When I began working on my family disaster preparedness plan, I thought I had it all under control. Non-perishable food? Check. Plenty of water? Check. Extra medications, clothes, toiletries and other necessities? Check! I even made copies of my home insurance policy and other important papers -- just in case.

I was feeling quite proud of myself until I looked down and saw my beloved cat twirling herself around my ankles, purring up a storm. My emergency evacuation plan was done for humans -- but how could I forget about my furry bundle of joy?

Emergencies happen every day. You never know when your life plunge into chaos. The Insurance Information Institute recommends making your pets part of your family disaster plan by forming an evacuation protocol for them in the event of an emergency.

I started with the basics. This included a carrier for my cat, cans of food, bottled water, a leash and a small box of cat litter. Those basic necessities might get her through a few nights, but what if we were stuck away from home for a while?

When creating an evacuation plan, remember the long-term things you might need. Have a copy of your pet's medical records and your veterinarian's phone number. Keep a photos of your pets, complete with contact numbers, in case they get lost. Make a list of hotels and shelters in surrounding towns that allow pets.

Finally, consider getting your pet used to the idea of evacuation. Just as you would conduct fire drills for your family, why not an evacuation drill that includes your pet? My cat was very unhappy in the car at first, but soon she calmed down and learned to enjoy the ride. Thankfully, we have never had to evacuate, but if we do, I know she will be ready and willing to make the trip.