Keeping pets safe in the face of Frankenstorm

With coffee in hand we are battening down the hatches here at home as Hurricane Sandy barrels toward coastl, expecting to make landfall somewhere between the Chesapeake Bay and the New Jersey shore.

The satellite TV went down about 10 minutes ago and the storm is still hundreds of miles away off Cape Hatteras, NC.

According to news reports all evacuation shelters in NY. NJ and Philadelphia are pet friendly! So if you live in a low-lying area and must leave your home you may take your pet with you.

We are tucked away well inland from the storm and our 1830 log cabin is on high ground in central Pennsylvania apple country. Nonetheless we are making preparations for a power outage. (No offense Adams Electric Cooperative, we love you and you've done a great job keeping our power on when those big utilities fail.)

First things first, water and light. We have checked all flashlights and they are in working order. We tried to buy extra D batteries at the supermarket yesterday but, no kidding, a woman who walked in the store three paces ahead of me snagged the last packages.

Along with making sure you have enough food, don't forget to set aside water, especially if you have a well. You will lose water if your power goes out because the well pump will stop. So over at the barn where I keep my two horses about 20 miles southwest of where I live we have filled up troughs of water, as well as putting tarp over some openings in the side of the barn. The property where they reside is slightly elevated where the house and barn are situated but it is wrapped around three sides by a creek which always floods, even in heavy downpours, so we are expecting to have to slog in on foot at some point.

We also are filling buckets of water at home for the cats - this is why God put litter in buckets, no doubt!  

Here are some storm prep tips from the ASPCA:

*Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster.

*Make sure all pets wear collars and ID tags with up-to-date identification. Micro-chip your pet as a more permanent form of identification.

*Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, pet food and medications, and pet first aid supplies. Take this with you if you evacuate.

*Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. Do not leave your pets behind.

*Choose a designated caregiver who can take care of your pet in the event you are unable.

To those I would add, stock up on water and DO NOT use candles in a home with pets - especially cats. No one wants the possibility of a tip over and fire amid the storm.