Road Trip Ready: What to Pack for a Hike with a Cat
Adventure cats are a growing interest in the cat community. This generally involves packing your confident cat in the car and going on a hike! There are cats that love to explore with their people. Whether you’re new to adventuring with your cat or you’re a seasoned hiker, you may wonder what you should include on your trip checklist. The worst feeling is getting to your destination and realizing you forgot something important.
Poop bags or Litter Box
When using natural park resources, it’s always important to leave the trail in better shape than you found it. This is where poop bags or litter materials are needed. Depending on your cat, they may be completely comfortable going potty in nature’s box. That’s where you’ll want to pick up any solids with poop bags.
Some cats will only potty in a litter box. In this case, you will want to bring along a disposable litter box or one from home. Now, it’s not completely practical to carry it around with you while you hike, unless you get creative. It’s worth having a set up in your car that your cat can use if you plan on a long day away from home or if you need to travel a distance to your destination.
Water and Water Bowl
You’ll need to pack fresh water for your cat. Since some cats can be particular about their water source, we recommend bottling up some water from home. If it isn’t possible to bring water from home, test out the water that you plan on providing to your cat before you leave to make sure that they will drink it.
A bowl will be necessary to bring as well. There are a bunch of great options for bowls that fold to make packing the essentials easier. Test out the bowl before you go and make sure your cat will drink out of it and make sure it’s shallow enough not to cause whisker fatigue.
Food, Treats, Bowl
Pack your cat’s normal food. Even if you plan on being back before meal time, it’s good to have at least one portion in case you end up hiking longer than planned. Bring a bowl that your cat is comfortable eating from.
If your cat eats frozen raw, it’s a good idea to bring some freeze dried raw along with you (as long as your cat likes it).
Bring high value treats with you. You never know if your cat will spook at something and need a little help coping with the trigger, if they will get away and need something enticing to lure them back to you, or turn their nose up at their food and need some type of sustenance in their bodies. A bonus is that if your cat is trained, you can take cute pictures of them posing and reward them for a job well done!
A toy is a great thing to bring with you. You’ll want to pick a toy that your cat loves to play with, like a wand toy. This toy will be useful to help de-stress your cat if they are spooked by something or to help get your cat to you if they get loose.
Don’t forget to grab a map of the park or bring a printed map of the area. Phones die and it’s not fun getting lost, especially with your furry friend!
First Aid Kit
Accidents happen unfortunately, so make sure you have the essentials with you to keep your cat safe. Make sure to have wound disinfectant, bandages, cotton balls/ swabs, gauze pads, saline, antibiotic ointment, Benadryl, tick remover, blanket
Collar and Identification
Make sure that your cat has identification securely attached to their harness or collar. Lost cats are difficult to locate them if they have no form of identification. It’s recommended to have your cat microchipped, an identification tag with your current phone number and the word “microchipped” on it, rabies, and license tags.
Harness & Leash
For safety reasons and leash laws, your cat will need a harness and a leash. Do not walk your cat on a collar. Cats have sensitive necks that can be easily injured if there is pressure on it.
Before you leave, inspect the harness to make sure it fits your cat properly and that there is no damage that could cause it to fail. Leash length depends on your cat and the leash laws in your area. I prefer a flat 15 foot biothane leash. This allows my cat to have room to roam, but it strong enough that it won’t snap if it gets tangled in something. It’s also waterproof!
Photo of Cat
Bring a printed, recent photo of your cat in case they are lost. Remember, phones can lose their battery and that won’t be helpful if you’re out looking for your cat.
Cat Backpack or Carrier
Even if your cat loves to just hang out in the car while you are driving, it’s important to have a carrier or roomy cat backpack with you. They are extremely useful if you are in a car accident, if your cat gets tired on the walk, if they are spooked or there is some unexpected danger like loose dogs. If your cat isn’t a fan of their harness or their backpack, check out the Carrier Confidence guide so your cat is in optimal adventuring shape!