Are you considering including your cat in your outdoor travels? While cats aren’t traditionally seen as adventure buddies, the number of adventure cats hitting the trails and staying at campgrounds has been on the rise. Of course, adding another family member to your travels means adding the necessary cat camping gear to your packing list!
The first thing to consider is your cat’s personality and what style of outdoor adventurer they will be.
What type of camping do you enjoy? The gear necessary for an RV cat will differ in many ways from a tent camper like our two, Pippen and Jinx.
To help you get started, we have compiled a list of our must-have cat camping gear for in the tent, around the campsite, on the trails, and on the water. We currently use and trust these items during our travels.
Of course, every cat has their own unique personality…
If there is something you feel is essential for your camping cat, don’t be afraid to add it to the list. This is their vacation too!
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Cat Camping Accessories for the Tent
Comfortable Bed and Bedding
When your cat turns in for the night, you want to ensure they have a cozy place to lay their head.
Selecting the right bed will depend on your cat’s preferences. While some cats are happy curling up on a soft blanket, others sleep better with a cave-style bed.
During colder temperatures like you would encounter when fall or spring camping, consider adding an extra blanket or using a self-heating bed like the Furhaven ThermaNAP Self-Warming Pad.
When the temperatures climb in the heat of summer, a raised bed like the K&H Pet Products Cozy Cot Elevated Pet Bed will allow airflow underneath the bed to keep your cat cool. An elevated bed may also be more accessible for a senior cat to get in and out of.
Small Pet Playpen or Crate
If you’re concerned about your cat escaping the tent either when the door is open or by destroying your tent walls, you may want to keep them contained safely overnight.
You can use a standard pet crate for this purpose. But we prefer a soft-sided playpen like the Ruff ‘N Ruffus Portable Pet Playpen.
Select a size that is large enough for everything your cat will need overnight and some room to move about comfortably. If you have two cats, an extra-large playpen will allow you to keep them together.
Travel Litter Box
While some cats can be trained to go to the bathroom outdoors just like a dog when they are adventuring, most cats will need a litter box.
Standard plastic litterboxes can be bulky, making them difficult to travel with. Especially if you are taking your cat tent camping and don’t have the added benefit of a trailer or RV to store your cat’s gear.
We have tried several different setups with our two, each with their pros and cons to consider.
When camping in high-risk bear territory, we prefer disposable litter boxes like the Kitty Sift Disposable Cat Litter Box. This allows us to place a new, unused box in the tent each night to eliminate smells for bear safety reasons.
On trips where we aren’t as concerned about outside predators, we prefer the travel-friendly design of the Pet Fit For Life Collapsible Cat Litter Box.
Quiet Nighttime Toys
Cats are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. This can lead to challenges with your cat in your tent, in close quarters.
Packing some quiet nighttime toys is one way to keep your cat entertained while getting some much-needed sleep.
Choose toys that don’t jingle, crinkle, or make other loud noises that could keep you awake.
An excellent option for kittens and highly playful cats (like our girl Pippen) is the Petstages Nighttime Glow Firefly Mat. It runs on batteries, making it a tent-friendly solution.
Cat Camping Gear Around the Campsite
Outdoor Enclosure or Tie Out
When taking a cat camping, one of the most important considerations is how you will keep them contained safely during the day.
There are many different options and schools of thought.
If you are RV camping or camping in a trailer, your cat may be the most comfortable staying there throughout the day except when they are out with you on a leash.
For tent campers, especially during the summer, the heat in the tent may not be safe for your cat.
We prefer to set up an outdoor enclosure that keeps them safely contained while also offering a level of protection from any off-leash dogs that may be in the area.
This creates a large enough space for your cat’s litterbox, food, water, outdoor bedding, and some room for them to play throughout the day.
Food and Treats
To keep your cat from experiencing an upset stomach, you want to stick to the same food and feeding schedule that works for you at home.
Feed your cat outdoors during the day, but avoid bringing the cat food into your tent, which could attract wildlife.
We are big fans of hydrating kibble when feeding our cats for added flavour boost and hydration. Mixing kibble and canned food is another way to make hydration a priority.
