You love your cat. You also love camping. It makes sense that you would want to share the hobby you love with your beloved pet.
Many people do not think they can take their feline friend on a camping trip. Unlike dogs, cats are not usually enthusiastic about trips in the car. The good news is that you can have a good experience with your cat on a camping trip.
Get Your Cat Used to Spending Time in a Car
If you know you are going to want to travel with your cat, you need to start when they are still a kitten. It is possible to get cats used to the idea of traveling in a car or truck.
The younger your cat is when you start this process, the better. Remember, most of the time, kittens only get put in a carrier or the car when they are going to the veterinarian, which can be scary.
Get your cat used to their carrier. Some cats love their carriers while others run when they see them. The difference? Cats who like their carriers associate them with feeling safe and secure. Cats who are frightened only see a trip to a scary place. By keeping the carrier out more of the time, cats will not be as frightened.
Get the cat used to getting into a car or truck. Once your cat is ok with their carrier, get them used to the car by putting them into the carrier and then into the car. When you are both in the car, give the cat a treat. Drive around with the cat and then give them another treat. Soon, your cat will associate the crate and the travel with something positive.
Many camping trips include a lot of time in the car. This time will be unbearable for both of you if your cat cannot get used to being in a car or truck.
Get Your Cat Used to a Harness
Think it is impossible to get a cat used to a harness and a leash? Adventure Cat says otherwise. People all over the world to find success walking their cats on a leash.
While it is harder to get a cat to deal with a leash, it is possible. If you are going to take your cat camping, it is good to get them used to the idea.
- Let your cat smell the harness. Bring out the harness and let your cat get used to the way it smells. You may need to take some time with the cat and the harness before they get used to it.
- Try the harness on. Bring out the harness and show it to your cat. Put it on them and then give them a treat. Do not fasten it but try to keep it on as long as you can.
- Get them used to wear a harness. Cats may not naturally like the idea of wearing a harness but you can change that. Let them wear it around the house for a while. Your cat may protest but if you leave it on, they will get used to it. Give them treats while wearing the harness closed.
- Work with the leash. After a few weeks of letting your feline friend walk around wearing the harness, try attaching the leash. Practice walking your cat with the leash in your home. Give them treats when they behave the way they want. Do it for a short period of time. As they get used to it, walk them longer.
- Go outside. Once your cat is ok walking around the inside of your home on a leash, you can start walking them outside. Again, start with short walks and then increase them as your cat gets used to this.
Having your cat used to a harness will make your experience camping with them much better.
Make Sure the Campground Is Feline Friendly
Not every campground is well suited for feline visitors. If you have a place where you like to camp already, you should reach out to them and see what the pet situation is at the campground.
If you are not sure where you want to go, Pets Welcome has a list of pet-friendly places to camp around the country.
Some people find more luck when camping with cats to go during the offseason. If that is an option for you, you may want to consider it.
Bring Everything Your Cat Will Need
This may go without saying but you need to pack some things for your feline friend.
Pet lovers need to bring certain items with them on camping trips with cats.
- Food: Cats have pretty sensitive digestive systems. There is enough change when a cat is on any kind of trip so the last thing you want to do is change up their diet when you are away. Bring plenty of the food that they are used to eating at home on your camping trip. They will also be more relaxed if they have the same food on the road that they like at home. Be careful about giving them food you have cooked over the fire. It is all too easy to get your cat sick with people food when you are on your camping trip.
- Treats: Your cat likes treats at home. They will also like them when they are camping. This can also make them feel more at ease and can get their mind off any stress they feel while traveling.
- Water: You need fresh and clean water and so does your feline companion. Bring more water than you think you will both need and you may have enough.
- A first-aid kit: People get injured while camping and so do any pets that are along for the ride.
- A litter box: Cats are often particular about where they do their business so you should bring a litter box with the litter they are used to along.
- Lights: You should get lights that can be attached to your cat’s harness. If they do get away from you at night, these will help you find them easier.
- Bring a familiar blanket. Most pets have a blanket or towel that they like to sleep on. If your cat likes to hang out on a blanket or pillow, bring it with you. That can make them feel more at home.
Prepare Your Cat Before Your Trip
Before you head out for the great outdoors with your cat, you should make sure you have Your text to link… right flea treatment, that their vaccinations are up to date, and that they have a microchip. You also need to get them a collar with an identification tag so if they get separated from you, you can be reunited.
Make sure your cat knows to come when you call. Most cats know their name but not all know to come when they are called. Practice calling your cat at home. You really should start training them to come when called when they are still a kitten.
By doing all of this, you will both be more comfortable during and after the vacation. The last thing you want to bring home from your camping trip is a troupe of fleas to invade and infest your home.
Make Your First Camping Trip Short and Close to Home
Many people, when they are getting their children used to taking camping trips, plan short ones that are closer to home, the same should be done when you want to take your cat on their first camping trip.
There are a few reasons for this. You want to see if your cat is one that will enjoy camping. You probably would not dream of dragging a person along when you know they hate camping, why would you do that to your cat?
Not all cats are well suited for going on camping trips. If you pick a place that is close to home, you can go back easily if it is clear that your cat is miserable.
Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Cat
When people camp with children, they never let then stray too far. The same can be said of camping with cats. If your cat is shy, they may want to stay in your tent, the camper, or their carrier.
If your cat is more adventurous, they may want to check everything out. There is a lot of new stuff for a cat to smell on a camping trip.
No matter what your cat is like, you should always know where they are and what the are up to. It only takes a few seconds for a large bird to swoop down and carry them away. They can also get themselves into trouble if left to their own devices for too long.
Be Very Careful If You Have a Campfire
For many people who love camping, campfire is an important part of the overall experience. People love to cook over it. It is always a good time to tell scary stories over a campfire after enjoying s’ mores.
Cats may be intrigued by the fire, too. Cats generally know not to get too close but that does not mean you should give them free rein to do what they want. Keep an eye on your feline friend while you have your campfire going.
Make Sure Your Cat Has a Safe Place to Hide
Cats can get spooked easily at home and when you are on vacation. Now that you have gotten your cat used to their carrier, that can be a good place for them to go if they get scared.
As was already mentioned, a familiar towel or blanket can do a lot. If you place the blanket in your tent or camper, it can let your cat know this is a safe place for them to be.
Stay With Your Cat
If you are going to take your cat with you on your camping trip, plan activities that you can do with your cat. You do not want to leave your cat alone.
You may have been able to create a campsite that is really a home away from home but it is not the same. Unlike when you are at home and can leave your cat in the house when you go out to go to work or go out to have fun, you should never leave your cat alone in the tent or at the campsite.
It is your responsibility to keep your cat safe. That means if you have a lot of activities that you want to do without your cat, you should just leave them at home. There are too many things that can happen when you are on a camping trip.
It is very possible to have a great time when you go camping with your cat. It is very important to do the work before you head out on your camping vacation.
These are not successful trips when you pick up a cat that hates travel and cart them off for a weekend in the woods.
The good news is that if you do all of the preparation work and bring the right stuff with you, both of you can have a great time on a camping trip.
These tips and tricks can help you and your cat has camping adventures you will enjoy and brag about when you get back. Just remember to get photos of your feline friend. That way you can prove how cool your cat is.
If you need more proof, this is a great YouTube video of a cat loving the camping life.
Gizmodo also has a great testimonial to how much fun it can be to go camping with a cat.