When most people associate a pet with the great outdoors, it’s usually dogs. Cats and camping might not seem to go hand-in-hand at first. However, some cats are more “dog-like” than you might think and would actually love spending time outside camping with their best friend.
That doesn’t mean every cat feels that way, but you’ll never know where your feline friend stands until you try!
If you think your cat would love camping, don’t be afraid to take them on your next adventure. However, in doing so, your top priority should be their well-being. There are precautions you should take to keep yourself and your furry friend as safe as possible the entire time. That requires you to plan ahead, pack the right things, and ensure you’re camping in the right places.
Ready to hit the road and sleep under the stars with your favorite feline? Let’s cover a few helpful tips that will keep you both safe while camping.
Start Small and Slow
Again, not every cat will love camping, being in a car, or even spending time outside in general.
The only way you’ll know whether your cat is a camping enthusiast is to do a test run or two. However, the last thing you want is for that first test run to be at a campsite two hours from home.
The first step is to get your cat used to your car or RV. Some cats naturally love riding in vehicles while others don’t. If your cat enjoys it, the next thing to keep in mind is how to “car train” them so they aren’t scared — and so they don’t end up using every inch of your vehicle as a giant litter box. Pet accidents can irritate your lungs, resulting in:
- Burning of the nose and throat
- Shortness of breath
- Eye and skin irritation
- Respiratory issues
In addition to training your cat to be safe in the car and having a place for them to use the bathroom, start small when it comes to the length of your trip. That might include driving through town a few times to see how they do in the car. If they seem to like it, go a little further, gradually increasing the duration of your trips as they get more comfortable.
Consider taking a day trip to a campsite — or even a park or your backyard — where you can let your cat explore the great outdoors. Make sure to have a harness and leash for them so they can roam, sniff, and enjoy everything nature has to offer. If they’re not used to walking on a leash, that will be another thing you need to help them get used to. It’s a good idea to start slowly, never forcing them to wear it if they clearly don’t like it.
Pack the Right Gear
If you’re already an avid camper, you know how important it is to have the right gear. The same goes for packing for your cat.
Make yourself a checklist of everything your cat will need to be safe and comfortable, no matter how short your trip might be. Some items to consider include:
- Plenty of food
- Food and water dishes
- A harness and leash
- Their litter box
- A few favorite toys
- A blanket or a small bed
- Any medications they’re used to taking
- A first-aid kit
When your cat is fully decked out in all of the camping gear they need, they’ll not only be safer and happier, but you’ll be able to relax a little more once you get everything set up at the campsite.
As you see them start to get comfortable with their surroundings, don’t forget to snap a few mindfully shot photos to share on Instagram! This will help you capture and remember a memorable trip with your cat, as well as help to promote cat camping to others. You never know whom you might inspire to try camping with their kitty after a single picture.
You know your feline friend better than anyone. Aside from the basics, think about what they need to be happy and comfortable, and bring it along — especially if they’re still new to camping and need some of the familiarities of home.
Choose the Best Place and Time
Not all campsites are pet-friendly — for example, national parks don’t allow cats! Even if you do end up going to a place that allows your feline friend, that doesn’t automatically make it the best choice. The best campsites for cats should be large enough for them to have their own space, and they shouldn’t be overly crowded with people. Your cat might be comfortable around you, but if other guests are approaching them all day, they could start to get nervous.
When selecting your spot, choose a place with the correct landscape for cat camping. More experienced adventure cats may take to mountainsides or tougher terrain. Other cats may eat grass and plants that are harmful to them, so also do some research on the vegetation in the area. Your campsite should have enough room for your cat to have a designated bathroom spot, a place for them to eat, and a spot of shelter they can go to when they’re feeling unsure and need some security.
Check the Weather
Speaking of shelter, picking the right place is only half the battle. It’s just as crucial to go at the right time. Cats can overheat very easily, so camping in the middle of the summer when the temperature starts to feel oppressive is never a good idea. If you are camping in the winter, there are extra precautions to take for cats in the cold. Make sure your cat stays warm and their paws don’t freeze.
It’s also a good rule of thumb to check the weather forecast several times before you head out. It’ll be much more difficult to have an enjoyable experience with your cat companion if it’s raining the entire time you’re away. Part of planning ahead includes paying attention to what’s forecasted for your entire trip.
Hitting the Trail With Your Cat
Camping with your cat can be a rewarding, exciting, and fun experience for both of you. With a little planning ahead and patience, you can have a great time exploring the great outdoors with your best furry friend, and they might end up enjoying it more than you think!
About the Author
Ainsley Lawrence is a writer who loves to talk about how business and professionalism intersect with the personal, social, and technological needs of today. She is frequently lost in a good book.