Having a Plan

During this time when Hurricane Harvey is doing so much damage down in Texas, it makes me remember what we always called the “Just In Case”. This is a get-it/grab-it bag that holds the necessities that might be needed in a crisis or evacuation. Or, if it happens that you are confined to your home during a power outage, etc., it’s a good idea to have a plan of action, including a 72-hour emergency kit.

Why 72 hours? That’s the average time it usually takes for power to get back on, tree branches to be removed, and so on. The following list is an outline of what might come in handy should something unforeseen happen.

As the Girl Scouts always say, “be prepared.” And to that good advice I’ll add this: “Be prepared; not scared!

The following is a 72-hour emergency kit that you can adjust to your own particular needs. The hope is that you won’t ever need it, but who knows? It can’t hurt to be prepared.

The 72-Hour Emergency Kit

A 72-hour emergency kit should include the necessities for food, clothing, and shelter for each member of the family and pets, enough to last for 3 days. Remember that food items should be of the type that can be consumed when no refrigeration or cooking is available.

Food and Water

  • Protein/granola bars
  • Trail mix/dried fruit
  • Crackers/cereals (for munching)
  • Canned tuna, beans, turkey, beef, Vienna sausages, etc. Remember that “pop-top” cans that open without a can-opener may not always open correctly, so make sure you have at least one working can opener.
  • Canned juice
  • Candy/gum
  • Water (1 gallon/4 liters per person)

Bedding and Clothing:

  • Change of clothing (short and long sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, shoes, etc.)
  • Underwear
  • Rain coat/poncho
  • Blankets and Emergency Heat Blankets (the foil ones that keep in warmth)
  • Cloth sheet
  • Plastic sheet/tarp to use as a tent
  • Sleeping bag(s)

Fuel and Light:

  • Battery lighting (flashlights, lamps, etc.
  • Extra batteries
  • Flares
  • Candles
  • Lighter
  • Water-proof matches


  • Can opener
  • Dishes/utensils
  • Shovel
  • Radio (with batteries!)
  • Pen and paper
  • Axe
  • Pocket knife
  • Rope
  • Duct tape
  • Trash bags

Personal Supplies and Medication:

  • First aid supplies (see next section for Pet First Aid supplies)
  • Toiletries (roll of toilet paper- remove the center tube to easily flatten into a zip-lock bag, feminine hygiene, folding brush, etc.)
  • Cleaning supplies (mini hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, dish soap, etc.)
  • Immunizations up-to date
  • Medication (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, children’s medication etc.)
  • Prescription Medication (for 3 days)

Personal Documents and Money (place these items in a water-proof container!):

  • Legal documents (birth/marriage certificates, wills, passports, contracts, etc)
  • Vaccination papers
  • Insurance policies
  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • Pre-paid phone cards


  • Bag(s) to put 72-Hour Kit items in (such as duffel bags or back packs, which work great). Make sure that you can lift/carry it!
  • Infant/Elderly Needs (if applicable)
  • Update your 72-Hour Kit every three months (put a note in your calendar/planner) to make sure that: all food, water, and medication is fresh and has not expired; clothing fits; personal documents and credit cards are up to date; and batteries are charged.
  • Small toys/games are important too as they will provide some comfort and entertainment during a stressful time.
  • Pet food, dishes, water, leash, collar, carrier (be sure carrier has a waterproof label stating pet name, your name, address, phone number, & email), temporary litter box, blanket, toys, etc.

Pet First Aid Kit

Note: Be sure to check with your vet about what pet first aid items can or cannot be used for dogs, cats, etc.

