If you are here for the first time, let me tell you what this is all about. Basically, I realized that I and my family were woefully unprepared for earthquakes, or really, any major disaster. Yet, when I started looking into what I needed to do to prepare, most of what I found was overwhelming. I also realized that getting prepared can be stressful, and that in itself was blocking me.

So I decided to start blogging my progress, and also to break it down into discreet tasks so that it was more manageable. Some weeks I have been more successful than others. This blog is the story of that journey.

I have tried to categorize every post so that this can be a resource as well. Eventually I will better organize what I have learned and done so that this can be more of a tool for others.

Meanwhile, welcome, enjoy the ride!


Here’s a fun quick quiz to see how ready you are. From the Red Cross. Enjoy!


Thanks to the CDC — all the information you need to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. It could happen.

I just came across this on LifeHacker and had to share it. Finally a use for evil trans-fat-laden Crisco. I have some in my cupboard because it is hard to find other shortenings, but I really would prefer to not cook with it. Now I can just keep it with the emergency supplies!

Make an Emergency Candle Out of a Tub of Crisco

The kitties have brand new collars. Muddle is a pirate, Zelda has hearts (our daughter’s request). It was good I checked because Muddle’s old break-away collar no longer opened. So now I have learned that I have to remember to check those collars periodically.

Looking at my to-do list from a couple posts ago, here is what I have done:

  • Did not put rabies tags on collars. They were too big. I decided the only scenario where we need them is if we have to put the cats in a shelter, so they will be with their other paperwork and the carry cases. Did replace collars, however.
  • Went online and updated all of their microchip information. They are now identifiable!
  • Put animal alert decals at the front and back doors.
  • Instead of a first aid kit, I bought a book: Pet First Aid from the Red Cross. Maybe I will get a kit later, but for now, this will have to do, along with the first aid supplies I have for people.
  • Do not have a portable litter box — just need to stop by hardware store and pick up a plastic dish tub. There are very few scenarios where we need this: We would have to be shut out of our  house, yet still have the cats with us. In the car, maybe? I do plan to have something on-hand — right now if I had to, I have one in the camping gear. (All of which we might grab if we really had to evacuate. I keep it all next to the emergency supplies.)
  • Still need to pick up some extra litter, or at least set some aside. But if we had to use dirt or sand, I’m sure the cats would figure it out eventually.
  • I took photos of the kitties. Not very good ones, but they are recognizable. I made single pages with a picture of one cat, her name and our contact info. I will put one copy of each with our household kit, and in each of the go-bags in our cars.
  • I made cards with their vet’s contact info, as well as the phone number and address of Animal Control, which we know will be a shelter in case of emergency.
  • I copied all of their immunization records.
  • And finally, I decided that if we did somehow need to flee with the cats, it would be good to have cat harnesses with leashes. Not that the cats would like it, but it might be useful. So I ordered them today and will add them to the kit.

To recap:

In go-bags in our cars, I have photos of the cats, vet and shelter contact info.

At home, ready to grab and go, I have:

  • Carriers
  • Harness/leash
  • Vaccine records
  • Photos
  • First aid book
  • Cat food
  • Emergency contact info (vets and shelters)

I was looking on Petco‘s web site to see if they carried first aid kits for pets, since they are fairly near to me. Instead I found this: and online course teaching basic first aid for animals. I can’t tell if you learn much beyond the basic first aid you might already know for people, but a dozen or so people seemed thrilled with it.

This is not an endorsement — just sharing what I found in case anyone is interested.

I am also still trying to figure out what goes into a pet first aid kit that might be different than a people first aid kit.

As you know, part of the purpose of this blog is to keep me accountable as I move through all of this. So this post will summarize my personal to-do list, based on the previous post.

  • Put rabies tags on cats collars
  • Figure out if microchips are up-to-date
  • Make copy of vaccination records
  • Obtain
    • First-aid kit
    • Alert decals
    • Portable litter box
    • Extra litter
    • Better carriers? Ours are cardboard from when they were adopted. Hmmm…
    • Make list of emergency contact #s
    • Create photos of cats, put copies in all go-bags and emergency kits.
    • Print out my instructions and place with emergency kit.

