Cat Evacuation Plan

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  • Everybody should have an evacuation plan in place. There are many reasons you may have to pack up and evacuate your premises quickly including natural disasters such as bushfires, tornados, floods etc., and also house fires. The key to a successful evacuation is to prepare for the unexpected. Evaluate evacuation plans during non-disaster times so you will be prepared and able to get yourselves and your cats out of danger.

    Plan ahead

    This is important. Most evacuations happen on short notice, preparation can make a huge difference.

    If there is a situation that could lead to danger and or evacuation (such as bushfires in the area) bring your pets indoors. It is easier to round them up if they are all indoors, should the situation change and you are ordered to evacuate. If you do have to evacuate your home, don’t leave your pets behind. If it’s dangerous for you, it’s dangerous for them.

    Equipment and supplies for your cat

    • Cat carriers: You should have a suitable cat carrier on hand to evacuate cats in a hurry. Having carriers stored in the garage or under a pile of old furniture is not going to be of help in an emergency. However, if you are caught out without a carrier and have to get out immediately then a pillowcase may be used as a temporary measure to get your cat out of immediate danger. Get your cat familiar with the carrier, so in the event of an emergency, you don’t have to wrestle with him to get him in.
    • Identification: Make sure your cat is always suitably identified, either with a microchip or a collar with a tag. Some countries (not Australia) require that your cat has a rabies tag. Check with your veterinarian or local authorities on your obligations.
    • Cat food and water:  For at least three days.
    • Food and water bowls.
    • Litter trays and cat litter: Large aluminium roasting pans can replace litter trays.
    • Plastic bags: To dispose of litter.
    • A current photo of your pet, if possible include any identifying marks on your cat, so you can prove ownership.
    • Medical records: Include dates the cat was last vaccinated and any medications. If you have more than one cat, you will need to stipulate which cat is on which medication. For example, ‘Coco (black cat) is on X number of insulin shots twice a day’.
    • Proof of ownership:  This could be a receipt, adoption papers, microchip papers.
    • Important information: A card with details including your name, your cat’s name, your phone number, your veterinarian’s phone number, the phone number of a friend or relative and the cat’s medical details.

    Emergency accommodation

    Do you have a place for your pet to stay in the event of an emergency? If you are evacuated to a shelter, your pets may well not be allowed permitted due to health regulations. Places to may be able to board your cat include:

    • Boarding cattery
    • Some veterinary hospital
    • Pet-friendly motels
    • Friend or relative

    Keep a list of emergency accommodation for your cat in your emergency kit.


    • There may be a situation where you are away from home. Leave a spare key with a trusted friend, neighbour or pet sitter so they can access your pets if you cannot reach them. Tell them where your emergency kit is.
    • You can purchase stickers to place in a visible spot to alert emergency service workers to how many people and pets live in the house and what kind of pets they are. Place these on all major entrances to your home. Write the name and phone number of you and your veterinarian on the sticker. If you do evacuate your house and take your pets with you to write ‘evacuated’ across the sticker, so the workers know the pets are safe.



    • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

      Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio