Fleetwood Owners Club
Mid Atlantic Campers
Join Date: Jul 2011
Camping with Duncan
We took advantage of the long Columbus Day weekend to take the RV to a nearby campground. (My father-in-law used to complain that since he retired he didn't get any holidays any more - but I digress) Just a three day weekend with not much to do but build a campfire and watch the playoffs. Terese decided we should try bringing Duncan, our cat, along. He wasn't too excited about the idea, and we had to put him in his carrier to get him in the RV. He wimpered all the way there, which was only 1/2 hour or so. We got set up after dark on Friday night, then Terese thought it would be a good idea to put him on a leash and show him around. He is an indoor/outdoor cat at home. Duncan didn't waste any time in wriggling his way out of the harness and making a beeline for the woods. After some futile attempts to follow him through the brambles, we decided that the best course would be just to wait for him. We had no confidence that he could pick out our RV from among the dozens nearby, and weren't sure that he'd cross dog-inhabited campsites to look for us. So we camped out at a picnic table near the woodline where he disappeared, with a lantern and a bag of kitty treats and waited. Within an hour or so, he appeared at the edge of the woods. We were able to tempt him up onto the table with the treats, and grabbed him. Trying to carry him back to our site, however, we had to pass by some dogs. Well, he wiggled free again, and back into the woods he shot. (Did I mention we hadn't eaten dinner yet?) We camped out for another half hour, and he again reappeared. This time we had brought the carrier, so managed to snatch him up and shove him into it. Whew. Once in the RV, he hid himself way up under the driver's seat or back behind the bed. Several times during the night, he mewed loudly, but didn't climb up on the bed with us like he does at home.
Saturday, Duncan mostly just hid in his hiding spots, and we mostly lounged around. I was looking forward to watching the baseball games. But first, around dusk, we decided to have a campfire. I built the best campfire of my life. Terese decided that the problem with Duncan's harness was that it just wasn't tight enough, so she tightened it up and brought him out to enjoy the roaring fire with us. Duncan wasn't that excited about the fire, or the strange noises, or the strange smells. (The only place he's been besides our neighborhood since he came home from the shelter is to the Vet, where it smells like dog and they give him shots) So he jumped out of Terese's arms and tried to make a run for it. But the harness is tighter now, so he can't get away, right? NO. He managed to get under the RV, and found that by pulling backwards against the leash he could wriggle out of the harness. Right back to the woods. Only this time, he's been cooped up in the RV all day, wise to our tricks, and more than a little peeved at us for bringing him along in the first place. (Cats can carry a grudge) Again, once I got the campfire out, I didn't see much choice but to wait at the picnic table where he disappeared, or to call Rebecca at college and tell her we lost her cat. This time, there were more dog walkers nearby. So we waited and called, and waited. Two and a half hours later, it was getting cold, and late, and we were both ready to give up and try again in the morning I didn't have much hope for the morning after he'd had all night to wander the woods and get farther away. Just as I was about to admit defeat he sauntered out of the woods looking for his treats. This time we had the carrier ready the first time and got him into it and back into the RV. Whew.
He still wasn't too happy Saturday night, but didn't cry as much. By the middle of the day Sunday, he seemed to be getting used to the new surroundings, but still he wasn't happy about not getting let out when he asked. Sunday night, he was on the bed with us, just like at home.
Monday morning, we had another campfire before packing up. Duncan Was Not invited to join us. By that time, he was feeling very comfortable, if a little cramped, in the RV. He didn't even run when his favorite hiding place under the sofa (and in the slideout) started to move under him. And he hid during the drive home, but didn't cry like he did on the trip out. Once home, we opened the door and told him he was home. He very slowly and suspiciously sniffed the air and made his way down the steps. With his feet on our driveway, he acted as if nothing had happened. We may make a camping cat out of him yet!