Updated: Mar 10
Just like how you and I have certain things we need to prepare and get ready when going out on an adventure, so do adventure kitties! Read on for our share of what we pack for our adventures, as well as how we get Tomo adventure-ready!
What’s In Our “Bag”?
Harness: We usually only bring out 1 harness, which is the harness that Tomo will be wearing the whole time. I’ve occasionally brought out a second harness that is more low-profile for shooting photos, but it’s usually too much of a hassle to swap out. I would consider bringing a second harness if your kitty walks better in say, a webbing H-style harness for shorter walks, but would prefer the support and comfort of a harness with a chest panel for longer walks. You can read about our harness/leash/training recommendations here!
Breakaway Collar/ID Tags: This is super important to have when adventuring in case Tomo were to get lost. I would recommend putting ID tags on the cat's collar, and not their harness, as oftentimes when adventure cats are lost, it's because they've slipped their harnesses. I would also suggest having a secondary form of ID, such as a microchip or tattoo.
Tracker: I'll be honest here. This is something I've yet buy but has been on my list to get as an adventuring staple. Having a tracker could be the difference between getting your loved ones safely home or not. I'm looking to buy an Apple AirTag, but there are other trackers that work well out there such as Tile, or other pet-specific trackers. Again, I would attach the tracker to your kitty's collar, and not their harness.
Leashes: I’ll usually bring out 2 leashes if we’re going on an adventure that requires the backpack (anything that isn’t a courtyard walk). That way I have Tomo’s main leash, which is a shorter webbing-style leash, as well as a longer webbing leash, if I want to give her more roaming freedom, such as sometimes at camp.
Backpack: As mentioned above, we bring out Tomo’s backpack for anything that isn’t a short walk within the vicinity of our home. This includes car rides, day trips, and longer adventures. The pockets are also super convenient for storing other adventuring essentials. In case you missed our post on cat backpacks, you can read it here for a more detailed explanation on the importance of backpack training for adventure kitties!
Car Seat: For any trips requiring a car ride, we use a pet booster seat in our car so that Tomo can be safely strapped in, as well as have a nice view as we’re driving (this helps calm her down as well). We use the Kurgo Rover Dog Booster Seat (note that while this product is not crash tested, it is still a safer alternative to letting your pet free-roam in the car).
Clothing: Depending on the season and length of the trip, I might bring as much as a rain jacket, sweater, and scarf for Tomo. I do still need to get her a thicker winter coat, but she’s very particular about wearing clothing and dislikes anything restricting (so we've been mostly staying indoors for the past month or so as it's been snowing and super chilly!).
Accessories: We often take little adventures to shoot some accessories for the stores we model for, so Tomo will be wearing collars, bow ties, or bandanas. This definitely isn’t an adventure necessity, but I find it enjoyable to capture her wearing cute little outfits as we’re out exploring!
Towel/Blanket: In the wintertime, or if we’re doing an overnighter anywhere, I always bring a blanket to bundle up Tomo in. In warmer weather for short trips, Tomo usually just gets a towel to line the bottom of her backpack with.
Poop Bags: A necessity for all pet owners! Remember to scoop the poop and dispose of the bags in the proper bins! (I have always not understood people who scoop the poop, then toss the bags randomly out in nature… like what was the point in picking it up then?? Carelessly throwing the bags makes it even more terrible for the environment!)
Treats: I feel like for cats especially, it’s important to bring out both wet and dry treats. The reason being, most cats don’t drink much water, so if we’re out on a longer adventure, I want to make sure Tomo stays hydrated, and a great way to do this is with wet treats (Churu is also CRACK for cats, generally a super high reward treat!).
I do supplement with dry treats as well, as they are more convenient to handle. Due to Tomo being very non-food driven, and hardly likes to take treats when we’re out and about, I’ve had to experiment with a lot of different treats to see which ones she’s most willing to take. For dry treats, I’ll also usually bring a treat pouch that I can clip to my pants for easy dispensing.
Food: For a day trip or longer, we’ll bring freeze dried raw food for Tomo. We usually feed her FDR at home, rehydrated, but on outings, I’ll usually just feed it to her as a dry kibble for convenience.
