Cats are naturally adventurous and playful in nature. Unfortunately, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) advises cat owners to keep their pets at home for their own safety. However, life in confinement, no matter how comfortable it is, is not a good life for cats.
For this reason, it may be beneficial for you to take your cat out from time to time in order to prevent it from escaping or running away. This camping trip, of course, would need to be carefully planned to ensure not only you and your cat’s safety but both of your enjoyments as well.
Before you set out on a camping trip with your favourite feline companion, you must make sure that your cat’s personality is actually right for the adventure. According to the ASPCA, cats could be categorized into three different colours of personalities: purple, orange, and green.
Cats under the “Purple” category that are considered the seekers of affection are generally quiet, often keeping out of trouble. On the other hand, those belonging to the “Orange” category are known to be the best companions for people. The “Green” cats, however, have an adventurous heart and are often free-spirited.
Out of the three, it’s safe to say that cats under the “Green” category are the best choice as companions for camping trips because they are the ones most likely to adapt well to new environments. “Orange” cats may also be a suitable camping buddy but only if they stay by your side throughout the trip.
If your kind is of the “Purple” variety, it would be best for you to stick to the indoors because things may not go well if you put them in a different and more of a wild environment.
The first thing to consider when planning a camping trip with your cat is the venue. Pet-friendliness is something that you would have to research heavily on because there are national parks that don’t allow pets like cats or dogs to protect the wildlife they have there.
While there are also some that do allow pets, they are expected to be tied on leashes and should stay far away from swimming areas. There are also those that charge you extra for every pet you bring.
Weather should also be considered because cats would not be able to take well extreme weather conditions as they do not have the same heat tolerance that humans have.
Lastly, consider the kind of camping trip you are having with your cat. If you are planning on a backpacking trip that would last for weeks, it would be better not to bring your cat along because it will not appreciate being out of its comfort zone for too long. A simple camping trip with a tent or trailer would be the best option if you’re taking your cat with you.
Apart from your own gear, you should have a cat camping checklist so that you would know what to bring during the trip. With this being said, check out some essential items you should bring below.
What's a camping trip without a first aid kit? A dangerous one! While you do not want to anticipate any accidents or injuries during the trip, it would be wise to do so. Having first aid supplies may mean life and death during emergency situations.
First Aid Tools
- Ice pack
- Needle-nose pliers
- Pillowcase (Evac Sac)
- Rectal thermometer
- Round-end scissors
First Aid Stocks
- Adhesive Tape
- Antiseptics (lotions, alcohols, etc.)
- Disposable gloves (Non-latex)
- Gauze rolls
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Self-cling Bandage
- Sterile Saline Solution
Food and Water
Your cat would need to have its own food during the trip. As much as possible, try bringing the same type of food that your pet usually eats so that it would not stray far from its diet. The familiarity with food will help make your cat comfortable during the camping trip.
As for the water, make sure that your cat does not drink from natural sources like rivers or ponds because it may not react well to untreated water. Instead, bring your own potable water fir the cat to stay hydrated.
A camping trip does not free you from the responsibility of keeping your pet clean. Essential hygiene items would include soap and shampoo, some trash bags for the sake of the environment, as well as a brush and some towels. It would also be ideal to bring bug repellants since your cat would be vulnerable to parasites such as mites, fleas, and ticks while out in the wilds.
When your cat needs to answer nature's call, it may not be able to do so if it has gotten used to minding its business in a litter box. For this reason, you would need to bring your cat's own litter box. Just make sure that it is of the right size for travel and that you clean it whenever necessary.
A litter box would especially be ideal since cat's feces contain bacteria called Taxoplasma gondil, which is known to latch on to any warm-blooded mammal and can cause a number of diseases including influenza.
You may also need poop bags to place your pet's wastes after its business.
Cats aren’t accustomed to travelling great distances which is why you should bring a carrier for whenever your pet gets tired. Leashes are also necessary because there will be times when you need to keep your feline friend with you and not have it roam around.
Since cats are also known to get startled easily, having one on a leash would make it easier for an owner to control it. Know that you would need to get your cat used to leashes before you can take it camping.
There are other essential items that you should consider bringing for the trip. Toys and treats can help keep your cat from getting bored, but before you think about these items, you should first consider where your pet would sleep.
Bring beddings like pillows, boxes, blankets, and lounges for your cat to sleep on. If it already has a favourite place to nap on, try bringing it on the trip for familiarity purposes and keeping your pet comfortable.
Go on a Practice Camping Trip
To help prepare your pet for the trip, you can take the cat for mock camping in your backyard. To do this, you can start by preparing all the gears that you would bring with you during the camping trip and use them in your practice.
Go on a drive with your cat and your gears around your neighbour to let your cat get used to the feeling of travel. Afterwards, you can set up a tent in your own backyard and stay there for the night with your pet cat.
Always Keep an Eye on Your Cat
It is important that during the camping trip, you always keep an eye on your pet cat. Never let it wander off on its own and as much as possible, keep it on a leash.
Campfires are especially dangerous to cats. Their natural curiosity may lead them to get accidentally burned, or they may get startled by the fire causing them to run off.
Cats are one of the best hunters in the animal world, but that doesn’t mean they are completely safe in the wilds. You do not know what may be lurking in the dark when you go camping with your cat. So if you want to keep your pet away from predators like snakes, eagles or even owls, always maintain a watchful eye on the feline.
A seasoned camper and hiker, there is nothing he doesn’t know about the Great Outdoors. Hiking alone, with friends, or even little ones, he’s done it all. A trained survivalist, he gives Bear Grylls a run for his money.