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We all hope we never have to leave our homes unwillingly. There are various different things that may force us to leave our homes such as a house fire, natural disasters, political unrest and so on. Each of these situations is unique, but there are ways to prepare and always be ready to leave with your animals. Having to leave suddenly when you have animals is a nightmare, so having an idea of what you are doing is going to help when you are stressed and under a time limit. In this article we will be discussing some of the ways we as pet owners can be prepared for the worst. These tips can be used with most other animals, not just rats.


Regardless of the situation, there are some basics that apply to all situations and may be worth having ready even if you don’t expect there to be any need to evacuate any time soon.

  • Housing

The first obstacle of having to leave with animals is of course housing. We wish we would be able to just take out pets and carry them out of the house without having to think about it, but unfortunately after the first hour of having to hold your rat outside while stressed, you will soon learn this is the opposite of a good idea. 

  • Basic carriers - Basic carriers are the easiest way to get your animal out of the house without thinking about it. They’re small, lightweight and easy to travel with. A basic carrier is a fantastic option if you know you won’t be gone for days on end. 

  • Small hospital cage - If you happen to have a small cage you use as a hospital cage or part of your intros with new rats, this will come in very handy when having to get your animals out of the house ASAP. These little cages can fit animals better than basic carriers and hold a water bottle a lot easier.Depending on the size of your tiny back up cage, they can be clumsier to carry around than basic carriers, but are definitely a better option if you know it might take more than a day or two for you to get back home 

  • Bin cages - Bin cages have the same idea as small hospital cages. Anyone can make a bin cage with the right attitude and materials, hence why it's a really good option if you live somewhere where cages are harder to get. They are often lighter weight than small cages and can be used to easily store your evacuation equipment for when you don't need them. Bin cages fit into a car and are carriable just like a small cage would be. 

  • Your main rat cage - Very rare will it be a good idea to drag your whole cage with you. Rat cages are big and often very heavy. A large rat cage would need to be disassembled to fit in a car and it would take a lot of valuable space away from other more critical supplies.

  • Bedding - Keeping a small supply of bedding ready in your evacuation supply pile or ready in the booth of your car may be a very good idea, especially if you know you live somewhere with regular natural disasters. Having fleece blankets cut up to the size of your evac enclosure is a good backup in case you run out of loose bedding. If your bedding gets wet is is important to change is **ASAP** as soaked bedding will make your animals very cold very quickly.

  • Cage accesories - When evacuating, we aren't thinking of fun and comfort. Our priority should be safety and practicality. When deciding your evac cages accessories you must consider the following 1. What is the weather like outside, is it hot or cold. 2. Is it wet or dry 3. Are you going to be mainly in or outdoors 3. Will you be travelling a long distance via car or foot

  • Food and water

Food and water are what keeps us and our animals alive. Out of these two water is the more critical one. If your rats are 48h without food, there isn't a cause for concern apart from hunger. But if your rats are without water or water heavy foods for 48h we are looking at dehydration that can become dangerous a lot faster than lack of food.

  • Water sources - Having a basic water bottle among your evacuation supplies gets you very far. Do not have a water bottle pre-filled as water that has sat for a while and become stagnant can be dangerous, even life threatening. Once you and your animals are safe, find somewhere to fill a bottle. If the tap water in your area is safe, use it, if not, use bottled water. If you find yourself in a situation where you have very limited or no access to water, food with high water contents such as cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce etc can keep your rats going for a very long time.

  • Food sources - When packing your food,the number one rule is, store your food in an airtight container. Thi will keep your food longer and keep it away from moisture damage and insects. For those who use homemade mixes, many of your ingredients may be more perishable than you think, especially in non ideal housing circumistances. If you know you are in an area with regular natural disasters, it may be wise to have a container of a good quality kibble that you can just grab and go. Kibble holds longer than most mixes, hence why it is better in evacuation situations where you know this is gonna be a long ride. Mixes are perfectly fine if you know you’ll be coming back, the backup mix has not been sitting in the container for over 6 months and you've been storing your mix properly.

  • Baby foods and wet cat foods are a good emergency backup in bad situations. These are high in energy and provide your animals with hydrations. With wet cat foods, aim for poultry or fish, With baby foods, fruits are high in energy which is very important especially in colder climates

  • If you do find yourself in a situation where you have run out of your evacuation rat food or have not been able to grab it because you had to leave so fast, to our luck as rat owners, rats can eat almost anything. In an emergency situation, you can use foods such as rice, pasta, dog kibble, bird seeds etc as emergency rations. 


