With the smoke and the fire and the stars at night

Up again in the morning bright

With nothing but road and sky in sight

And nothing to do but go...

—old hobo poem

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Camping with Cats

Callie lounges around in her own private cabana. The problem is in getting her to see it that way and quit trying to break out of what she thinks is prison. If she ever got out, all I'd have to do to catch her is make the sound of a can of cat food being opened.
 Camping with cats (which I must admit I've done under some pretty crazy conditions) is maybe not the easiest way to live, but it does solve a lot of problems—primarily, what to do with them when you go camping. OK, that may seem a little circular, but it is true.

Feeding the jays solves two problems—helping the birds stave off starvation (so the jays claim) and what to do for cat entertainment.

But when you live fulltime on the road, the camping part turns into a multifacted challenge—how to keep your little buddies from running wild (and probably thereby getting eaten by coyotes or owls, which are the domestic cat's main predators), how to keep them from getting bored, and how to help them stay in shape (though they seem to have that last part down pretty good by running around in the trailer in the wee hours of the night, bouncing off the walls).

Rowdy pleadingly tries his best to look cute so I'll let him free to chase the jays.

I try to get them out a bunch during the day by putting them in their Abo cat tent, which is just a screen room for cats that has a floor. 

The big guns come in for a snack. Cats? Pffft. No problem.

The entertainment part is covered by feeding birds, especially bluejays, who are pretty bold and will come right up to the cat tent if I put nuts there. (This has the side benefit of driving the cats nuts, which is my revenge for them running around all night bouncing off the walls.)

Spice likes this little wicker seat I got for five dollars in a thrift shop.

And the exercise part I have down by taking them for walks on leashes (at least when I'm not too sleep-deprived). Spice (the wicker-seat couch potato) refuses to go at all, and Callie goes reluctantly, but Rowdy loves it. It's fun watching him climb little cliffs and rocks. I imagine he's pretending he's a big guy out in the jungle or something. (The truth is, he's probably thinking he's in training for his great escape.)

Hanging around the house. The screen cloth across the back allows me to open the back doors for fresh air and so the cats can sit and look out. Rowdy's taking a bath, Callie's looking to see if I forgot and left the door open, and Spice is couch-potatoing it in the basket.

All in all, I think they're pretty much happy campers, though the dogs would prefer that I'd get them a new home or something. But everyone gets along, and it's kind of nice seeing dogs and cats living in harmony together, though maybe reluctantly—except for Rowdy, who thinks he's a dog.

Spanky looks kind of pained at his lot in life as a cat pillow.

Weezee on the lookout for cats to chase.


  1. Happy campers indeed!!... I do hate it when they want to romp and rush the door for a prison break....I always threaten to send them to their room in the truck if they keep me awake at night!! So instead they jockey for the primo spot and gets to sleep on the bed. Keeps life interesting for sure!!

  2. LOL - Bad little kitties, bad bad, especially Dammit Emmit.

    Callie sometimes sleeps on TOP of Cassie, who always crawls down in my sleeping bag. Of course, Cassie can't do anything about it but squirm around a bit because if she gets out, another dog will take her place.

  3. You have my admiration for being able to travel with so many fur-pals!!! When Chuck and I first started, we were in a Casita with 3 dogs and a cat... giving us the name for our blog url as the phunnyfarm! Now we are in a 31' 5th wheel and down to 2 smallish dogs who happen to be kind enough to share their bed with us! Sheeeeeeesh! LOL!

    1. Well, I've thought of starting a little side business of socializing people's antisocial cats and dogs - I could just take them all camping for a couple of weeks and presto! Instant buddies. Sort of, anyway. But I don't think I could charge enough to make it worth the pain. :)

  4. Before we had dogs we had cats. Then for awhile it was one dog & 3 house cats plus a million barn cats. Then it was just 3 dogs & we were on the road traveling for the winter months. When we used to Ranch sit near McNeal Arizona we would have 5 dogs inside on cold nights. I loved that. You do so well with all your Critters. We seem to be content now with just one dog, no cats, no birds, not Guinea Pigs, & no Hamsters............

    1. Thanks, Al. I read about a woman who fulltimed in a horse trailer w/ living quarters and had two horses, a goat, dogs, cats...I forget what all.

      I love critters, but personally draw the line at pet turantulas.

  5. Fun! I'm not ready for multi-special cohabitation in Spud, but one day ...


Sorry, comments have been disabled because of spammers gone wild.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.