Outdoor camping is a great way to spend time during winter. It has the added advantage of helping you connect with nature while having fun. As a pet parent and cat owner, you would never dream of leaving your beloved feline home alone while you go on to enjoy the great outdoors.
Camping with your cat, especially during winter, requires you to make meticulous plans. Otherwise, neither you nor your cat will find the trip enjoyable. Before you go, ask yourself if your cat is the outdoorsy type. If she’s leaning more towards being a couch potato, you might want to consider some other bonding activity for you both.
The following tips will help you on your next winter camping trip:
#1. Don’t Scrimp on Gear
Outdoor camping is a different kettle of fish than staying at home. So you do not want to leave anything out. Anything that you think may somehow, probably be useful on your trip, should go into your camping packing list.
Your gear should include, but is not limited to:
Cat harness or cat leash: As much as possible, make sure your cat is trained and used to the harness before the trip. Waiting until the last possible minute to get your cat into the harness will be the equivalent of teaching an old cat new tricks.
Winter Jacket: While most feline species are hairy, an extra layer of protection from extreme weather conditions won’t hurt. Jackets made from wool will conserve more heat and keep your furry friend warmer for longer.
Litter Trays: Even on camping trips, cats need a place to do their catty businesses. Litter trays help ensure that neither you nor others have to step in cat poo. Take it from me; nobody likes that. Also, dispose of your litter trays properly.
Collar and Identity Tags: Your cat’s identification tags should be clear and legible. It should include, in addition to your cat’s name, your name, address, and your phone number. If you are open to the idea, putting a microchip on your cat will also help you keep tabs on your cat.
Light: While your cat may have excellent night vision, you have no such advantage. Powerful flashlights, preferably battery-powered, should have their special place in your camping bag. You do not want to fall in a ditch and have Catty go run for help because you were unable to see two feet in front of you.
First Aid Kit: While a first aid kit may seem superfluous, many a camper have thanked their lucky stars and their friendly neighborhood pet website for reminding them to pack this. Bandages, scissors, and antiseptics are some of the things your first aid kit should contain.
Shelter: This is a little bit obvious, but I think it needs mentioning. Unless you really want to be one with nature, and not in a good way, you should pack a camping tent. If not for you, then for your cute little cat. If you don’t already have a winter tent, you should consider a winter tent with a stove jack.
Fire: It is always a smart idea to pack matches in cases that are waterproofed. Chemical fire starters are good too. Tinder or lint will always come in useful also, especially since it is winter.
Navigation: Chances are that you cannot find your way by charting the stars. The good news is, you don’t have to. There is a magical tool that does that for you. It’s called a compass. Try to pack one along with your gear. GPS is a good idea too, but compasses do not run out of battery.
Cat Toys: Cats love their toys. Pack your cat’s favorite toys with you on your camping trip. Even when you’re busy and can’t pay Catty too much attention, Catty will have something to keep her busy.
Cat Carrier: This will come in handy when driving to and from your campsite.
#2 Everybody is Happier with Food
Food and water are as necessary on a camping trip as ‘air’. Make sure to have more food packed than you know what to do with. It is better to err on the side of caution and have food left over than to have your cat’s food exhausted before the end of your camping trip.
Please note here that, as much as you possibly can, packs the same food and water that your cat consumes at home on your camping trip. Changing water or food could give your cat an undesirable case of diarrhea.
Bring along copious quantities of potable water for you and your cat. You both must keep hydrated. Relying on water from rivers or streams is not a very healthy option unless you have a water filter. Cats and humans are susceptible to water-borne diseases.
Water bowls and food bowls should make it into your packing list. Catty should not have to eat or drink off the floor.
Why should she?
#3 Exercise, Yaaay!
The whole point of leaving the relative comfort of your home to go camping is to spend quality time in the outdoors. That point becomes moot when you stay all day in your tent and do not venture outside. Winter does put a restriction on some of the activities you and Catty can have, but that is not to say you cannot exercise and have fun with it. You can go hiking – as long as the trail is not too long. No cat ever likes walking long distances; leash or no leash. If your cat is up to it, you can play fetch. Your cat should never be bored during the camping.
#4. Above All, Safety
Before your cat is ready to have winter camping outing, she needs to be up to date on her vaccines. This is really important. Not only do vaccines keep your cat healthy, but they also protect you from getting cat diseases like rabies. Please don’t take this lightly.
Camping outdoors is a great holiday or weekend idea for you and your pet. And now that you know how to prepare, I am confident that your next camping trip with your fluffy little kitty will be an adventure of a lifetime.