5 Essential Things To Pack When Camping With Cats
As time goes by, the composition of a typical American household is not just limited to the number of humans living under one roof; there are some households that consider their pets as a family member.
To cater to the growing demand, more and more pet-friendly nature parks and camping grounds are being opened for the public to visit and spend time with their families. As of 2017, there are over 65,000 pet-friendly locations scattered across the US.
But of course, like children, cats must have some essentials that they need as they join you on your adventure. Here are five must-haves you should pack when you camp with your feline friend (Note: food, water, and a cat carrier are not included in this list since it is already common sense to bring them):
- Poop bags or small litter box
Yes, cats can freely dump their excrement at any part of the woods and doing so would definitely help the plant life. Unfortunately, some camping sites don’t allow cats and dogs to do just that.
Why? Animal feces may contain parasites that can be passed on to humans and, in the case of small children, endanger their lives. The bacteria Toxoplasma gondii is a microorganism inherent in the fecal matter of domesticated cats. It is proven to be dangerous especially for pregnant women upon ingestion.
For this reason, poop bags or a small litter box are a must-add to your feline camping gear. It is important to know more about the guidelines and policies involved when taking your pet (plus the additional fees) which is why you should contact the campsite a week or so before the trip.
- Harness and Leash
Before finally deciding to take your feline with you on the trip, it must first undergo leash training. This is to ensure that you can supervise and control your cat while in the presence of other campers and to prevent it from getting lost among acres and acres of green land.
Unlike what other pet owners might think, cats can also be trained to be put on a leash (it’s not just a dog thing!). There are a lot of tutorial videos and articles available on the Internet that show how you can do it yourself. But if you are unsure, you can always ask the help of a cat trainer.
If the idea of restraining its movements sounds outrageous to your feline as might be shown by its constant thrashing and growling whenever you try to put on the harness,think twice before taking the cat with you. It might only end up causing you more problems during the entire trip.
- Flea, tick, and/or mosquito repellent
The camping site is sure to have a lot of foreign substances – both living and not; thriving in that patch of land. To ensure that your cat is protected from all of them, take a trip to the vet at least two weeks before the trip. Remember, you never know what kind of parasite might be lurking in the lush greenery of nature so it would be better if you and your cat come prepared.
While there, ask the vet for vaccination updates and routine check-up. Ensure that your cat is in a clean bill of health before strapping it on the backseat.
And while you are at it, ask your vet for recommendations on what brand of bug repellent you can bring to ensure that your cat is protected from any parasites during the whole trip instead of just buying any product. This is to avoid potential dangers such as allergic reactions from the product’s ingredients or
poisoning (remember, your cat licks its fur). Your vet may also give you tips on how to apply it, too.
- Collars and identification
If you plan to go to a camping site that is states away from home, you must check that area’s laws first with regards to pet microchipping. Some states require every pet within their borders; both visiting and living, to have a microchip implant.
Microchips provide tracking identification to your cat once it gets lost in the wild. Once the authorities realize that the found feline has an owner through the device, it would increase the chances of you reuniting with your pet again.
To further protect your cat from getting lost, have a recent photo of it on your phone. That way, you can personally look for your kitty yourself by asking other campers if they have seen it.
- Sun protection
Cats, especially the light-colored ones, can also experience sunburn when exposed to the sun for too long just like humans. Despite the large tufts of fur that hide their skin, ultraviolet rays can still seep through. Without the protection of sunscreen, skin problems can occur.
Since cats have different skin composition compared to humans, you must give them a sunscreen product that is formulated for their species. Just like the bug repellent, ask your vet for any brand recommendations to avoid unexpected reactions.
To avoid the hassle of having to think and rethink about everything you need to bring, take the time to list down every item you must pack for the trip. Of course, don’t forget to prepare a camping checklist for your cat as well – that is if you do decide to bring it along.