  • Medication and first aid

  • Saline - A must have as this can be used to clean any injuries, irritated eyes etc.

  • 100mg/5ml liquid form ibuprofein - Having painkillers on your may be a saver in a situation with injuries that cannot be attended by a vet this second.

  • Parasite treatment - Your pets will be exposed to the outside, unfamiliar environments and stress. With this comes a significantly increased risk of external and internal parasites. Being able to treat parasites on the go can be a huge game changer when you don't have access to a vet. 

  • 1ml syringes - There are the standard size syringes used to dose pretty much everything for rats. Good to always have these even when not on the road.

  • Any regular medicine your animal may have - This goes without saying, if your pet is on regular medication, make sure you know where they are at all times so you can grab them easily as you leave.

  • Keeping notes

Keeping notes is very important in a stressful situation. When we are under a lot of stress we can easily forget a routine that was once so simple we didn’t even have to think about it. Here are some of the things you can put into an evac notebook 

  • List of safe foods - having a printed out list of safe foods in your notebook is a big help when you can’t remember or simply don't know if something is safe to give to  a rat. This is especially useful in a situation where you have no access to actual rat food.

  • List of dangerous foods - Having a printed out list of dangerous foods can be a literal life saver in a situation where you have to rely on foods that aren't made for rats. 

  • Ibuprofen dosage chart - Having a pre calculated dosage ready in your notebook will save you the hassle of trying to do maths when stressed. To make this even easier. Write down your rats’ weight once a month into this notebook, this will give you a pretty good idea of how much medicine to give your rat. 

  • Basic care instructions - This might seem silly, but in a stressful situation humans tend to forget the basics. Write down our normal care routine into your notebook. This will also be very helpful if for any reason you have to leave your animals in someone else's care. 

  • Medication routine - If your rat has regular medication, make sure you have your medication routine written down for yourself and for anyone else who might be looking after your rats in a crisis situation.

  • Notes - Keep notes of your rats. If something goes wrong, you can look back to your notes and try to figure out when the trouble started. Note down any medications you've given such as parasite treatments etc, this will help you avoid double dosing. Writing down any weird behaviour, anything that's out of the norm is really important. This can be critical later on if you have to see a vet for something once you're able to return home.


  • Cleaning supplies

Being able to keep your enclosure clean will help you keep your animals healthy. There are some basic supplies that are good to be kept in your evac set for cleaning

  • Baby wipes - Baby wipes are very basic and cheap. They can be used to clean the enclosure and the accessories in it. If your rat somehow gets dirty, they can also be wiped down with baby wipes.

  • Dish soap - You can get these in tiny containers so they don’t take much space. A few drops of dish soap is enough to clean a cage very well and get the gunk out. This is very useful and easy to get if you have to be away for longer.

  • Vinegar - Pack a small container of vinegar with you. This is great for getting odours out of fabric. If you are in emergency housing with a lot of people, it's important to keep stinks to the minimum. Vinegar can be used to wash hammocks when you have no access to a washing machine. Hot water and vinegar works miracles.


To make it easier to decide which guide is the best for your situation, let's break this down into different severity categories


Situations like this may include gas leaks, minor house fires or simply, the house needs to be treated with chemicals that aren’t safe to inhale


Situations like this may include floods, tornados, house fires and so on.


Situations like this may include severe natural disasters, a severe house fire or the area becoming unsafe due to political unrest.


Situations like this may include catashtrophic natural disasters, severe house fires, the are becoming unsafe for good(or a very long time) due to chemical hazards or political unrest resulting in military action.


Now that we have a better understanding of different situations, we can begin planning for them accordingly. You as a pet owner know your region better than anyone else. Locals know when it is flood season or tornado season for example. Knowing the realistic threats in your area is the first step towards prepping for potential evacuation.

I know I’ll be able to come back within 48h and there should be very minimal damage to our home.

When you are going to be away for just a short period of time and you are confident you’ll have an intact house to return to, you don’t need to bring as much with you. In your evac enclosure, you should have at least the following.

  • Bedding

  • Nesting material if you're in a colder climate

  • At least one hide. This will allow your rats to hide and feel more safe in a stressful environment.

