Boondocking Basics

Learn the core concepts of off-grid camping, boondocking, and overnight parking

Will My Cats Be Safe If We Go Boondocking?

Will My Cats Be Safe If We Go Boondocking?


Many boondockers have cats too. But is boondocking safe for cats?

boondocking safe for cats
A fellow boondocker and his free roaming cat, with our dog

Is Boondocking Safe for Cats?

Most boondockers don’t let their cats wander outside unattended. If they do let their cats out, it’s because they know their cats will return. Several boondockers just leave their cats inside the RV.

Will My Cats Get Attacked?

There’s always a chance, yes. More than likely, if a cat were to get attacked by another animal, it would be from another RVer’s unleashed dog. Your cat’s chances of becoming another animal’s dinner goes up if it leaves on its own. Especially at night, when predators are on the hunt, certainly your cat is at risk.

Most boondockers with free-roaming cats use a daily schedule of letting the cat out. Because of this, they make a habit of supervising it.

If you don’t feel you have the time or patience to supervise your cat, you will have to train it to become an indoor pet exclusively.

Cats Are Not Allowed to Roam Free in RV Parks

Many RVers say they are unwilling to boondock because they fear the safety of their cats. Yet, cats are not allowed to wander unattended in RV parks. Cats are at more risk in RV parks with kids, dogs, and other cats. RVers who abide by the rules of RV parks, and keep them inside or supervised, should have no problem boondocking with their cats.

Cats Are Allowed to be Unleashed on BLM and U.S. Forest Service Lands

Both the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) do not require cats and dogs to be leashed on much of their lands. They only require you to maintain control of them. That is, if you are capable of controlling their behavior and whereabouts without a leash, you are free to do so.

The only places where the BLM and USFS require leashing is on developed campgrounds, visitor centers, and other day-use areas like picnic grounds and boat launches.

Solution for Boondocking Cats

Train your cat to understand sounds. Usually the sound of a cracking bag of treats is enough to get them running back. Maybe it’s the sound of a bell. Either way, when you feed your cat, always start with a special sound so that it remembers to come running to you.

If your cat tends to stay close to the RV, and you can sit outside and keep an eye on it, then by all means let it out.

If your cat tends to roam far from your watch, beyond the distance of hearing it’s recognized dinner call, then don’t let it out.

There are many RV cats that live entirely inside the RV.

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