Meet Howard (a.k.a. Howie), our furry, black-and-white overlord. Yes, he is a cat. But he thinks he’s a dog. He’s also super needy for any human affection. Let me tell you the story of our first camping trip with Howie.
It was our first year with an actual camper trailer. It was amazing having a comfy bed, hot water and a flushing toilet (it was luxurious not needing to go outside in the middle of the night!).
We had completed some small weekend trips together with our two dogs, Phil and Charlie. It was great. The dogs had a bunk bed, we had our bed and we had a kitchen and toilet to take adventuring around the Yukon. My husband, Ryan, wasn’t so keen on the cat attending any adventures. When we first got Howie, I wanted to take him on walks, or to Winterlong, or just with us. It was usually met with, “No, he’s a cat.”
Meanwhile, everytime we left the house, Howie would leap up onto the windowsill and stare out the window sadly and mouth “Meow” as though asking why we wouldn’t take him with us.
My husband eventually caved to my cat demands! We were bringing the cat camping! I mean, it’s basically like being in our house, but in a different location. So off we went to Conrad Campground for the weekend. The cat was a little overwhelmed by the truck ride. He meowed and annoyed the dogs. He demanded cuddles and followed up by immediately annoying the dogs again. But mostly, he enjoyed staring out the truck window. We made it to the campground in one piece!
Once the camper was set up, Howie enjoyed his discovery inside. He had to smell and touch every single thing in the camper. We put his litter box inside the shower. He loved it. He would stare at the dogs tethered outside. He loved the bugs that made it inside the camper whenever the door was open. Seriously, mosquitoes were no match for him! Eventually, though, it was time for bed. Ryan had to go back to Whitehorse and work in the morning, so I was left with my three boys and a bottle of wine—the perfect Friday night! As it was nearing bedtime, the animals were sent to their sleeping spots. The dogs were babygated on the bottom bunk bed, and I put Howie in the bathroom and closed the door.
I woke up to the cat licking my face … What the! I was half-asleep, terrified because I had a momentary thought that I was outside and this was some creature eating my face. I’m not sure if this was a “regular” person’s first-thought response, but it certainly was if you were raised in Australia.
I got up and looked at the bathroom door. It was still closed. I was perplexed. He must have shimmied under the one-and-a-half-inch gap! I threw him back into the bathroom and used bath towels to fill the gap … Ha ha, I have outwitted you, cat! I said to myself, still half-asleep.
I woke up to the cat pounding and scratching on the door, meowing at the top of his lungs … Ugh. I got up and let him out, as I wasn’t going to win that round. Then I went back to sleep and prayed that the little evil overlord would leave me alone so I could get some sleep.
I woke up again to find Howie in “beast mode.” He’d found the tiniest stick and was pawing it across the floor with what sounded like brute force. I’m not sure how this 15-pound fluff ball could make so much noise! I looked at my watch and it was 5 a.m. (I guessed I was up now). I had no idea when Ryan was supposed to come back to the campground. I felt like I hadn’t slept in a million years and I was looking at Howie, who was soundly asleep with Charlie by the window … Why did I bring the cat!