Meet the king of the tent!
Pets make it better. Don’t let your animals experience FOMO (fear of missing out). The only one missing out will be you! Over the past three months we have been zig-zagging around the country with our cat by our side.
Hey! My name is Mr. Gritty, and I love feeling the wind in my whiskers!
Mr. Gritty is 13 years old, 68 in cat years. More than half of his life he enjoyed an indoor/outdoor lifestyle with his previous owners, slaying woodland critters in his Mount Elmore, Vermont backyard. Then came the Jack Russell Terriers. He did not get along with these strong jawed beasts and spent three years as a basement dweller, hiding from dogs and terrifying toddlers. Mr. Gritty moved in with us two years ago. His demeanor began to present as grateful. He had a whole house to rule and in return he purred loudly on our laps offering us a sense of companionship.
"I was so stoked to see the Delicate Arch" ...said no cat ever...
Of course we were going to bring our cat as we road tripped the USA! Perhaps if this was a shorter trip we would have found a cat sitter; we’re happy it didn’t work out that way. If ancient cats could handle long voyages on Viking ships, with significantly less luxury than we have today, our cat would survive our Subaru Outback!
I love rubbing my face on the great outdoors!
Sometimes I even offer to help make lunch!
So what was our game plan? We started with a kitty shopping spree! We hit the local pet supplies store in Stowe, Vermont, The Dog and Cat. Here we found the following travel gear to get our animal road trip ready:
1. A stylish harness from RC Pets, made for tiny dogs, but did the trick for Mr. Gritty, and had the fashion appeal we were seeking.
2. Turtle Fur sent us off with an awesome mini prototype of the Good Dog Bandana. It worked wonderfully for keeping our cat visible while he camouflaged in the shadows.
3. A nice long retractable leash, allowing Mr. Gritty to safely wander from a tie-out pet stake.
4. Rescue Remedy, a natural calming supplement. This was in case he couldn’t handle the car rides… On the way back from the pet store he lost his lunch in the car… Was this going to be our entire 15,000-mile adventure??
5. We grabbed two Red Dingo snag free cat collars. Sadly, collars can choke. A breakaway collar will keep your kitty’s neck safe!
6. Identity tags. My husband was opposed to this because he insists Mr. Gritty is a member of the family and not to be labeled as a pet, but these are a must for camping!
7. We also found a cleverly designed silicon water bowl, made by Kurgo, that is specially designed to be spill resistant while traveling. It works like magic!
8. A non-slip mat for the car, to keep his amenities in place on some of the country’s bumpiest roads.
9. Two weeks of food to get us started. Mr. Gritty only eats grain free, organic wet cat food, and we were worried this would be hard to find while on the road. For the most part we’ve been able to find comparable products!
10. Definitely do not forget the flea and tick treatment of your choice! We went with Frontline.
Did you hear that??! My human and I are always on high alert for birds of prey.
By some miracle, and a little “training”, Mr. Gritty exceeded our expectations as a travel companion. Cats have a 16-hour memory retention if the activity benefits them. This is 200 times more than a dog, which is only five minutes. The harness was not his favorite at first. Mr. Gritty adapted. He learned that when we put his harness on him in the tent every morning it meant he got to go outside and eat breakfast. After three long drives, he stopped getting car sick. He started calmly sitting right between the two front seats, perched on the center console. He started acting like a true part of the crew. He began tolerating being cradled and coddled. The journey changed him.
I enjoy short walks on the beach at sunset.
I would say his company changed us too. We became even crazier cat people. Further fueled by the comedian Iliza Shlesinger’s standup act on, “Who’s the baby?” Mr. Gritty has received more love and chin scratches on this trip than he could have ever imagined.
Find Mr. Gritty on Instagram @mr_gritty (he’s very with the times for an old cat).
I figure if my humans can model Turtle Fur, I can do it better.
Photo credit: Jason Gerhart @fresh_world_press