  • Water bottle or a dish. Add this into the enclosure once you are done with travel as water ruins the bedding very fast in transit.

  • Dry food. You can bring your food with you in a small container and add to the enclosure once you are in safety

  • Any daily/regular medication your rat(s) may have.


If you are leaving the house for a little while due to chemical treatments or other reasons where you have warning time, you can decorate your temporary enclosure as you wish! If you have to leave in a rush, don’t worry about the enclosure being fun. The enclosure being safe is the most important. If you have no time to grab hides etc, don't worry, you can always add things such as cardboard boxes later on.


I’m unsure if I’ll be back in a few days. I should have a house to come back to but the level of damage may be a fair bit.

When leaving your house with the uncertainty of what you'll be returning to, you are going to have to take supplies with you to possibly last long enough to keep your animals safe until you can sort out your home back to a safe condition. Many natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes may not knock down your house, but many of your items such as food may be completely ruined due to exposure to the elements. Storing your rat goods in air tight containers is a good and cheap way to reduce the chance of water damage while you and your pets are away.

When evacing for more than a few days, the following is good to bring with you

  • An extra change of bedding. When leaving for a little longer, if possible, bring extra bedding with you so you can keep your animals clean and healthy.

  • Nesting material, especially if you're in a colder climate

  • Minimum of one hide. If possible bring some extra accessories you can put in the cage once you are safe. Little things like a hammock can help your animals be more comfortable and relaxed in a stressful situation. If you have to leave with no accessories, you can later on add cardboard boxes and other creative hides and toys.

  • Water bottle or a water dish. As you’ll be away for a bit longer, if tap water in your area isn't safe, try to stop by a store and grab some bottled water if possible.

  • Dry food. Make sure to bring enough to last you an extra week when you come home in case your supply at home has been damaged or gone missing. Bringing some baby food or wet cat food can also be a good shout in case something happens to your dry supplies.

  • Daily/regular medications, saline, painkillers, parasite treatment. If you have a full ratty first aid kit and have time to safely grab it with you, bring the whole thing.

  • Bring a notebook, this might sound a little bit weird, but being able to write down notes or have premade care instructions in your notebook can be a life saver in a hectic situation where it can be easy to forget important things and become stressed.

  • Bring some cleaning supplies such as baby wipes. This will help you with keeping your enclosure tidy.


I know for a fact I will not be able to return for a week +, I’m expecting extensive damage to the house.

When leaving your house with the expectation of staying away for a fair while and not expecting the house to be in good condition when you come back, it's important to pack enough stuff for an extensive amount of time. When you're expecting to come back to a very damaged house it's important to consider preparing to house your animals in a temporary house for a long time, easily up to a month.

  • Extra bedding. This is very important. Keep some ready in your car if you have a car, if not, it's good to have one of those little bags of beddings pet stores sell among your evac supplies. You may be dealing with temporary housing longer than you think, so having fleece as back up is a good idea.

  • Nesting material will come in handy in prolonged evac situations. This will keep your rats warm, but it will also give them something to do and help their stress levels to stay low. Studies show that nesting can help prevent over grooming and other self destructive behaviour in rodents.

  • Water bottle or a water dish. Make sure you are aware of the tap water quality in the area you will be staying at. Even if the tap water in the area is safe to drink, it’s good to make sure you have some bottled water on you in case you have to keep moving regularly from place to place and access to water is unreliable.

  • Dry food. Try to bring a fair bit of food with you. A rat eats between 15-20 grams of dry food a day depending on its age and size.Calculate at least a month's worth if possible as you may have to rely on your emergency backup for longer than you think. Wet cat food and baby food are a good backup to bring as well in case something happens to your dry food supplies and you need to feed your rats something until you can get more dry cat food.

  • All your rat medications. It's good to have a basic first aid kit at hand in case of evacution. Click here for first aid kit instructions. Bring all regular medications with you as well if your rats’ have any 

  • Bring your care note book and make sure it has a list of safe and unsaf foods along with a painkiller dosage chart.

  • Bring cleaning supplies. Baby wipes and dish soap will get you very far. If you have a small bottle of vinegar, that can be used to keep hammocks stink free if you have no access to a washing machine for a while.


I will not be back, I know there will not be a house to come back to.

A situation like this is incredibly hard to prepare for. It is so dependent on where you are and what is causing such a catastrophic situation. Let's start from the basics of evaluating the situation.


