Disaster Preparedness Manual
Melissa J. Nixon, DVM

Cats often sense earthquakes before they hit. They may also be very sensitive to the signals that something like a hurricane, wildfire, tornado, volcanic eruption, tsunami, storm, or flood is on the horizon. Unfortunately, they often choose to hide in these circumstances. We try to educate owners to confine cats early, but of course it is not always possible for them to do so.

In wildfires, cats are our most frequent victims of burns and smoke inhalation. Firefighters have told me they see cats streaking through fire lines with their tails on fire, setting new spot fires along the way.

The demonstration tonight will cover:

 How to put a cat into a carrier (backwards!) and get them out again.

 Giving a cat oral medication.

 The use of a towel and a cat bag for restraint.

 Muzzling a cat.

 Coaxing a cat out of hiding.

 Decontamination of a cat.

 Scanning for a microchip.

 Physical restraint techniques used by veterinary technicians.

Signs of illness in a cat:

 Coughing, sneezing, wheezing, gagging, labored breathing

 Discharge from eyes, nose, or ears

 Vomiting, diarrhea

 Straining to pass urine or stool

 Loss of appetite

 Depression, chin tucked posture, chin stretched posture

 Lameness, unwillingness to move

 Sudden crankiness or yowling

 Excessive water drinking

 Ill kept, patchy, or balding coat

Health considerations:

 Kitties have several serious viral diseases such as FeLV, FIV, calicivirus, and distemper that may be contagious between cats. These may be transmitted via the air, via your hands, via bites, or via shared litter pans and bedding.

 Cats also can carry rabies. Report all cat bites to the human first aid station so the cat can be quarantined or tested.

 Cats may have other infections such as bacterial eye infections, ringworm, or mange that can be transmitted to each other and to human handlers.

 Cats can die of heat stress; do not ever leave an occupied cat carrier in the sun or in an overheated transport vehicle.

 Straining to urinate or passing small amounts of bloody urine is a medical emergency!

 Cats often have ear mites; these are very itchy and cause a dark brown discharge in the ear canals.


 Each cat should have its own litter pan, cage, food and water bowls, and sleeping towel.

 1 part bleach:20 parts water can be used to clean cages and litter pans. The cat should not be exposed to the wet solution.

 Good ventilation is important.


 Pillow cases can be used for kitties if we run out of cat carriers.

Speaker Information
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Melissa J. Nixon, DVM

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