Camping With Cats (It’s About Time You Leave The Dogs At Home)

Imagine you’re preparing for your next camping adventure, but instead of leaving your feline friend behind, you’re considering taking them along. Yes, camping with cats is real, and it’s becoming increasingly popular among outdoor enthusiasts.

Cats are not small dogs. “Cats have their own distinct requirements and behaviours that must be managed differently from those of dogs.”
— Dr. Bruce Fogle

We’ll discuss safety, leash training, packing essentials, and updating vaccinations before setting off on the journey.

camping with cats featured image

Preparing for a Camping Trip with Your Cat

Camping with cats isn’t just about bringing them with you; it involves choosing suitable campsites and gradually getting your indoor cat used to being outdoors.

Preparation is key, especially when you plan on bringing your cat along.

The first step involves understanding their behaviour and how well they adapt to new environments. Cats can be unpredictable creatures – some may enjoy the great outdoors while others might prefer the comfort of home.

If this goes well, gradually increase exposure by taking long walks or hikes together leading up to the actual trip. 

Keep in mind that cats don’t have the same vigour levels as canines. Thus, don’t pressure them past what they’re able to do. 

Leash training can be beneficial during these outings, allowing more control over where they go and preventing unexpected accidents.

cat leash training

Ensuring Safety While Camping With Cats

The protection of your cat should be foremost in your mind when camping with them. 

Protecting Against Bugs Using Citronella Or Bug-Repelling Essential Oils

To protect your furry companion from bugs while camping outdoors, consider using natural products like citronella or other bug-repellent essential oils specifically formulated for pets. 

These substances deter pests without harming your cat’s skin or health.

Providing Night-Time Conveniences Like An Indoor Litter Box

No matter if you’re tent camping or in an RV, you must keep the litter boxes inside in a safe place.

I know cat feces may not be what you want sleeping next to you, but it’s a sacrifice you must make on camping trips with your cat.

Not only does this provide comfort for your cat, but it also prevents them from venturing outside alone in dark conditions where they may encounter dangers.

litter box in tent

Adventure Cats – An Emerging Trend

More and more cat owners are bringing their cats along for outdoor activities, like trekking, kayaking, paddleboarding or scaling.

Our feline friends are joining the adventure, adding a unique twist to trips and making them more enjoyable for everyone involved.

However, leash training becomes crucial if you plan on taking your cat on these adventures.

adventure cat on a paddle board

Leash Training Essentials

Cats aren’t naturally inclined to be leashed like dogs. However, they can be trained effectively with patience and positive reinforcement techniques. 

A well-trained cat will make your camping experience smoother and less stressful. Check out this guide on how to leash-train your cat.

10 Tips For Camping With Your Cat

Packing Essentials for a Furry Companion on Trips

Don’t forget their favourite mouse toy or blanket! Remembering the little things will make your trip much more enjoyable for you and your cat.

Packing Appropriate Food and Water Supplies

Your feline companion will need plenty of fresh water, especially if you’re heading into warmer climates or planning strenuous activities like hiking. 

Make sure you pack enough of your cat’s food to last the duration of your camping adventure.

Also, if you have a cat that requires special food from a vet, like our Mr. Lynx, make sure you know where to get it if you happen to run out on the road.

Necessary Items (Harnesses, Leashes, Beds)

Cats aren’t typically used to being outdoors in unfamiliar environments, so you must bring along suitable restraints such as harnesses and leashes. 

To get them used to the camping lifestyle, a good quality cat leash and harness can provide security when exploring without restricting their natural curiosity too much.

I wouldn’t let my cat roam on its own as it may get spooked and run!

If temperatures drop during the night (or even during the daytime), a cozy sleeping bag designed for pets could keep them warm and comfortable.

cat cozy in bed

Health Considerations Before Setting Off On The Journey

Before bringing kitty camping, ensure your cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date, and they have received the necessary immunizations for fleas, ticks, and heartworm prevention. 

Besides ensuring that all necessary vaccines have been administered, these are also important to consider:

  • Always keep your kitty in a cat carrier while driving to the camping destination. This simple precaution can help avoid potential accidents or injuries on the road.
  • Maintain a consistent feeding schedule during your trip. Cats thrive on routine; sudden changes can cause stress or digestive issues.
  • If you plan to leave your cat unattended at the site, ensure they have places to hide and are protected from outside danger.

Remember that an unfamiliar environment may scare them, so you want to create a safe space for them.

bring their favourite toys, bed and create spots to hide in

Choosing Suitable Campsites

The first step is to choose a camping destination where pets are allowed onsite. Some places have restrictions in place due to local wildlife concerns. 

HipCamp is a great resource for this. Once you’ve found a pet-friendly site, here are some additional tips:

  1. Pick a campground with sparsely populated sites if possible. This will provide privacy and peace of mind without worrying about disturbing neighbours or drawing unwanted attention to your precious cargo.
  2. Check weather conditions before departure. This is important, especially if you’re tent camping. That way, you can pack accordingly (or not go at all if it’s going to be a soggy mess!)
  3. Invest in a cat backpack so your furry friend can explore with you. Amazon has some great cat backpack options!

FAQs in Relation to Camping With Cats

Is it a Good Idea To Take a Cat Camping?

Taking a cat camping can be a good idea if you ensure their safety and comfort. Cats that are comfortable in new environments and with the necessary vaccinations and identification can enjoy outdoor adventures.

However, assessing your cat’s temperament is important, as preparing appropriate gear and providing a secure camping environment make it a positive experience.

How Do You Camp With an Indoor Cat?

Camping with an indoor cat requires gradual acclimation. Start by introducing your cat to camping gear indoors, then progress to short outdoor trips in a safe, enclosed area.

Use a secure harness and leash, provide a comfortable carrier, and create a familiar environment with their bed, litter box, and toys.

Supervise your cat closely and prioritize their safety and well-being throughout the cat camping experience.

Can Cats Camp in a Tent?

Yes, absolutely! Cats can join you on a camping adventure inside a tent. Ensure the tent offers enough space for you and your furry friend to move around comfortably.

Introduce them to the tent before the trip, which will give them a chance to explore and get used to their new surroundings.

When they’re Inside the tent, it’s a good idea to use a secure carrier or a harness and leash to prevent any unexpected escapes and ensure your cat’s safety throughout the camping experience.

Can a Cat Claw Through a Tent?

Cats have the potential to claw through tents, especially if they are anxious or feel trapped. To prevent this, consider using a sturdy, claw-resistant tent or a separate secure area within the tent where your cat can relax.

Regularly trim your cat’s nails and provide appropriate scratching posts to redirect their scratching behaviour.

Are Cats Safe in a Tent?

Cats can be safe in a tent with proper precautions. Ensure the tent is securely zipped at all times to prevent accidental escapes.

Create a comfortable and familiar space for your cat inside the tent, including their bedding, toys, and litter box.

Supervise your cat while they are inside the tent, and avoid leaving them unattended for extended periods to ensure their safety.

Will My Cat Sleep in a Tent?

Whether or not your cat will sleep in a tent depends on their individual comfort level.

Some cats may feel relaxed and comfortable and choose to sleep inside the tent. Others may prefer a familiar space outside the tent or in a secure carrier.

Provide options and observe your cat’s behaviour to determine their preferred sleeping arrangement during camping trips.


So you see, you can enjoy camping with cats as long as you prioritize their well-being and come prepared. Once they’re used to being in one, a cat backpack will be your best friend!

If you’re going to be camping during hot weather, you must keep everyone (including the kitty) cool. My next article below should help!

Keeping Cool While Camping