How To Not Kill Your Pets in a Hurricane

It’s very easy to kill your household animals in a hurricane. The easiest way is to suddenly panic and have to leave your house and lock your animals in it. Or, if you live in Red Hook, perhaps you will lock your chickens in their coop and then leave the neighborhood, forcing your neighbors to risk their lives in chest-deep water to save them. In other parts of town, people locked up or tied up dogs and cats, because they didn’t know what to do, and left birds in cages—and abandoned them. These things happen! Most of us would agree that it is better to save yourself first when things suddenly go south. (I say “most” because Morrissey would definitely not agree.) The good news, at least, is: it’s really hard to kill cats, even if you lock them in a house when an enormous storm surge is coming. They will get out, they will swim and climb trees. They will use dogs as floatation devices. They will DEAL WITH IT. And then they will scratch your face off when you come back. Reasonable.

As always, the tip to not killing animals is: preparation.

In the tri-state area, we’ve all learned a little—or possibly quite a lot—about hurricane preparedness this month. My top three hurricane priorities are now:

1. Having cash on hand before the storm for when credit card readers and cash registers and ATMs no longer work, and also for when we become a post-apocalyptic society overnight (also this is when you buy “cigarettes” and “ground coffee” and “bread”);

2. Having water in the house, so, filling up bathtubs and sinks;

3. And getting the pet carriers out and putting them by the door, well before the storm comes. And “having a plan” about where to take them. So that way, even if I lose everything I own and feel terrible and become destitute, at least I haven’t killed these particular animals too!

Here is a video from the Humane Society! On the bright side, a lot of animals probably didn’t die in Sandy because the City repeated very loudly that emergency centers were pet-friendly, and because a lot of people were prepared. So now we are ready for the next hurricane, which will be in approximately seven months, because, “climate change.” This time, take your iguanas with you.