What is causing this situation

  • Catastrophic natural disasters

  • Chemical disasters

  • Political crisis such as regional evacuation due to conflicts and war

  • Other, such as a massive house fire or personal situation that as put you in an immediate danger


Let's take each hypothetical scenario and break it down into more digestible bits. Breaking a situation down into a bullet point list can help your brain to compute information better under stress and fear.


Catastrophic natural disasters

The first thing to consider with natural disasters is what kind of elements we are dealing with. Each element brings its own challenges so let's break them down.


  • Water

    • Water is an unstoppable force that can cause massive damage. Large amounts of water can be caused by heavy rainfall during monsoons and other storms which leads to floods, tsunamis and so on. The main hazards of water are destruction to homes, destroying food supplies and making it hard to keep warm. When dealing with water, it’s extremely important to keep your animals and their food as dry as possible. Store your food in air tight containers and store them high up whenever possible. Keep your rats away from the water, if their bedding gets soaked change it **ASAP**. Once the bedding is soaked it no longer holds heat and keeps the animals warm, instead it does the opposite. If the bedding is soaked, your rats will not be able to dry and keep warm. Once wet, the rats’ body temperature will easily drop and expose them to hypothermia, which is very hard for a rat to recover from.

      • Store food in air tight containers high up

      • Keep your rats’ enclosure away from water

      • If water gets into your cage, change the bedding asap

      • If your rats get soaked, dry them as well as you can, change new dry bedding into the cage and place the dried rats into the dry cage.

  • Snow and ice

    • Snow and ice are dangerous elements as cold can easily turn dangerous to both animals and humans. Even though forms of water, snow and ice are easier to deal with than water itself.The main thing is to keep warm and make sure your animals stay away from direct contact to snow and ice.Well insulating nesting material such as hay is a great and cheap way to help your rats stay warm. A hide filled with hay and a few rats is a lot warmer than you might think. In Fact the rats are probably way more comfier than the owner carrying their cage around.

      • Keep your animals away from direct contact to snow and ice

      • Allow plenty of nesting material and hides so the animals can make warm nests to warm up in

      • Fruit and berry based baby foods are higher in natural sugars which is an important source of energy for the body when maintaining heat in a cold environment

      • A hot water bottle or a thermal pack placed under the cage in one area can help keep the inside warmer without exposing the rats to potential burns from direct contact to the heat source

      • Keep the enclosure away from windows, door, vents and other areas where draft and/or air flow may be coming in from

  • Fire and smoke

    • Fire and smoke are very hazardous. Not just the heat but also the residue that's dangerous to inhale, such as carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can knock out a human very quickly in the right circumstances, so it doesn't take a lot to cause problems with rats. Depending on what's burning, there can be a lot of toxic chemicals in the smoke that's arrising.

      • Keep the rats away from direct contact with fire

      • Heat can be just as dangerous as the flames. Get your rats away from the heat while you can

      • Get the rats away from smoke as fast as possible

      • Smoke rises. Keep your animals as low down as possible to minimise the damage from the smoke.

      • Get to an area with clean air asap

      • If the rats have been burned by flames, please refer to the first aid guide for how to treat burns


  • Storm winds

    • Out of all the elements, storm winds are the least dangerous on direct contact. The main danger of strong winds is the debri it flings around. Storm winds can be very cold, especially if combined with rain.

      • Do not leave your rat enclosure attended unless they are safe indoors, such as a car or an evacuation centre.

      • When you are transporting your rats through the outdoors, make sure to keep hold of the enclosure of all times so the wind doesn't pick it up.

      • Keep the enclosure away from window

Chemical disasters

In a situation where there are hazardous chemicals in the air, water or ground, it's important to know what exactly you are dealing with and how it may affect your rats.


  • Contaminated water

    • If the water in your area has been contaminated with something dangerous, stop using it immediately and follow the local authorities instructions on how to act and when the water if safe again.

      • Stop using water from the taps, even if you have a filter

      • Use bottled water until the water is deemed safe to use

      • Don’t use tap water to wash water bottles etc until it is deemed safe again

      • Try to learn as much as you can about the chemical contaminating the water as some can safely be neutralised by boiling while others evaporate into the air making the air dangerous.


