Tips for pets?

What are peoples plans and more importantly tips to dealing with pets in a situation where bugging out is prudent?  We have two cats, both are leash trained and very easy to get into their crates.  Travel by car is a non issue for them.  We also have a gallon bag of food for them in my bag.  I am worried about having to ditch the car though.  Any hints on supplies we should have, training we should do, or any other things?  


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  • Comments (18)

    • 6

      Great question. I have 3 big dogs and am definitely not prepared to go anywhere on foot with them. Could y’all carry them in a pouch in front and have your backpacks in the back?  

      • 6

        Yes, though I think we would try to use their carriers as long as possible.  It gives them some continuity of something that is ‘theirs’, and contains them if it turns into a multi day by foot situation.  

    • 7

      Some suggestions:

      • For a litterbox, I have a plastic jug of cat litter, a box of litterbox liners and a scoop. These all go in a plastic tote just large enough to hold them. That way I can dispose of the used litter and pack it all back in the same container. I’m assuming I’m not going to carry these in a backpack – they go in the car.
      • Make a list of the phone numbers and addresses of the pet-friendly hotels along your evacuation routes. As soon as you know you’re going to be evacuating, call a friend or family member who lives out of the area & ask them to call ahead and get you a reservation (or two). If you’re stuck on the road with hundreds of other cars, the cell phone service may get overloaded. I can say from experience that this is a really useful plan & a huge stress saver.
      • Don’t forget the water dish & water.
      • For our dog, I portioned-out a couple of medium-sized amounts of food and vaccuum-sealed them in separate bags. It was easier to pack this way and it kept the food fresh & bug free. This would obviously work for the cats’ food too (and in fact, I need to do this!)
      • I don’t have much experience with cats on a leash, but I wonder what kind of progress you would actually make if you had to walk with them. Perhaps one of those folding wagons would be a better idea? Keep the cats in the crates & put the crates in the wagon along with the heavy food & water.
      • As you’ve already seen, cats are actually pretty resilient travellers. Give them lots of attention during the trip, and they should be ok.

      Hope that’s helpful.

      – WS

      • 5

        Thanks.  Very helpful.  I will look into the vac sealing partitions and the pet friendly hotels.  That is a great idea.  As far as the leash I don’t expect to walk them there, we would never get anywhere, more a comment on things we have/how they behave.  So in camp or hotel they might get leashed, otherwise crate.  

      • 3

        This was helpful for me as well.  My husband and I have had similar questions as Scott for our pet rabbits.  We’ve had to evactuate via car with them before which went pretty smoothly.  Vacuum sealing their food is something I’d not thought to do as it is pretty shelf stable but that would definitely ensure it’s dry and keep it fresher – thanks!  In a bugout scenario, the animals are likely to not be themselves as they key off of atypical sounds/smells and your behavior which will also be out of the norm. So assume they won’t behave as they normally do.  The carrier is likely your best bet, but hiking with it will be difficult.   I’d not considered the foldup wagon for the carrier – brilliant idea.  And I have one already.  It would also permit us to add some Aquabricks of water in with them and still make progress.  I know from vet visits that we wouldn’t get far otherwise as the ergonomics would wear on us quickly even without a heavy pack on our backs.  

      • 4

        Glad to hear that was helpful!

        FWIW: when I vacuum seal the pet food, I put the food into a ziplock bag first. But I don’t fully zip the bag closed: I leave a small opening for the air to get out. Then I put the ziplock bag into the sealer bag, and then vacuum & seal.

        When it’s time to open the sealed bag, the food is already contained in a ziplock bag that I can dispense a bit of food from and then reclose. No need to scrounge around for something to keep the pet food bag closed.


    • 4

      My 1st thought was making sure you have enough water for them. It’s more weight for your packs in addition to what you’re already carrying bear in mind. For dogs it’s an oz of water per lb of dog. Not sure what the conversion is for cats…

    • 3

      A little off topic but how hard was it leash training your cats? Do certain breeds take to it easier? I’ve seen videos of it but always struggled to call it legit.

    • 3

      Hello. If you are concerned about having to ditch your car, it may be a good idea to look into a backpack or vest you can wear, in order to carry your cats. They come in different colors and styles. Then you can use your hands to carry your B. O. B. (Bug Out Bag), in an emergency.  

