Can Stray Cats Survive A Hurricane? The Revealing Ways

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Hurricanes can undoubtedly be one of the most devastating events for anyone to witness or go through. There are plenty of concerns surrounding the survival of humans and animals in such situations. It often helps when animals have caregivers looking out for them, but can stray cats survive hurricanes?

Many stray cats may be trapped, harmed, or killed in hurricanes and other natural disasters. However, many stray cats may flee hurricanes in advance or survive due to their resourcefulness. Stray cats are far more likely to survive a hurricane with the assistance of humans.

Ironically, stray cats may have a decent chance at survival in such harsh conditions since they are resourceful in handling themselves outdoors. But, this would depend on a wide range of circumstances and how severe the hurricane is. We’ve gathered everything you need to know about stray cats during a hurricane, as well as what you can do to make the environment a safer place for them in such an event.

Stray Cat

If you wonder what the best products are for your cat, check out this article that will break down all my recommendations for you: Things To Buy For A Cat Right Now!

Can Stray Cats Survive a Hurricane?

In theory, stray cats ‘can’ survive hurricanes with the appropriate circumstances and assistance from community members. While they are resourceful, many factors could strongly influence the chances of survival for these cats.

How Do Stray Cats Live?

By definition, a stray cat is any cat that has been abandoned by its human caregiver or has gone astray from its domestic home. They may become increasingly feral over time, depending on the environment, cat breed, and whether or not they begin to adapt to their new way of life. Thus, all stray cats are not equally resourceful, agile, healthy, or adept at living outdoors.

If a stray cat has plenty of experience due to living outdoors for quite some time, they would be more likely to have the necessary survival skills essential in a crisis.

On the other hand, stray cats that have not become accustomed to living outdoors – for example, a cat that has only been living on the street for a couple of weeks – would not have the expertise needed.

This inexperience in outdoor living does not mean they would not survive. However, all cats are more likely to survive due to their agility and ability to reach safe places (especially if they are high) compared to dogs. It does mean that stray cats with less expertise will not have as much knowledge of the area, knowledge of routes, or understanding of surviving through harsh weather.

This is as opposed to strays who have lived on the street for months or years, who would be knowledgeable of these factors and experienced in dealing with harsh weather.

Stray cats still have many of the same habits as domestic or feral cats.  One of those habits is cleanliness.  To learn more about if stray cats clean themselves: Do Stray Cats Clean Themselves?

The Severity of Hurricanes

The severity of the hurricane will play the most considerable role in determining the survival chances for humans and animals being affected by it. There are times when hurricanes are simply too harsh, even for cats who have been conditioned by harsh winters throughout their lives. Planning is the most effective strategy for saving lives.

How Do Stray Cats Survive Hurricanes?

Animals have a marvelous way of sensing danger in the days leading up to the natural disaster. This frequently aids stray cats in detecting risk long before it is imminent and acting upon this sense with their group.

Stray Cat

Stray Cats Relocate Beforehand

Many stray cats will decide to leave the area before the hurricane occurs, and these cats are unlikely to face any harsh conditions during the event. Within the days leading up to the hurricane, stray cats may decide to leave in search of any area which they feel will be suitable for hiding or surviving whatever it is they are sensing.

Stray Cats are Resourceful

Even though many stray cats flee the area and relocate entirely, some stick around up until the event takes place. Whether this is because they chose to stay, we’re unable to leave, or because they missed the memo is unknown.

But, these cats may still have a decent chance at survival, particularly if the community had put several assistance measures in place. These cats will seek shelter and hide, which is aided by in-depth knowledge of the outdoors and shortcuts in the area.

What Happens to Stray Cats During a Hurricane?

Cats that have not relocated search for areas that will keep them safe, warm, and dry. While feeding may become an issue during this time, there may be enough surrounding water to keep them hydrated at least. The risk of cats being wet and cold is the most considerable concern for their health, in addition to the risk of them being trapped or injured.

Stray cats are resourceful, but this ‘resourcefulness’ is somewhat limited to the available resources. This means that despite their ability to sense the danger beforehand, topped with their best efforts to find suitable shelter and sustenance, they may simply be unable to achieve the goal in time.

The challenges around food during a hurricane are a concern, as mentioned above. To learn more about if stray cats die of hunger: Do Stray Cats Die Of Hunger?

Where Do Stray Cats Go During a Hurricane?

Stray cats tend to move to higher ground as their first instinct, as these areas are less prone to flooding, which decreases the risk of the cats drowning, becoming trapped, or being injured by debris.

Community measures can assist in mitigating these dangers significantly. This is particularly true if the measures have been put in place long before the natural disaster occurs. This is since stray cats will already be aware of the resources that have been made available to them and will know where to go for safety.

If you have direct contact with stray cats, you may wonder if they grow attached to people.  To learn more about if stray cats get attached to one person: Do Stray Cats Get Attached To One Person?