When selecting treats, consider offering a lickable treat. They are great for training and help to prevent dehydration.
Portable Food and Water Bowls
In addition to your cat’s food, you must pack a bowl they can eat out of. Unless, of course, you plan on just sharing your camping dishes.
We prefer using the Prima Pet Expandable/Collapsible Silicone Travel Bowl in size small for our cats.
The collapsible design of the bowls makes them easy for travel. Extending the bowl just a little or leaving it flat makes creating a shallow kitty dish easy.
You can also clip them onto your bag when heading out for day trips, always keeping a water dish conveniently on hand.
Pet-Friendly First Aid Kit
One piece of cat camping gear that is overlooked FAR too often is a pet-friendly first aid kit. This could make all the difference in an emergency!
Contrary to popular opinion, a standard human first aid kit won’t have everything your cat may need.
Some items that we recommend adding with your furry travel companions in mind include:
- Styptic Powder
- Vet Wrap
- Cat Nail Clippers
- Flea Comb
- Tick Removal Kit
- Cone-Style Emergency Collar
- Pee Pads
- Rubber Booties
Additionally, you may want to pack a cat-friendly muzzle. Introduce the muzzle at home first, conditioning your cat to wear it comfortably before your travels. Even the friendliest cat may lash out if they are experiencing pain.
Hiking Gear for Your Camping Cat
Leash and Harness
Selecting the right harness for your cat is incredibly important. You want to find a comfortable option that fits properly and holds your cat securely.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles. Finding the harness that works best for your cat’s needs may take a little trial and error.
Introduce the harness at home slowly, working up to having your cat wear it for an extended time. A cat that is comfortable wearing and walking in a harness is far less to escape, as they aren’t stressed or fighting the harness when you’re out.
Use our discount code to take 10% off your order: THEKASPACK10
Cat Backpack or Carrier
There are several reasons why a cat backpack or carrier is an essential addition to every cat-friendly hiker’s packing list.
Not only does your cat’s backpack offer a place to rest their little paws when they get tired, but it can also serve as a safe place to retreat when stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed.
It’s also a key safety measure if you encounter dangers like an off-leash dog, keeping your kitty safely contained.
Portable Water Source
When taking your cat hiking, you must always have plenty of clean, fresh water on hand to keep them hydrated.
There are many great pet water bottle options for hikers, including our current go-to, the KONG Insulated Dog Water Bottle & Travel Bowl. We can toss it in our hiking bag or day pack, and we’re prepared for the hydration needs of all our pets.
Cat-Safe Insect Repellent and Sunscreen
A couple of examples of important cat camping accessories that may be needed at camp and on the trails are cat-safe insect repellent and sunscreen.
Don’t use your products on your cat. Insect repellents and sunscreens made for humans contain ingredients that could make your cat sick (or worse). Always pack pet-safe products.
Vet’s Best Natural Flea + Tick Wipes also effectively keep mosquitoes at bay.
If you have a cat with a very short coat or a hairless breed of cat, you may also need to consider pet-friendly sunscreen.
We don’t currently need sunscreen for our cats, so we don’t have a specific product to recommend. Instead, we suggest contacting your veterinarian for recommendations.
Adventure Cat Supplies on the Water
Cat Life Jacket
There is a well-known myth that all cats hate water. The truth is that there are cats who are comfortable on the water in a canoe or kayak.
Some cats even enjoy getting into the water to cool off by getting their paws wet or swimming.
The rule of thumb with our pack is that in any situation where we are required to have a life jacket, our pets must wear a life jacket too.
Jinx has ZERO interest in being anywhere near water. But Pippen has a ZippyPaws Adventure Life Jacket for her adventures on or around the water.
Biothane Long Line
If you have a cat interested in swimming or exploring more along the shoreline, you may want to give them a little more freedom than a standard leash offers.
For these situations, we use a Biothane long line from KittyCatGo.
You can contact Emily using the link for leashes we shared above (and even take advantage of our discount code). She can make a long line to fit the specs you are looking for lengthwise.
Did we include any cat camping gear on our list that you hadn’t considered? Are there other gear options we missed that you love? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!