  • Contaminated air

    • If the air in the area is contaminated with a dangerous chemical, follow your local authorities instructions. Close all windows and doors to minimise the amount of contaminated air entering your house. If you have an air purifier, turn it on. If you are asked to evacuate the area, make sure you spend as little time outside as possible.

      • Listen to updates from authorities

      • Close all doors and windows

      • Run air purifiers if you own them

      • Do NOT run Air conditions that are connected to the outside

      • Spend as little time outdoors as possible


  • Contaminated soil

    • When the ground itself is contaminated, it's not as hazardous to rats as the air and water is. There is no reason for your rat to be playing outside where it would be in contact with the contaminated soil.

      • Keep away from direct contact with contaminated soil

      • Do not pick any wild vegetation for your rats from this area now or in the future

      • Make sure to wash your hands well if you have been outside

Political crisis such as regional evacuation due to conflicts and war

Out of all the evacuation situations, this is definitely the trickiest one to handle. Political unrest is very unpredictable and the circumstances are changing rapidly in real time. Flexibility and creativity are extremely valuable tools when dealing with conflict zones. Many need to leave their homes with little to no warning time with very limited supplies and carry capacity. If you know the political situation in your region is unstable, it's good to have a ready-to-go evacuation set ready in case things escalate. Being pre-prepared will reduce your stress and allow you to take up and go alot faster and efficiently.


  • Preparing a ready-to-go evacuation kit

    • Here is a list of what your full evacuation kit for the most serious and unpredictable situations would ideally look like. If you do not have all of these, do not worry, a little is more than nothing. Make sure to test your ability to carry your kit before you actually need to use it.


  • Enclosure + hide

  • Water bottle/bowl

  • Bottled water 

  • Dry food in an airtight container

  • Wet cat foods and baby foods

  • Spare bedding

  • Fleece blanket

  • Tea towel

  • Spare nesting material

  • Basic cleaning supplies

  • Notebook with safe and dangerous food lists and medicine dosage charts

  • First aid supplies

  •  Hot water bottle or a thermal pack


Best way to pack your evac kit

This is where you can get very creative and crafty alongside just normal packing.

When packing your evac set, you want to be as space and weight efficient as possible.

  • Pack your back bag in a way that it is comfortable to carry. Try make make it as flat as possible on the side that is against your back, this will make it easier and more comfortable to carry for longer distances

  • Use fabric, rope, twine or any other material that can function as a strap to attack things to the side of your bag and cage. If you have large food container, tie a strap around it and tie it to the side of your bag instead of wasting the space in your bag

  • Be organised. Being organised will make your life easier

  • Pack for survival, not a fun day out with the crew

  • If you are transporting your animals in a small carrier, you can strap it to your person. This will free your hands.

  • Wear clothes with loads of pockets

  • Use bags with loads of pockets and compartments

I'm in a crisis zone and I've run out of supplies, what happens now?

Of course the first course of action is to have a look at the stores near you and see what you can do. But if you are faced with a situation where it is not safe to wander to shops, or you are in the middle of trying to get out of an active war zone, this is where things get difficult and you must rely on your knowledge and the notes you have in your notebook.



Thankfully, rats can eat most things. In a crisis situation we won't be able to reach the ideal. Our goal is survival until we can improve the situation. For food, we can use various ingredients. (click for safe foods list) It will be easier to find foods meant for cats, dogs and people, but thankfully this is exactly what you will need for emergency rations. If you want to study and make notes on diet, please click here for the diet article.

When there is no food available, we need to do with what we got. Rats can get by with things such as dog kibble and cat kibble, but both of these are high in proteins and lacking in other things that are important to rats. Grains such as cooked/uncooked rice and pasta are easily accessible and safe for rats to eat. Fruits, veggies and flowers offer important vitamins and are a source of hydration



When water is hard to access, foods with high water content are a big help. In the wild, rodents rely on their food for most of their water consumption. Fruits, veggies, edible flowers etc are all rich in moisture.

If you find yourself having to boil water, make sure to let it cool before offering it to your animals.

Collecting rainwater into a clean dish is a good way to restock your water supplies. Unfortunately this is not the most reliable method as we never know when it’ll rain again.



If you have run out of loose bedding, don’t be afraid to use textiles as your bedding. It is not ideal, but it's still better than nothing. When using textiles as bedding make sure that they aren’t heavy in loose threads and that you wash them every few days to keep things hygienic.

Evac: Text


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