How to Go Camping With Your Cat
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Thinking about camping conjures images of bonfires, smores, warm drinks, sleeping bags and sharing ghost stories with friends.
Camping is also such a fun part of getting out and about and exploring the world. Given that many members of our community love exploring with their cats, it’s no surprise that they would like to take their cats along for the ride.
But this does raise many questions. How do you keep a cat in a tent? What about kitty litter? How in the world do you manage the midnight zoomsies while you’re in a tent??? And the biggest one – How do you camp with a cat?
We asked our community just this and they shared their experiences and lessons learnt.
Before You Go
A long time before even planning a camping trip, you should acclimatise your cat to travelling in the car. Our recommendation is to start with a few short trips first.
It is tempting to just jump in your car, drive and find a location to camp in.
However, there are some areas where cats are not allowed and we strongly recommend that you check this before you go.
Some areas are wildlife reserves, and do not allow cats to enter at all. A cat on a harness and leash may not be able to reach wildlife but the mere smell of the cat may scare the wildlife.
Get Your Cat Involved in Packing
We suggest involving your cat in packing while you prepare for your trip. This will help get them excited for adventuring!
Photo of Your Cat
This will help you find your cat in the unlikely event that it gets lost. Given that you may run out of battery on your cell phone, we suggest you also take one photo as a hard copy.
You can attach a GPS or Bluetooth tracker to your cat’s harness or collar, which will help you find them if you get separated.
There are several types of litter trays that you can use.
Members in our community use a variety ranging from tupperwear containers, cardboard boxes and kitten litter boxes.
Some members use recycled paper for kitty litter during camping trips as it is lighter to carry. In order to lighten the load (pun intended!) owners only carry the minimum amount of litter required.
Most owners keep the kitty litter tray in the tent with them. Others have the tray in a separate “kitty” tent. And some cats even don’t use the kitty litter tray as they are comfortable with just going outside.
We just ask, that no matter how your cat uses the bathroom – remember to dispose of their waste in a responsible manner.
You Cat’s Camp Space
Some cats enjoy snuggling with their owners in their sleeping bags.
However, others also have their own space to sleep in. For some this is their backpack (which is lined with a fleece blanket). It can also be a separate tent for your cat, a play pen, or even a cat bed/blanket.
For those who camp in a RV, you can attach a cat flap that only opens for your cat’s microchip. This prevents other animals coming into your RV. It is also handy that you can program it to only allow your cat to come in and not got out at certain times.
Other Odds and Ends
We also recommend that you take food, treats, water and bowls for your cat
In cold weather we also recommend any sweaters and jackets that you would normally use.
To Leash or Not to Leash your Cat While Camping
Majority of the owners in the Catexplorer community keep their cats harnessed and attached to their leashes, while they are at camp. For many, this is for peace of mind and to keep them safe.
In saying that, there are a few who do let their cats off leash especially when they are in a safe place and their cat is calm. They keep a close eye on them during this time.
For those who are leashed at camp, their leash is attached to a big object, like a tree or picnic table. A long leash is used to allow them to explore more.
Cats in Tents
One of the reoccurring questions we have been asked is – how do you keep your cat from attacking your tent while camping?
Several members of our community only use old tents when camping with their cats, due to this concern.
However, many indicated that if your cat has been exploring during the day and/or has some pre-bedtime exercise they are likely to sleep soundly through the night and not be interested in playing with your tent.
Also bear in mind that cats love playing with zippers. To save the zippers in your tent, it is suggested that you tuck them in a manner that they are hidden from your cat.
Most cats sleep in the tent with their owners. Many are given their own space to sleep in inside their owner’s tent. These range from their own cat backpacks, to blankets, to beds to their very own mini cat tent.
Some cats even have their own tent that is set up next to their owner’s tent. Their tent not only has their sleeping space, but also their food, water, kitty litter and some toys.
Have you been camping with your cat? We would love to hear all about it!