This will be the first of many posts that cover the subject of camping with cats. We have two older cats and they will be going camping with us most of the time. Right now I am in the planning stages and waiting for our travel trailer to arrive.
Any cat owner knows that cats have minds all their own. They are quirky, individualists and most of all non-conformists! I believe that all cats are much smarter than we give them credit for, but they don’t really care what we think!
Cats Hate Riding in Vehicles
A short ride to the vet causes my Fontana to emit noises I never otherwise hear. Her meowing is deep and loud as if she is yelling at me to stop the car! Skittle on the other hand is completely silent. But, she tends to get car sick on longer rides.
When I moved from New Hampshire back to Florida a few years ago, I had to drive my Subaru with both cats in the back of my car! It took three long days, but the cats did pretty well. I wrote about the experience on this Wizzley page.
We still have the two cages which will be used on the back seat of our truck while traveling. The cages can be carried into the camper for rest stops and to let the cats move around, eat and use the litter box. Or, at least that is the hope.
Skittle’s cage has an upper level (made from wood) to be sure she can see out the window. She can only lie down but it was great for her. This apparently helps with her car sickness, as she was not sick any of the three travel days during the move.
So Tip #1 is to find a good way to transport the cats. The cages I used are called Small Dog Crates and were purchased on Amazon – this is an Affiliate link.
Personally, I believe the cat should be able to have a view while traveling. It’s why I chose the open type dog crate and chose not to coop them up in a regular carrier, like the one I use for the vet visits.
Even though they both had food, water and a small litter box, they didn’t use any of that much while we were riding.
Cats Outside at Campsites
The fact that both my cats go outside in my yard leads me to believe that they may appreciate being outside while we camp. However, I’m not sure I like that idea at all. If I decide to let them out, they will need a fenced area, just like dogs have.
Here are the pros and cons (mostly cons) of putting cats outside at a campsite. First of all, will it be worth it? My cats like to room the yard at home, and they do stay in the yard. Will they be happy inside a fence in a strange place, or will they just be scared?
Lots of people camp with dogs. What if a dog is loose, or gets loose. Will stray dogs charge the fence and scare the cats? I mean, how sturdy can a fence be?
We will have to make room to take a fence with us and take the time to set it up and take it down.
The only pro would be if the cats truly enjoy their time outside. And we won’t know unless we spend the money and try it. Also, once they get used to going out while we camp, they will expect to do it all the time. Starting this habit may be a big mistake.
Even though they are indoor / outdoor cats, they will have the entire camper to roam. Fontana mostly sleeps inside all day long anyway. Skittle is the one who would appreciate being outside the most.
Cat Freedom, Is It Necessary?
Whenever I think about taking my cats camping, I realize it may be a bit stressful for all of us. But if I kennel the cats, they will be stuck inside a small cage for the time I am gone – not to mention how expensive this will be! So having a big camping trailer to traverse day and night is not at all bad. This is why I think I want them to stay inside the trailer where it’s safe. Also, they will be with us, and not strangers.
Every now and then I toy with the idea of trying a harness so they could take a walk outside.
Cat harnesses don’t work. If you need proof of that, just go read reviews at Amazon. In fact, if you need a good laugh, read the reviews and watch the videos! Sometimes it’s not funny though when people believe that their cat’s harness is truly escape-proof. Cats are escape artists. Cats get lost this way.
When we first moved into this house, I tried to keep Skittle on a harness so she could get used to the yard and know where our place was. A motorcycle went by and she was out of that harness in an instant! Fortunately, she was in the yard and didn’t go far. If she had gotten out at a strange location, who knows where she would have gone.
Know your cat. Some cats probably do well on a harness in certain settings. But most cats will be scared of loud noises or dogs rushing at them!
The Dreaded Litter Box
The worst thing about having cats it the need for a litter box. We don’t have our camper yet, but I’m trying to find information about how cat campers deal with it. Some people cut a little “door” in the cabinet under the table bench and hide the box inside. Some people leave it in the shower area. I’m not at all sure where we will put ours.
I’m also looking into getting a better litter box system so litter won’t be tracked everywhere.
I’ll be writing more as we actually do travel and live with the cats in the camper. For now, I am simply planning ahead.