Cat StoriesCats

Kitty: Lost in Bear Country

When we first started camping in our 1972 VW van, we chose to take Kitty Cat with us. We headed to Montana for a cousin’s wedding and decided to visit places throughout the state before the wedding.

Glacier Park, One of our Favorite Places

One of the places we visited was Glacier National Park. We first camped at Lake McDonald campground and toured the west side of the park. Then we traveled to the east side. Our destination was Many Glacier campground.

As we were setting up camp, we left the van door open. Now, we usually had Kitty on a leash by this time, but we got sidetracked with where to put some of our things due to wildlife in the area – mostly bears. I have a healthy fear of bears and was really focusing on safely storing some of our stuff. Kitty had been asleep on the van’s bed when we started so, we completely forgot about her.

Kitty enjoying the fresh air from her window.

At this point in her life, Kitty was used to being an indoor cat. But in her younger days, she was an indoor/outdoor cat who used to explore her neighborhood. I think her younger self came out that day because after we were finished setting up, we looked in the van for her and she was gone!


Here was an old cat who was cross-eyed, by herself, in a forest with dense underbrush. IN BEAR COUNTRY! How were we ever going to find her? Panic set in! We started frantically combing the camp site first looking under every bit of equipment and then the van to see if she was hiding there. She wasn’t there or in any of the underbrush surrounding our site.

I was beside myself. I thought we had lost her forever because I never thought she would venture out of our campsite. Despite my fear of bears I was prepared to stay out in a camp chair over night to be there if she wandered back. But since it was still daylight, we widened the perimeter of our search to include the campsites next to us.

Cats can be so frustrating at times. I swear Kitty must have been watching us search for and call her while she hung out under our neighbor’s travel trailer! Once I saw her, my panic left and relief set in. This was clearly more upsetting to me than it was for her, because she put herself right under their trailer in the middle where I couldn’t reach her. And, she didn’t want to come out! She had tried out her adventure cat attitude, liked it, and wanted nothing to do with the leash she knew we would put on her.

Our Lesson

We learned our lesson that day. Never assume a sleeping cat is truly asleep. From then on we would immediately put Kitty on her leash and let her outside or we would keep the doors closed on the van while she was inside. From that day forward, we never had another problem with her escaping and the rest of our trip was a very enjoyable tour through a very beautiful state.

Please share your cat stories

  • What has your cat done to give you a fright?

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Jeannie / Lead Writer, Tires & Tails

Hi, I'm Jeannie! I'm a full-time RVer with a lifelong need for travel. I used to be an elementary school teacher and had a dog training business in Washington State. I have had numerous pets throughout my life, and love to travel with them. I started my full time RV adventure with one dog and two cats. I currently have a dog who comes with my husband and me on our traveling adventures.

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