Camping with Dogs is So Much Fun (but don’t tell the cat)

Everybody loves camping with their dog but have you tried camping with a cat?

Of course not, that’s just plain silly.

Hey What About Me?
We always take our dog Jasmine camping because dogs love the great outdoors. Lately though, our cat Yogi has been getting bummed when we leave her at home which made me contemplate for maybe a minute or two, taking her along. Here are a few reasons she probably won’t be invited.

Getting There is Half The Fun
Dogs love riding in a car. The cat: not so much. Dogs will hang their head out the window and be in heaven. The cat prefers to hang right where my feet touch the pedals. We have a carrier for the cat just for this reason but then we have to listen to her cry all the way there. Maybe that’s partially because the only time she rides in the car in her carrier is on the way to the vet. If I knew every time I got in the car I was getting shots, I think I would cry too.

Security Systems
Dogs are like a built-in security system. If anything comes near camp she will let me know. She also keeps critters out at the same time. Chipmunks don’t steal my chips when Jasmine is around. Yogi, my cat is great at chasing off critters but she has to be awake to do that. When you sleep like 85% of the time, it’s hard to catch them all.

It’s All in the Training
You need to be able to control your pet when out camping, both for her protection and others. Some campgrounds require pets be on a leash at all times. That’s why we don’t frequent campgrounds too often: for one, Jasmine prefers to run around and for two, there is no way on earth I am going to try to put a leash on Yogi. As far as keeping an eye on them, Jasmine will come when called, pretty much all of the time. Yogi the cat doesn’t have quite as good a record. She will come if I call her name, shake her bag of kitty treats and then, only if she’s willing and awake. Jasmine seems to keep an ear open for just this sort of thing. You call her, she comes. You call Yogi and well, it’s hit or miss and by that I mean mostly miss.

Comes With the Territory
Dogs are territorial. This makes them excellent guards and security systems. They will protect your campsite and bark at or chase off trespassers. Cats, on the other hand, while territorial, are easily distracted. One second it’s a bird, then a grasshopper, then a worm and what do you know: it’s nap time. They are not the most reliable guardian as they tend to take time off whenever they desire. Jasmine has my best interest at heart at all times while Yogi, well, not so much.

Danger Danger
You do need to be concerned about wild animals attacking your pets when camping; the only thing worse than seeing your dog take off after a bear is seeing her come back with the bear chasing her. Hopefully, all the noise and activity around camp will keep you safe from any encounters. Unfortunately Yogi doesn’t make much noise and she is always on the prowl. She does know when to run away from anything bigger than her. Jasmine will stand her ground though and that’s why some dogs get into trouble. Like your old friend who always starts a fight, dogs tend to get themselves into predicaments that a cat would wisely run away from.

Seriously Though
There is no way I would ever take a cat on a camping trip; are you crazy? While it is fun to pretend to consider, I’m only doing it so I don’t hurt Yogi’s feelings. Dogs are great camping companions and if you haven’t taken yours out: you really should. Your dog will have the time of his or her life and so will you. Just keep them safe, warm and well fed. Oh yea, and don’t tell the cat about it.

Meet the Author: Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan is a full-time musician along with a humor, travel and outdoor recreation columnist. He's also an avid skier and golfer and has traveled extensively around the U.S, the Caribbean and Europe. His musical career takes him all over the U.S. and his wife drags him everywhere else. His weekly columns “The Life of Ryan” ran in the Transcript and Sentinel newspaper chain for several years and have been featured in the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Mile High Magazine. He is the co-founder, editor and humor columnist for and currently resides in Morrison, Colorado.

To Feed or Not To Feed?
Ear Mites: What Are They, and How Do I Get Rid of Them?