The water in New Burn, North Carolina was waist high as rescuers sought out those in need. Robert Simmons Jr. was one of these people; but he wasn’t alone. Perched on his shoulder and sometimes tucked into his coat was a tiny kitten. Mewing and bedraggled, this kitten named Survivor embodies the vulnerability of all living creatures during a disaster.

Over 580 people needed rescue and at least 5 deaths occurred from the tropical storm that hit the Carolinas last week. Simmons’ home was spared from the flooding, though the streets surrounding it were turned to rivers, causing him to seek shelter elsewhere. His father refused the help and remained isolated in his home.

As the flood waters swirled around streets and homes, April Casey searched for a friend’s cats. When she also heard the cries of abandoned dogs, she decided to stay and help.

“[W]e couldn’t leave them, at all,” she told the Charlotte Observer. With help from her family, she gathered a group of sodden, shaking dogs, giving them the chance to survive.

Pets are at special risk during a disaster. Many people are not prepared with emergency supplies or escape plans for their pets. When disaster assistance arrives, humans are prioritized. Whether it is hurricanes, wildfires, or more sudden earthquake or tornado, planning ahead to protect your pets is something we all should do. Let’s let Survivor the kitten be a reminder.

Disaster Preparedness for Pets – The Time to Start Planning is Now