I probably Googled camping with my cat a thousand times before we decided to take the plunge and actually go camping with the cat .
We’d booked time off work to move house, but after a couple of solicitor bugger ups, our completion date was delayed and alas we had a free bank holiday weekend.
Wanting to make the most of our campervan, i asked around to see if anyone could cat / house sit for us, but had no joy. We’ll take her with us! i proclaimed. It will be a nightmare! said a worried Ed, but after a bit of light persuasion he agreed to give it ago.
We decided to go somewhere that wasn’t too far away, so i found a lovely little campsite in Painters Forstal in Kent and booked us in for two nights.
So before i go into the details, a few little insights into Lola (the cat) or #Queen_lols_ as we like to call her.
Shes not your normal cat. I’d actually say shes more dog than cat. Shes likes humans, shes not shy and she chases and bites your ankles when you walk past her. She’s had three surgeries in her short little two year life, from eating random objects like hair rollers and bikini straps, but despite this shes got a huge personality and she wants to be wherever i am – even if its in the bath or on the loo. So really it just seemed right to take her with us.
So before i tell you how amazing it was, i’ll start with the bits that weren’t so good. The travelling….. Lola’s used to travelling, she’s gone from A to B many a times, sometimes she doesn’t mind it, sometimes she hates it. This weekend she wasn’t so keen and as we headed towards the Dartford Tunnel i started to think it wasn’t such a good idea to take her. However, as we set the pace on the motorway she settled a bit, i wouldn’t say she was calm, but she’d stopped doing back flips in her carry case and we both began to relax a bit. An hour and a half later as we headed towards the campsite hoping to find a little shop on the way to buy a few essential, we soon realised we were in the middle of nowhere and therefor we’d need to drive back towards the town to get some additional bits of food for the weekend. TOP TIP – if your taking your cat camping and she doesn’t like the travelling in the van bit, then BUY EVERYTHING YOU NEED BEFORE YOU SET OFF! It would have been soooo much smoother if we’d done this! But, we got what we needed and headed back to the campsite.
So next on to the good bit, which was 95% of the trip. We got an amazing spot at the back of the campsite which was next to a huge cherry tree field. As we set up and unpacked, Lola just sat quite content in the van, the doors were open and she sat on the step by the door but was too wary to venture. She seemed happy to watch us busy around and set up the camp. We had a little wooden box with us in the van and she snuggled in here and just watched the world go by for the next few hours.
We set up her little litter tray at the back of the van, and her tray with food and water under the seats near the front. We also brought a blanket from home that she sleeps on so that she had some familiar smells around her. It took her a few hours to settle but by the evening she was becoming more confident and looking like she wanted to venture. At this point we put her lead on her, i knew she wouldn’t run away, but being in a new strange place i wanted to make sure there was no chance of her sneaking off without us seeing.
We all slept comfortably, Lola slept at my feet and didn’t move all night and i went to sleep feeling happy that she was snuggled up with us in our little van.
The next day was the best, we sunbathed, did yoga, had copious amounts of BBQed food and Lola was on her lead all day, happy to just snoop about and lie in the sun, she was totally herself, playful, alert, and happy to be around us. As evening came and we ploughed through our 20 stubby beers and more BBQed veggie sausages, we made a camp fire and all sat together to watch the sun set. Whenever we go away, it always feels like a little part of us is missing, but with Lola being with us on our little holiday, it really did feel complete and totally content.
When we woke up on Monday it was windy and rainy, which made it slightly easier to prepare for home. The journey back was not as bad as the way there, we had a few back flips but she sat wide eyed for most of the way. As we brought her back into the flat, she has a quick sniff around and then passed out on the bed, as if she’s never left the house, happy to be home but I’m sure she was dreaming of the Kent countryside
If you are going to take your cat camping here are a few of my top tips:
- Not all cats are made to camp, you know your cat and what he/she is like. A timid, shy cat might not enjoy the trip as much as Lola did
- Get the travel box / carry case out a few days before you go to get her used to it
- Take things that smell of home to remind your cat of home and safety
- Buy everything you need before you go to avoid any stress during the journey (for both you and the cat)
- Don’t forget the litter tray, food and water bowl
- Remember to take a lead – this is essential for the safety of your cat
- If your cat has never worn a lead before then its probably best to get her used to it before you leave the house, Lola has worn her since she was little as she was a house cat for the first year, so it wasn’t a new experience for her.
- Allow the cat to acclimatise to the place. We let Lola snoop around and do what she wanted to do, we didn’t force her to come outside the van and let her decide when she wanted to venture, this way it was on her own accord and she decided when she wanted to venture.
- Have fun – This was one of the most amazing experiences, so dont worry, have fun and enjoy the time with your special furry friend.
- Take some Feliway, it will help with the travelling, but also if your cat doesn’t settle as well as you’d hoped when you arrive.
To follow more of Lolas adventures you can find her on Instagram here @Queen_lols_