Items for your pet first aid kit should include:

  • Latex gloves
  • Cotton (balls, sponges and rolls)
  • Cling wrap to bandage (such as Saran Wrap or Vet Wrap)
  • Splint material
  • Adhesive tape
  • Small scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle-nose pliers (for removing foreign objects from wounds)
  • Nylon Leash
  • Towels
  • Muzzle (soft fabric muzzle for dogs and restraint bag for cats)
  • Thermal blanket
  • Pediatric rectal thermometer; water-based lubricant
  • Antiseptic (such as Betadine)
  • Antihistamines (such as Benadryl, consult veterinarian for dosage)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Activated charcoal
  • 3 % hydrogen peroxide (induce vomiting and cleaning wounds)
  • Blood stopper such as Kwik Stop
  • Sterile saline wash for eyes
  • Emergency phone numbers for the vet and poison control
  • List of all pet’s medications and dosages
  • Board to strap pet with possible back injury
  • Baby aspirin


  • Pets and children read your body language. Be calm and don’t project hesitation or guilt.
  • The popular antibiotic Baytril comes in a chewable tablet; ask your vet about it.
  • Use Pill Pockets, which are edible food-grade material you put the pill inside.
  • Some pharmacists will put medication in beef, seafood or chicken.
  • Try Flavorex, liquid medication that comes in pet-friendly flavors.
  • Many pets will lick the liquid out of a spoon. Otherwise you can use a plastic syringe and squirt it into the corner of the pet’s mouth.
  • Medicated creams can be rubbed into the hairless part of your pet’s ear, and it will be absorbed into its system.


Products for the Paranoid Cat Owner

I admit it, I’m more than a little paranoid about our four cats; Nala, Pookie, Plumpy-Nut and Tinker. I am always bugging the Crankee Yankee to check our window and door locks, and to make sure that there isn’t a crack or hole or space of any kind upstairs (or as we call it, “Renovation City”) that any of our cats can slink out of without our knowledge. While Plumpy and Tinker are indoor/outdoor cats, they wear collars (reflective, of course) with their name tags, address and phone number and their Home Again tags (they were strays that we had been feeding and sheltering for months, so we finally just adopted them).

But just in case Nala and Pookie, the indoor/outdoor cats, should get out, they too wear collars with their ID and Home Again tags. It is probably overkill, but better safe than sorry. All this made me think of some great products for pet-owners like me who continually think up bizarre circumstances about their cats disappearing, etc. So, in no particular order, here’s my list so far:

  • Cat Carrier Security Strap – For cat carriers, since I don’t trust that I may one day pick one up with a cat inside, only to have it break open like a pinata, spilling the cat out into the dangerous territory of the world—a sturdy canvas strap with a padlock on it. This would go around the carrier to insure that it never breaks open; then you only have to unlock the padlock.
  • Attachable Safe Catio – custom-made “catio” ready to attach to the house; complete with one large room that is wall to wall grass and catnip so that they get that ‘roll in the garden’ fun, another room with cozy sleeping areas (complete with waterproof roll-down curtains in case of a sudden rain), and a circular area about 10′ high surrounding a tree so that they can climb in safety. All rooms of course will have sturdy ceilings to discourage birds of prey.
  • Safe Kitty Walkway – For those times with Plumpy and Tinker are outside, a sturdy covered walkway over the street (but not high enough to mess with power lines and heavy trucks) so that they can safely get across the street and back without danger. How will they stay on the walkway, you may ask? Easy—each step releases a treat and/or a live field mouse.
  • Alarm Cat – a special alarm set up in the house so that should any cat slip out of the house unnoticed, a loud alarm will go off, and cast a net over the escapee.
  • Broadcast Alarm Cat – a special alarm on the cat’s collar that reaches every frequency in the immediate area; cell phone, SmartPhones, etc. that yells loudly that one of our cats is crossing the street. Extra Accessory – personal drone GPS’d for each cat with ‘catch and carry’ comfortable cage; brings ’em home safe and sound.

Since our four cats are our babies, we tend to think way outside of the box (no, not the cat box) when it comes to their health and safety. Well, ok; it’s really me who would buy each and every one of those devices. The Crankee Yankee knows better and worries less, God bless him!.

So, if any rich inventor reading this wants to collaborate with me on these and other cat safety items, you just let me know.