I live in a state where a lot of natural disasters occur on a regular basis. There is the potential for blizzards, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and even earthquakes. You never know what can happen, and you have to be prepared for just about anything. As a result, I've set up a stash of emergency items. I have batteries, flashlights, water and food. My family has also set up an emergency plan, so we all know where to go and what to do if something happens. However, it recently came to my attention that we have not put anything into place with respect to our cat! He is like a member of our family, so I set about rectifying the situation immediately. I now have an emergency plan for the cat, so I feel confident that he will be safe if a natural disaster occurs. If you would like to do something similar for your own pet, read on for more information. Teach Your Pet To Respond To Commands It is impossible to predict how human beings will respond in emergency situations, and the same applies to pets. However, your pet is more likely to follow your commands if you train him to do so on a daily basis. For example, if you have a dog, make sure that he comes when you call his name. If you have a cat, make sure she is used to her travel crate and goes in without any fuss. If you and your pet establish a firm but loving relationship early on, that will only benefit you during an emergency situation. Go Beyond The Collar It is very common for pets to lose their collars. This is problematic in the event of an emergency because they have no way to be identified. In addition to a collar, make sure your pet is microchipped so that if you are separated, your pet can be returned to you. Be Aware Of Your Local Shelters If there is an emergency situation, you may need to leave your house and go to a shelter. Not all shelters are able to house pets as well. Therefore, it is important to research which shelters are close to you and which ones will allow pets. It may be that you need to take your pet to an animal shelter or a veternarian's office first. There may also be a hotel option that works for both your family and your pet. It is important to figure this all out in advance, so that you are not left scrambling at the last minute. Get Your Cell Phone Ready After you determine which shelter will work best for your needs, put the number to that shelter in your cell phone and save it. While it is true that your cell phone service may be interrupted in an emergency, you will still have access to the number and can call it on a landline or with the help of an emergency worker. Know First Aid Did you know that you can take a pet first aid class? The Red Cross offers programs for interested parties. Get Your Paperwork In Order If you find a shelter that will also accept your pet, look up the requirements. Many ask that your pet be up-to-date on their vaccinations, and they may also require that your pet be spayed or neutered. Therefore, it is important to have this paperwork handy, so you can prove that your pet is eligible to be in the shelter. It is always a good idea to keep an updated photograph with this information as well. Also, look into whether or not you need to register your pet with the shelter ahead of time. Get Family Or Friends On Board Talk to a family member or a friend about checking in on your pet in the event of an emergency. If you happen to be out of town, this individual should look in on your pet and make sure that he is okay. You need to give this person important information ahead of time, however. For example, make sure they know how to crate your pet and where you keep your emergency supplies. Also, give them permission to make decisions for your pet's care in your absence. Have A Travel Crate Handy Make sure you have a crate or a bag that can transport your pet somewhere following an emergency. A wire crate will not cut it. Make sure that whatever crate you have available is in good condition; purchase something else if you are concerned about its durability. Also, make sure you have several good collars, harnesses and leashes around. These items could make all the difference in getting your pet to safety after an emergency. Prepare An Emergency Kit Your pet needs an emergency kit too. Make sure to include water, bowls, food, any necessary medication, a leash, a travel crate, important paperwork, poop bags/cat litter, and a first aid kit.