Can You Take Cats Camping? Important Tips To Know

Are you going on a camping trip and wondering if you can take your feline friend along for the adventure? The answer is yes, you can. However, it’s not as simple as just packing a leash and some treats; your feline needs special consideration before you embark on an outdoor adventure.

Continue reading to discover how to effectively plan an enjoyable camping trip for you and your kitty.

What Do I Need To Do Before I Take My Cat Camping?

Taking your cat on a camping trip requires thorough planning and a little compromise on your part. Ideal trips for cats include trailer camping or a tent set up only a short hike from your car. If you plan on embarking on an eight-mile hike, then this trip isn’t for your kitty.

It’s vital to check the status of the campsite you are staying at; cats are allowed at some grounds, but not others and many national parks allow cats so long as they are on a lead. In addition, you may have to pay a little bit extra if you plan on bringing your pet.

Once you’ve established that your campsite is pet friendly, you’ll need to conduct a weather check. Many cats will not enjoy being stuck outdoors in the rain or a storm. At the same time, you need to assess the temperature and your breed of cat.

If the forecast is sunny, short hair or hairless cats may need sunscreen to protect them against harmful UV rays. These same cats may struggle to keep warm if the temperature is too cold. On the other hand, a long-haired cat won’t enjoy being stuck in high temperatures all day with no reprieve.

What Should I Pack For My Cat When I Take Him Camping?

Once you’ve done all the necessary checks and decided that your camping trip will be suitable for your feline, the next step is to pack the right gear for them. In addition to your camping supplies, there are numerous extra items you’ll need to pack for your fur baby to keep them happy and healthy.


Potable water is essential for both you and your cat, especially if you’re packing dry food for the trip. Cats descend from their North African ancestors who lived in deserts and arid environments. This means that they’ve inherited the ability to deal with low amounts of water and have developed kidneys that are two and a half times better at getting rid of waste products than ours. 

When you leave cats to their own devices, they will feed on prey such as mice and rats, which are 70% water. Similarly, the wet food we serve to our cats is around 70-80% water. But, dry food only contains between 5% and 10%, so it’s easy for felines to become dehydrated when consuming an all-dry diet.

A stream may provide a source of freshwater, but you shouldn’t rely on this unless you have a water filter of purification tablets. Contaminated water is dangerous for cats and humans and can put them at risk of waterborne diseases such as giardiasis.

Collapsible water bowl

Your cat will need a means of drinking, and a collapsible bowl is an excellent, lightweight option that doesn’t take up too much space in your backpack.

You can find a lightweight water bowl for your pet at any online retail store like Amazon, Chewy, or even Walmart. 


With an outdoor adventure, you’re likely to be burning more calories than average, and the same goes for your kitty. 

The average outdoor cat requires about 35 calories per pound to maintain its weight, while an indoor-outdoor cat requires about 28 calories per pound to maintain its weight. Therefore, if you have a ten-pound cat, you’ll need to pack 280-350 calories worth of food for each day of your camping trip.

A few additional treats are an excellent incentive for your cat to follow your instructions.

First aid kit

First aid supplies aren’t just for humans; your feline also requires basic supplies in case of an injury.

  • Pillowcase – this will help restrict your cat if there is an emergency.
  • Gauze pads/Roll gauze – for any bleeding wounds or for bandaging.
  • Syringe/Saline solution – to flush out wounds and aid in administering any tablets they need.
  • Latex gloves – to protect against infection entering any cuts on your feline. And to protect you against any cat diseases (especially from cat feces)
  • Tick remover
  • Benadryl tablets – these can treat bee stings or bug bites. In general, you’ll require around 1mg per pound of weight, but consult with your vet before leaving for your trip.
  • List of emergency numbers – make sure vital numbers such as an after-hours vet hospital and the National Animal Poison Control Centre are on your phone.


Sun protection is vital for your feline, especially if they are pale-skinned or short-haired. Many companies have formulated specific sunscreens, and while you can use some human versions on your cat, it’s always important to consult your vet before using human products.

Collar and ID tag 

Any time your cat is outdoors, it should wear some form of identification in case it gets lost. Many vets will recommend getting your feline microchipped to prevent any disappearances.

Carrying a recent photo of your cat is also a good idea in case they wander off.

Leash and harness

A leash is a vital component for taking your cat on an outdoor trip and adding reflective tape or LED lights can help increase your cat’s visibility.

Litter bags or boxes 

Hikers are asked to “leave no trace” when exploring the great outdoors, and the same applies to cats, so you’ll need the means to collect and dispose of their waste. For cats used to pooping outside, litter bags are an excellent lightweight solution.

On the other hand, if your cat is particular about where they poop, you might need to source a foldable litter box to take with you.

blanket and toys

The space in your backpack may be limited, but including your cat’s favorite blanket and toy can help them get settled into a new environment.

How Do I Train My Cat To Enjoy Spending Time Outdoors?

One of the most important things to do pre camping trip is to get your cat used to being on a harness. If you haven’t walked your cat on a leash before, take it slowly and let them get used to it step by step. Once your cat is happy to go for walks around the garden and your neighborhood on his leash, you’re ready to try a hike.

Camping is a fully immersive nature experience that will be too overwhelming for an indoor cat. To consider taking your cat on such a trip, it needs to be an indoor/outdoor mix at the very least and be comfortable with taking walks outside.

To prepare your feline for the campsite itself, try doing a dummy run with your tent. Set it up in your back garden and “camp out” for the night to allow your cat to get used to the surroundings.

What Do I Do With My Cat Once We’re At The Campsite?

When you take your cat camping, the trip must be about both of you. You can’t get to the campsite and then leave your cat tied up alone for hours while you go off on a hike.

Your cat should be in your line of sight at all times to prevent him from wandering off where he could encounter plants or animals that he shouldn’t. Ideally, keep him on a lead or in a carrier when you can.

Final Thoughts

When taking your cat on a camping trip, your primary focus should be providing a safe and fun environment. By planning and getting your cat used to similar conditions, you’ve got a good chance for your camping trip.

If your cat doesn’t enjoy it, don’t be disheartened, some breeds don’t adapt to this type of trip, and it all depends on your cat’s individual personality.

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