needed during your absence. Put the statement with the written directions for your caregiver.

- Carry your pet disaster plan information with you. “Whether or not you live alone, you should have a plan for your pets,” says Dr. Rozanski. “Keep a card in your wallet with information about your cat(s) and contact information for whomever you’ve designated to care for your cat in case you are in an accident or are unable to speak.”

- Post a rescue alert sticker on a visible window. This notice alerts firefighters and rescue workers that a cat or cats are inside. You can order a free sticker on the ASPCA’s website, www.aspca.org — use the keyword “disaster.” The ASPCA advises that you write “evacuated” on the sticker if you and your cat leave. Some pet stores also sell the stickers.

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