Water: Bringing a pet water bottle with a drinking spout, or a small bowl, is necessary for any adventures that will go for more than a few hours! Especially in the summertime, pets can very quickly get dehydrated in the heat and activity. As mentioned prior, if your kitty doesn’t like to drink much water like Tomo, then bring lots of high reward moist treats to help quench their thirst.
Bowls: For day trips, I’ll only bring a small collapsible bowl, although this isn't always necessary as Tomo usually doesn't like to eat meals on-the-go. But if we’re going camping or any overnight trips, I bring a foldable food/water bowl mat that I set up in our tent. I like that this mat folds up quite nicely, and it also helps to catch spilled food/water as Tomo tends to be a messy eater!
Pet Wipes/Small Rag: You never know when your kitty will step in mud, or have an accident in the car (speaking from experience here, haha!), so I bring pet-safe wet wipes to clean things up (alcohol-free, aloe-free wipes are ideal). A small rag also works well too!
First Aid Kit: I already carry a human first aid kit for adventures, so I just added a few things inside for Tomo, such as a syringe, cotton balls, self-adhesive bandages, activated charcoal, Cerenia (motion sickness medication as Tomo gets carsick), and saline spray (as mentioned, these are just additions, my kit already has other essentials including gauze, bandages, tick remover, gloves, antihistamines, etc.). Click here for a pretty good resource on putting together a first aid kit for cats (the only thing on here I wouldn't use for cats is hydrogen peroxide, this can damage the stomach and esophagus).
Disposable Litter Box: We only bring a disposable litter box if it’s an overnight trip, or for long car rides. For day trips, Tomo prefers to use the washroom out in nature.
We’re All Packed, Now What?
If we’re taking a car ride, I’ll administer Tomo’s Cerenia medication 1-2 hours before departure to prevent her from getting motion sickness.
Some other medication considerations I would like to add here for adventure kitties are flea/tick/deworming treatment/repellent, and keeping up to date on vaccinations. I know some pet owners may be hesitant to use medicated flea/tick treatments, but do try your best to find something that works for you and your pet, and seek the advice of your vet as needed. Ticks especially can cause serious diseases to both humans and pets, so prevention is key! I would also suggest to be knowledgable about the tick distribution and surveillance in your adventuring areas beforehand (if you live in the USA, the CDC provides this information).
For us, we use a monthly flea/tick/dewormer combination called Revolution Plus that is prescribed by our vet. I would highly recommend some form of deworming treatment for adventure kitties, or in general for any kitties that are on a raw food diet. Why? Raw prey and food can contain parasites! In particular, if your cat were to inadvertently catch some rodents while you're out adventuring, you would want them to be protected from any potential parasitic diseases!
True adventure fail story—so we never let Tomo catch mice, but one time at camp, she managed to escape from the tent, and was caught red-pawed by our friend with one mouse in her mouth, another in her paw! We were all in a huge panic and didn't catch it on film, so please enjoy this video of Tomo "hunting" indoor mice instead!
In terms of vaccines, I make sure that Tomo is kept up to date with all her vet-recommended vaccines, but specifically for cats who will be going outdoors, the Rabies vaccine is very important to have. As well, because Tomo is semi-regularly exposed to other cats, she also has the FVRCP Vaccine and Feline Leukemia Vaccine. You can read more vaccines recommended for outdoor cats here.
Depending on the time of our departure, I’ll usually make sure that Tomo has a meal before leaving home, and uses the litter box at least within the last hour or so beforehand (giving her a meal usually prompts her to go to the washroom shortly afterwards).
Now that we’re in the home stretch, I’ll put Tomo’s harness and leash on, a layer of clothing if it’s needed for the weather, and put Tomo into her backpack lined with her towel and/or blanket. Off we go and happy adventuring!
DISCLAIMERS: For any and all medical advice provided above, please seek the advice of your vet as these are just my personal recommendations as a cat owner, and not as veterinary expert! Do your own research as well, and find what works best for you, your kitty, and your vet!
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