Summer in Seattle can bring various challenges for pet parents, including wildfires, smoke, and heat waves. To ensure the well-being and safety of your feline companion, it’s crucial to take proactive measures.
Fire Preparation and Prevention
Having a plan in place for if a fire does occur, and implementing preventative measures is key to ensuring the safety of you and your furry friends.
1. Watch Open Flames
Pets should never be left unattended around open flames such as BBQs, candles, fireplaces, and gas stoves.
2. Pet Proof Your Home
Get covers for stove knobs, and make sure things such as wires and flammables are out of your pet’s reach.
3. Have a Plan
Include your pets in your family emergency plan. Have hard-sided carriers easily accessible, prepare an emergency bag, and practice evacuating with your pets. You should have a separate carrier for each pet. Make sure that they are comfortable by using positive reinforcement such as giving them treats when they use the carrier. Leave the carrier out where your pets can access it so that they are familiar with it.
4. Pet Window Sticker
Place a sticker or decal on your window indicating the number of pets in your home.
You can purchase decals online, there are many different styles. Choose one you like and stick it to your window so it’s visible from the outside.
5. ID Your Pets
Make sure your pets are microchipped and that the microchips are registered and up-to-date. Having an ID tag with your phone number on their collar can also ensure that they get back to you as quickly as possible if you are separated from them.
6. Cover the Unders
Block off small spaces where pets could hide or get trapped such as under the bed, couch, dresser, and other furniture items. Blocking off these spaces will make it so your pets can’t hide in small, hard-to-reach places in the event of an emergency, allowing you to locate and grab them quicker.
Defending Against Wildfire Smoke
1. Keep Your Pets Indoors:
During smoky conditions, it’s best to keep your pets indoors and windows shut. If your cat is accustomed to outdoor ventures, consider making the transition to indoor living permanently. Check our helpful article for a smooth transition process. (Include a hyperlink to the relevant article.)
2. Watch for Warning Signs:
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, seek veterinary assistance promptly:
- Coughing or gagging
- Difficulty breathing, including open-mouth breathing and increased noise
- Irritated eyes and excessive watering
- Throat or mouth inflammation
- Nasal discharge
- Asthma-like symptoms
- Rapid breathing
- Fatigue or weakness
- Disorientation or stumbling
- Reduced appetite and thirst
3. Filter the Air
Use air purifiers with a HEPA filtration system to help filter smoke.
4. Keep Space Ventilated
Ensuring the space has ventilation such as fans will prevent smoke from lingering and accumulating in one space.
Beating the Heat
While cats enjoy warmth, excessive heat poses risks.
1. Sun Safety:
Prevent heat-related issues by never leaving your cat in direct sunlight that they can’t move out of. Establish a shaded retreat, keeping in mind that shaded spots shift with the sun’s movement.
2. Hydration is Key:
Ensure your cat has access to fresh, cool water at all times to stay hydrated. Many cats don’t drink enough water on their own so providing a fountain or extra canned/wet food may be necessary.
3. Avoid Vehicle Entrapment:
Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, especially during warm weather. The inside of a car heats up much faster than the outside temperature and can become dangerous very quickly.
4. Mindful Exercise:
Balance exercise with caution on hot days. Extreme heat, obesity, old age, breed, and underlying health conditions can increase the risk of heat exhaustion and stroke. Be careful not to overdo it.
Taking Action for a Safer Summer
By implementing these recommendations, you can help ensure the safety and comfort of your feline friend during Seattle’s challenging summer conditions. With the right precautions, you’ll be well-equipped to face smoke, fire, and heat waves, keeping your furry companion happy and healthy.