I think that’s it! Much less scary now that I sorted it all out. Now I know what I need to do this week.

The hardest thing for me about this whole project has been sifting through all the information out there. There are plenty of sites with checklists, but I find that the checklists barely distinguish between minimum preparedness and full-on-I-can-live-for-30-days-or-even-a-year preparedness, or even first steps and next steps. They seem to be all or nothing. And since I am trying to create manageable tasks here, it can all be a little overwhelming. Even something as seemingly simple as pets seems to have many sets of instructions.

funny pictures of cats with captionsFollowing is what I have learned about being prepared to take care of your household animals in an emergency. Most of it applies to cats and dogs; other pets (birds, rodents, reptiles etc) may require more specialized handling. Visit RedCross.org for more specific information on other animals.

Everyday readiness:

  • Cats and dogs should always have a collar with current license (if applicable) and ID tags.
  • Consider micro-chipping your pets.
  • Aquariums should be fastened down to a low table.
  • Bird cages should have secure latches.
  • Keep your pets’ vaccines up-to-date.
  • Plan with neighbors how you can help each other if one or the other is unavailable.

Have on-hand for emergencies:

  • An animal rescue alert sticker visible to rescue workers. But know that they are going to look for and help people first.
  • Carriers, crates, leashes, muzzles for transportation. Pillowcases are a good option for transporting cats and other small animals.
  • Have a go-bag for each pet:
    • Water, food & medicine for at least one week.
    • Non-spill bowls, manual can opener (this should be in your food kit anyway)
    • Pet-specific first aid kit
    • Waste collection (litterbox + litter, plastic bags)
    • Pet bed, blankets, toys, other comfort items. Heating pad for reptiles.

In case of evacuation:

  • Do your best to locate your animals and keep them with you. However, many shelters do not accept pets (other than service animals). Know where the closest animal shelters are.
  • Write EVACUATED across any rescue alert stickers if possible
  • If you must leave your pets behind:
    • Mark your door or window with chalk or marker indicating # and type of pets in the home. Also evacuation date.
    • Leave plenty of water in a large open container that cannot be tipped over.
    • Leave plenty of food, preferably in timed feeders.
    • Do NOT tie up your pet in your home.

Remember, animals, like people, react differently under stress. Your pets may panic, hide, try to escape, scratch or bite. If you are transporting them, keep them under control with leashes or carriers.


  • Emergency numbers: vet, animal shelters, emergency animal hospitals, animal care and control
  • Recent photo of your pet, and of you with your pet with detailed description (for proof of ownership and reunification purposes)
  • Immunization records and information on any medical or behavioral problems
  • Microchip records
  • Make a copy of all these instructions and keep it with your own go-bag. You won’t remember it all!

A useful checklist I came across: Red Cross Pet & Disaster Safety Checklist

I’ve been researching pet preparedness, but derailed myself by looking at go-bags again. If you have been reading along with me, you know that I finally bought a 4-person kit that I put into our primary car. I added a few things to it, but not much.

What I had not done was put a bag in Jon’s car or at his workplace. (I work from home.) His car is always in a parking garage right near his office, so I have been resisting putting a bag in both places, but I think I am being foolish.

After reading way too many reviews, I settled on this one: Quakehold! 70280 Grab-n-Go Emergency Kit, 2-Person 3-Day Back Pack. It’s not the most complete, but it has the basics and I can supplement it. And even though it is branded “Quakehold” on Amazon, it seems to actually be the ReadyAmerica bag, same as I purchased before (in the 4-person version), so I am comfortable with the quality. One key thing that I think is missing is a radio/flashlight/phone charger, so I am also picking up a couple of these: Ambient Weather WR-088 Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio, Flashlight, Cell Phone Charger (Blue) with Cables.

The purpose of these bags are really to sustain Jon solo, or possibly with our daughter. There are extremely few scenarios where we would all three be together with Jon’s car or at his office.

Ok, back to pet care!

Smoke detector batteries are all functioning. 4 out of 5 flashlights found. Have to figure out how to convince the 5-year old that her flashlight needs to stay in her room. I have this feeling it’s in the car, so will check there next.

Now, on to pet care readiness.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7 other followers

Take the Quake Quiz