by Who is John Gall
Ok, I would be the first to admit that if I had to choose, I would choose a loved human over a loved animal and most of my planning has been done with that in mind. But, nevertheless, I do still plan for them.
We have a cat, four dogs, three parrots, a 50 gallon fish tank (with fish), and the koi pond (with koi). I live in hurricane country, so I plan with that in mind... What if we are without power for weeks? What if the house is destroyed (nearly was in Gustav)?
Yes, I do stock extra food and water for everyone (fur, feathers, and scales). But, the fish need good water quality. A well maintained aquarium should be able to withstand 24 (maybe 48) hours without circulating water, but after that the fish will start to suffocate and die in the stagnant water. To try and keep the fish alive (I have had some of them for over 5 years now, they are like scaly family) here are my plans: First, when I know that a storm is approaching, do a water change (time permitting). Next, during the storm when the power goes out, use battery powered air pumps (more on those latter). Then, when the generator gets going, run the tanks filters on the ginny. As a last resort, manually circulate the water (pull out and dump back in a gallon of water at a time every hour or so).
Not sure if I am doing this photo bit right, but here is a pic of one brand of battery powered air pump:
There are others, I have seen some at Walmart in the fishing section for use with live bait wells. Most seem to rum about $7-$15. The one that I have runs off of D cells and plugs into a wall outlet. It does not run off of the AC current, but as soon as that current goes off/the power goes out the little pump comes on. They come with air stones, but I use the little disposable charcoal filters for kiddie tanks from Petsmart. They are cheap, provide some circulation, and provide some filtration too. You just rinse them off with tap water and plug them into the air hose and they are ready to go. I have three of these air pumps for the tank. I am also planning on using this system with the fish in 5 gallon buckets, should we need to evacuate (or when we end up moving in the next year or so...no, toting the fish about during a forced relocation is not my plan, but I am prepared to do so).
Still working on the koi pond. It holds about 800 gallons, which would probably be topped off with the rain during a hurricane, and the fish have all fared well without the pump going for several days in a row. I am thinking of building a solar generator to run some things in the house at need (the generator gets really loud) and will probably have it run the pond's pump all of the time to exercise the battery.
As for the other animals, I try and keep them all ready to evacuate at need. I keep a 5-gallon bucket sealed with their stuff in it: extra collars and leashes, toys, doggie baggies, copies of immunization records, zip lock bags of kitty litter. I have a travel carrier for each animal (2 of the parrots fit well in wire rabbit cages and the third goes into a wire dog crate) and a disposable litter box for the cat. I also keep a pet first aid kit...amazingly enough, though, the antibiotics for the fish that they sell at Petsmart seem to be the same as the ones that are dispensed for people.
I do know that these pets are all just creature comforts, and if worse were to come to worse and I had to chose what goes into the truck, a case of MREs or a bucket of fish...well MREs can be pretty tasty. Nonetheless, I still believe in planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
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