How to Help Stray Cats

During Hurricane Katrina, it was estimated that around 250,000 cats and dogs were displaced or killed, which gives a precise estimate of the danger to these innocent beings. With that estimate, one can only imagine the loss of animal life in even more severe natural disasters.

There has been far more effort in saving animals in recent years, whereby various disaster relief plans have been created. The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to rescue, shelter, and care for animals who are affected by natural disasters as well.

More than 30 states have adopted the laws and relevant principles needed to save animals, including doorstep colonies. These communities have also made various efforts beforehand to prevent community stray cats’ loss and assist in sheltering them from the conditions. This was demonstrated during Hurricane Harvey, which showed massive improvement in the rescue of cat life.

Certain protocols have been put in place, including animal-friendly meeting spots, alert stickers to indicate the number of animals that need to be rescued, keeping photos of the animals on hand, and various other measures. Although these measures can be applied to stray cats’ doorstep colonies, many of the other actions are more suitable for domesticated pets.

If you are going to help stray cats, make sure you are careful about it.  To learn more about if stray cats carry diseases: Do Stray Cats Carry Diseases?

To learn about stray cats and if they carry rabies, which is a dangerous disease: Do Stray Cats Carry Rabies?

How to Provide Shelter to a Stray Cat?

If it is known that there is a hurricane coming, it’s advised to trap stray cats who are pregnant, as well as kittens and mothers, and place them somewhere safe beforehand. While this is not usually recommended, it is necessary in the event of imminent danger. The fact that such measures are applicable is also because stray cats are far more socialized when compared to feral cats.

This brings up a good question about the socialization of stray cats.  To learn more about if stray cats can be affectionate, check out my article on the subject: Can Stray Cats Be Affectionate?

Outdoor cat shelters and feeding stations should be moved to higher grounds, secured to fixed structures, and covered with a tarp as a means to assist any stray cats who have not been relocated. The shelters’ openings should face away from the direction of storm surges and should be weighted down securely.

Nearby objects should be tied down as well so that they do not become airborne and risk more damage or potential harm to the cats. In some cases, garages and sheds may be useful if they are located on higher ground.

Leave excessive dry food as well as plenty of blankets and towels. Water bowls shouldn’t be used since the shelter should remain as dry as possible, and dispensed water would be a better hydration option. Those who have committed to caring for doorstep colonies should also keep emergency supplies and pet first aid kits with them so that they may make use of them upon their return to the shelters.

Many cats may take some time to resurface after the hurricane has passed, as they will be understandably traumatized and fearful. There is also the unfortunate risk of some stray cats hiding in tight spots and becoming trapped. These cats should be searched for in debris when the hurricane has cleared, as they may still survive if found in time.

Hunkering down in shelters like this will affect some of the everyday life habits of a stray cat.  One of those habits, like all cats, is around bowel movements and burying poop.  To learn more about if stray cats bury their poop: Do Stray Cats Bury Their Poop?


Video: After Hurricane, Cat Rescued From Swamp

There is undoubtedly horrific aftermath when it comes to hurricanes, but this can be significantly decreased with appropriate steps and measures beforehand. While stray cats are resourceful, agile, and intelligent masters at surviving outdoors, they can always benefit from humans’ support and assistance. Consult authorities and members of your community to find out what could be done to help stray cats in your area survive these events.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out a couple of others:

  • Do Cats Like Strollers? (The Honest Truth): Click Here.
  • Will Stray Cats Drink Antifreeze? Scary Info Here: Click Here.
  • Why Siamese Cats Appear Cross-Eyed: Its Great Info: Click Here.

Here are some of my favorite cat products

In addition to checking out some other More Meows articles, I hope you’ll check out some of my favorite cat products as well.  These are affiliate links, so if you end up using them, I’ll get a commission at no extra cost to you.  These are the products I really do find most helpful.

Litter Box:  I started out with normal, traditional litter boxes for my cat.  Then, I tried this automatic litter box on Amazon (affiliate link), which helped reduce the litter upkeep.  Finally, I am now a believer in the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on Amazon (affiliate link).  This robotic litter box is not for everyone based on the price tag, but for me the benefits (very little upkeep, works efficiently, clean, mobile app) far outweighed the cost. 

My Cat’s Litter-Robot 3 Connect (with night light on) – See the link above the photo!

Cat Tree:  I have purchased a couple of this Amazon Basics Cat Tree on Amazon (affiliate link).  My cat spends a lot of time on and around this cat tree, which I position near my sofa.  She uses the scratching posts on this cat tree multiple times a day, which means she is not scratching the sofa instead.

Cat Water Fountain:  I love this cat water fountain on Amazon (affiliate link).  There are three main benefits to having a water fountain like this for your cat.  The first benefit is that it keeps water running so that your cat doesn’t need to drink still water.  The second benefit is that it filters the water.  The third benefit is that it will keep your cat hydrated!

Christopher Carlson

I have an Domestic Shorthair Tabby named Charlotte. She is full of energy when she isn't sleeping most of the day. I share what I learn about cats on this site.

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