      If your cats’ crate is collapsable, you may tie that to your B.O.B., until you reach your campsite or destination. Then: 1. Set up the crate for your cats. 2. Immediately set up your camp tent, etc. 3. Walk your cats to calm them, fill their water and dry food.  4. Clean their bowls and put their (and your) food in a safe tight container. 5. Don’t let them wander because they may fall prey to: injury, stray dogs, coyotes, or mean people. 

      * Dog owners may need to look into a back pack their dogs may carry. They come in All Sizes, and colors…camo-style, too.  Go to Amazon.com, and look under Pet Supplies. Type in:  dog backpacks.   Chewy.com also carries them, as does Baxter.com.  

      Best wishes for you and your cats.

      • 2

        I I just remembered to mention that Pet shops or Amazon.com sell large or small collapsable pet bowls for B.O.B., also!! I have two of them. 

        Good luck everyone.

    • 3

      I have a Maine Coon cat, which means she’s big and weighs about 16 pounds. We’ve taught her to ride on top of our backpacks. She’s leashed to the pack via a soft halter vest.  If it’s raining, we have pack covers and she can peek out. Alternatively, we can carry her in a Cat-in-the-bag carrier sling (below). GoTags stainless pet ID tags w/microchip info are on her halter, her go-bag duffle, and on her hard sided carrier if we’re evac-ing by car.

      I have a small go-bag duffle for her that I can hand carry or clip to the bottom of a pack with carabiners or lash to the back of a pack. It contains–

      DUFFLE (16″ x 9″ x 9″)

      Halter & leash
      Carrying sling (cat-in-the-bag: confining & comforting)
      3-days kibble in ziplock
      Filled metal water bottle (24-32 oz.)
      Food & water bowls (collapsable)
      3—pee pads
      Travel towel (can double as sleeping pad)
      Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blanket
      Contractor’s garbage bag (use as a rain cover, etc.)
      Petsfit foldable, waterproof, fabric litter box
      Ziplock w/… oz. clumping litter + 3 disposable gloves to remove clumps
      Poo bags and/or small bagged trowel for burying
      Comb or brush
      Cat First Aid Kit (see below)
      Flea & tick medication
      Bach Flower Remedy & Feliway spray
      Toys (incl. catnip)
      Document ziplock bag + thumb drive (see below)
      Paracord bracelet by The Friendly Swede


      Ziplock or other waterproof bag (all info also on thumb drive)
      Vet, pet sitter, neighbor info.
      Photos—front and side views
      Pre-made posters for missing pet
      Wallet photos w/pet name to show rescue workers
      Proof of vaccinations, medical records, microchip info
      Proof of ownership
      Window rescue sticker for house: “PET TYPE” / “NAME”

      CAR EVAC

      Airplane-approved carrier
      Carrier ID tag & document ziplock bag & thumb drive
      Cat Go-Bag (if flying, use as ‘personal item’)
      Pee pad as top layer + extras underneath sleeping pad
      K&H Pet Products self-heating sleeping pad as bottom layer
      Small litter scoop
      Fur & disinfectant wipes


      Clotit blood clotting powder
      Cotton balls & swabs
      Gauze pads, non-stick
      2—Cotton undercast padding 3”x12”
      2—Gauze rolls 2” wide
      3M Medipore bandage tape
      Medi-First triple antibiotic packets
      Ocusoft eye wash / flush—then >
      Systane Ultra lubricating eye drops
      Tick remover
      Benadryl, 25mg
      Digital thermometer
      Dyna Lube individual packets
      Space blanket
      Nylon cat muzzle (restain when freaked)
      2—Nitrile gloves

      Wahl trimmer, AA-battery-powered
      1—SuperBand Instant cold pack

      • 2

        The Wahl trimmer is because she’s a Maine Coon, furry, and gets knots. ONLY carried in car evacs. Otherwise I’ll just cut them out.

      • 1

        This would be an AWESOME kit on ThePrepared’s Kit Builder https://theprepared.com/kits/. I’d love to see it on there someday!

        I had a Maine Coon cat growing up. We had to shave it sometimes because it did get very long hair that would knot up if we didn’t brush it every day.

      • 1

        Done!  Wow, that was a labor of love…took forever!

      • 1

        You made a kit!? Can you share it here? I would love to see it!

        Let me know if you need any help. 

      • 2

      • 2

        I created a series of bags: go-bag, first aid bag, and auto/airline evac items. Not inexpensive, but I already owned almost everything on these lists, so it wasn’t painful 😉

      • 1

        Wow A2! This is very very impressive! Thank you so much for taking the time to make it. I am sure it will be a great guide to many others.