June 5, 2009


I am an animal lover. I have a few dogs and cats, and one chicken. My mom (who lives nearby) also has a few dogs and cats, and about thirty chickens. The rest of my family doesn't see the need to stockpile and prepare for a nuclear event - yet. We were part of Southern Illinois who lost power after strong winds a month or two back. We didn't have power for five days, and in the nearby town that did have power, the stores were packed because people from 30 miles away were coming to get supplies. My mom already stocked up on a few extra things in case the winter weather got too bad to go to town, but not enough for anything long term.

Five days in the dark opened her eyes a bit. While she personally doesn't think anyone will survive a nuclear war, she has decided to prepare for other long term emergencies. She is keeping more layer feed and dog and cat food, but not much more.

I store the dog and cat food I am using in 5 gallon buckets with Gamma seal lids, one color for dog and another color for cat food. Since dry pet food begins to loose nutrition the longer it is opened, I only store 4 buckets of dog food and 3 of cat food. But I also have one 55 gallon trash can (never used for trash) for dog and cat food. In these trash cans, I can store 3 big, unopened bags of dog or cat food. I also have a trash can for layer feed for my chicken. Dry dog and cat food won't store forever, so I also store can food. I buy the Kroger brand canned cat food in the 5.5 ounce cans. My cats only like the fish flavors, so I store the non-fish flavors for my dogs.

Each of our family's cats eats about 1 can of food a day, and the dogs eat anywhere from 5-9 a day. That's about 35 cans a day. So, for a years' supply, I need 12,000 cans. At $.27-$.31 a can, this is not cheap, but it is a comfort knowing that they will be cared for. Pets also add to the water need. On a hot day, the dogs go through a gallon a day (2 2-liters) each, the cats about a gallon combined, and all of the chickens 3-5 gallons a day combined.

Our animals are important to us for more than just emotional reasons. Chickens lay eggs, which would become our main source of protein after an event. Dogs alert you if someone is near your house. Cats (well, half of ours) will be able to chatch any mice that come into your shelter. I hate the thought of people abandoning a pet for any reason, but especially when the pet won't survive. Please, prepare for your pet.

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