Camping with Cats is one of the most fun ways to get outside with a furry friend!
I had a conversation with Aries and Lindsey, who do this activity often, so they could share their knowledge with you after all their camping trips. This is what they said:
I went camping up in Northern Arizona a few weeks ago and had an incredible time. Read on to find the tips and tricks I use when camping with my feline friend!
Recommended Adventure Cat Skills for Camping
These are skills we believe will help you and your feline friend have the best experience with camping and outdoor recreation!
- Comfortable wearing a harness
- Able to use the bathroom outdoors (in a litter box or nature)
- Happy and content with sitting and being outside
- Recall trained: comes when called
Campsite Etiquette for Camping with Cats
These are important tips for having a safe camping experience with your cat and ways to make sure that it is enjoyable for everyone (even your tent neighbors!)
- Use a long rope tether to allow freedom to explore the campsite while still staying safely connected to a tree or picnic table.
- Leave the tent door slightly/fully open so your feline friend can easily take shelter in the tent if they become nervous or spooked.
- Place food and water bowls in one location so that your feline friend knows where to access them.
- Bring a familiar blanket and toy for comfort and fun! Remember that cats feel safer around their own scent and toys and blankets are great for impregnating their own pheromones.
- If your kitty uses the outdoor loo, make sure to bag any leftover kitty poo! Collecting cat poo is good mojo and the right thing to do.
CAUTION NOTE: Cats are escape artists. Do not leave a tethered cat unsupervised as it might escape even when wearing an escape-proof harness.
Bathroom/Tent for Camping with Cats
- Bring a travel litter box and some biodegradable litter, such as World's Best Cat Litter or Naturally Fresh Kitty Litter. Alternatively, some cats are comfortable using the great outdoors and covering their feces in dirt or sand.
- If your cat goes to the loo at night, it is recommendable, to prevent nighttime bathroom runs or accidents, to feed with enough time for food to move, and allow your feline friend to use the bathroom (3-4 hrs before bed)
- Have a nook or two in the tent so the kitty feels comfortable with multiple sleeping options. If you have a cat bed or a cat cave that your cat likes, it is recommendable that you take it with you. Wool cat caves act as an insulating material that radiates your cat's body heat back to them.
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Extra Tips to Camp with a Cat
- To a "practice" run of the camping trip: set up your tent at home or in the backyard, and let your feline friend explore it.
- Go to a campsite you are familiar/comfortable with + pick a more secluded campsite.
- Always have a backup . . . . (harness, leash, plan, etc.)
What to Take to Go Camping with Cats
Going outdoors with a cat will always take extra work and packing. Going camping is no exception.
These are the things you need to pack if you go camping with a cat:
- Cat Harness
- Cat Carrier or Cat Backpack
- Cat Leash
- Long Rope Tether
- Pet First Aid Kit
- Cat Cave
- Food and Water Bowls
- Cat Food
- Portable Litter-Box
- LED Tag
- Cat Treats
Both for tethering and walking, you need a cat harness you can trust. It is not recommended to tether a cat unsupervised, more on it later in this list.
Not every harness will serve every purpose or fit every cat. There's always a harness that will work best for your cat and the activity you are planning to do.
We created our own cat harness because we wanted it to be as escape-proof as possible.
Cat Carrier or Cat Backpack
Taking a cat from point "A" to point "B" can be done in many ways, but the two safest options are cat carriers and cat backpacks.
You can find the products we use and love here.
Cat leashes need to be sturdy but tangle free. It's great also if they don't have any knots or the knots they have can be untied, so in case the cats get inside a bush, you can untie the leash knot and allow the rope to run through the bush without getting tangled.
Long Rope Tether
Tethering your cat while supervising them will allow you to do two things at the same time. If you see the leash going tense or your cat backing up, you can get closer and address the problem, avoiding escape.
DON'T TETHER YOUR CAT UNSUPERVISED: Cats are escape artists and tethering unsupervised can get your cat escaping. No cat harness is 100% escape-proof or escape-free.
Pet First Aid Kit
Whether you are traveling, outing in the wild, or having fun with your cat/s while camping, you need a pet medical first aid kit to protect your cat in case the need came.
Some of the minimal requisites of your pet first aid are: Tick remover, Styptic pencil to stop bleeding, bandaids, and a few ointments to disinfect a possible wound.
We own a cat cave, but any small dark spot for your cat to rest will make the trick.
Food and Water Bowls
This is such an easy mistake to make when traveling with your cat... you take the food and all the little amenities that your cat might need, but you forget the bowls to put the food and water in...
While you can put the food in any dish, for cats, drinking water can be a daunting task depending on the bowl you offer them.
It is not recommended that you can abruptly change your cat's food. Sudden changes in your cat's diet can cause gastrointestinal upset and may result in diarrhea, vomiting, and even a reduced appetite for your cat, which you definitely want to avoid when camping.
Ideally, you should plan on taking at least a week to transition your cat from one food to another, so in case you need to put your cat on kibble before going camping, plan the change and do it well in advance.
Some cats will be happy to do their #1 and #2 outdoors, but some get used ot their litter and won't be comfortable using natural dirt.
Bringing your portable litterbox and cat litter is going to be best in those cases.
While when walking your cat during the day you can easily track your cat, a spooked cat at night can be very hard to locate and track.
Attaching a LED tag when your cat is outside at night is advisable, so you can see where it goes in case the harness failed.
Take your best cat treats camping. Cats outdoors have lots of competitive stimuli and using treats that your cat really likes will help you in case you need to convince them to come to you or follow your directions.
If your cat is not motivated by treats, you need to read this article to understand why your cat doesn't like treats.
Disclaimer: This list will most likely change and grow as we continue camping and learning about what we need/don't need and what works best for us!
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Camping with a cat can be such a rewarding experience but may seem daunting at first. We hope this blog helped temper any of your worries or fears but if you have more questions, feel free to email us at email@example.com and we would be more than happy to chat with you!