Is It Better To Have an Indoor or Outdoor Camping Kitty?
The biggest determining factor will be whether kitty was already outdoors at home.
The indoor vs. outdoor cat debate has endured for decades. Some people prefer to let their cats explore without restrictions and accept that, one day, they might not come home. Others prefer to keep kitty indoors to ensure an exponentially longer and healthier life. But, exactly which one is the better option for traveling?
The Pros of Indoor Travel Cats
I am an indoorsy adventure cat; the missus supervises all my outdoor time. In all honesty, I have no genuine desire to be outdoors. I might occasionally hop out of the trailer behind the missus to stand beside her while she watches the stars. That's as far as I go.
These are the pros:
- She never needs to wonder where I am, what I'm up to, or whether I'm okay.
- I have lower vet bills and fewer medication requirements from being indoors.
- The risk of me ever suffering any serious injuries is extremely low.
- Most Airbnbs and some campgrounds require cats and other pets to remain indoors, so she never needs to worry about me complying.
- I'm on a leash when I'm outside, so there's a very low risk of me getting lost; if spooked, my instinct is usually to run back inside the trailer.
- I don't bring home half-dead or half-eaten presents but will kill any critter that makes it into the RV.
The Cons of Indoor Travel Cats
Without a doubt, my missus does wish she could coax me into doing more outdoor adventures with her. Maybe, the day might come when I agree. Until then, here are the cons:
- Missus must enjoy her explorations alone, but your indoor kitty might like leashed adventures.
- The litter box is my sole "dumping ground."
- Indoor cats can become a handful in small spaces if we have too much pent-up energy.
The Pros of Outdoor Travel Cats
Outdoor adventure kitties will roam the campground and live a life of fun. Leashed outdoor cats occupy a grey line between indoor and outdoor. So, to specify, when I say outdoor cats, I mean cats that have free rein to roam wherever they please at camp.
Here are the pros:
- Mister Whiskers lives a life of freedom and exploration, just as you wanted to when you started traveling.
- You likely have fewer litter box cleaning needs because kitty will probably do his business outside.
- If you have a smaller travel setup, this is the perfect opportunity for energetic cats to get exercise and burn through pent-up energy.
The Cons of Outdoor Travel Cats
For the most part, the cons of having outdoor adventure cats are the opposites of all the pros of having an indoor-only travel cat. So, I'll try not to repeat myself:
- Outdoor cats live an average of only 2 to 5 years; compare this to 10 to 15 years for indoor cats. Deaths by car accidents or predation from other animals are common.
- Like it or not, we're serial killers, and we're proud of it. When you let us roam free at campgrounds, we are agents of bio pollution and will wreak havoc on the natural ecosystem.
- There is a very real possibility that you'll need to leave camp and realize you have no idea where Mister Whiskers is.
- If you need to keep your cat indoors as per campground or Airbnb rules, Mister Whiskers is going to drive you nuts and will likely bolt outside at the first opportunity.
- All the risks above tend to lead to higher vet bills and more medication and vaccination requirements to keep us safe.
So, is it better to have an indoor-only or outdoor kitty? Neither. It is best to have an indoor cat with leashed or supervised outdoor time.
If you already have an outdoor cat, you might have a hard time changing that. In that case, try to find a suitable collar and tracker and keep your kitty inside the night before you need to leave camp.
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About the author
I adventure full-time with my missus in her FJ Cruiser. Airbnbs, tents, RV living—we do it all. Come find out how to adventure with your kitty, or just see what I've been up to on the road. Meow!
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