Why we travel with a cat!

Well not just a cat of course, Binkie. According to Binkie our lives can be divided into two era’s: BB and WB. Which of course stands for Before Binkie and With Binkie. Our lives BB naturally were sad and meaningless. With Binkie we have known nothing but pure happiness… Ahem, anyway that’s enough input from Binkie for now. Let’s just say we love Binkie a great deal and decided that live without Binkie just isn’t the same.

But when we started dreaming about traveling the world with a camper van for an unlimited amount of time, a cat was not on our list of essential travel items. Although we loved cats and still had a few at the time. We wouldn’t dream about leaving them behind. We’d leave after they’d died of very old age. In 2015 I became a volunteer for the local animal shelter, I became a “kittenfosterparent”, Which meant that we took in orphaned kittens, mother cats with their kittens or pregnant cats. And also the occasional very sick of injured adult cat. Because we both had regular jobs, I usually only took in kittens from the age of 3 weeks and up. By that time they only require a bottle every 4 hours and start eating themselves. In a period of 5 years I fostered around 90 kittens/cats and loved doing so.

In September 2016 the animal ambulance called. They had found 4 kittens in a cornfield, 2 of them were already death due to the low temperatures and the lack of food. The mother cat was nowhere to be found. The 2 remaining kittens where estimated to be around 4 weeks old, so I said I’d take them in. When they arrived, sadly the 3rd kitten had died as well and the fourth kitten was in bad shape.  I quickly saw that the 4th kitten wasn’t 4 but 2 weeks old. Due to its poor condition I decided to at least take him in for the night to give him a fighting chance. I have no training in animal medicine but for some reason I’m naturally good in taking care of really sick cats and getting them well again. I put the tiny kitten of about 200 grams in a warm nest to raise his body temperature. When his temperature was about normal I started feeding him small amounts of special kitten milk every 2 hours. Not really expecting him to make it through the night but doing anything possible. And the next morning he was doing much better. Still in need of a name I decided to call him Binkie. Bink is dutch slang for a good looking bit of a though guy, but though in a good way. By the next morning Binkie had already won me over with an overdose of cuteness.

With a bit of juggling and some help I managed to raise him myself. And when the time came for Binkie to go up for adoption, I was making excuses, that he wasn’t “ready” yet. After some begging with my husband and “proving” that there really was room for one cat and two humans on board of our camper van, my husband was persuaded. Not at least because by then Binkie had turned his loving attention on to my husband as well. Smart cat.

So from an early age Binkie got used to traveling in camper van and calling different places home. He likes driving off-road and prefers to lie on the dashboard then, instead of the soft and more stable bed. When we drive on the highway he mostly sleeps. When we stop for the night, he immediately wants to get out and can hardly wait until we’ve put on his harness and put up a line between the van and a nearby tree. He then starts exploring and catches the occasional mouse. He also goes hiking with us, sometimes he walks 2 or 3 miles himself, sometimes we end up carrying him most of the time in a specialized backpack or on a shoulder. He is after all a cat and not a dog and therefore has staff, not owners. The only thing Binkie doesn’t like is when we encounter strangers. Since we usually choose a remote location to camp, that’s only a problem every now and then. And hey, nobody’s perfect. We don’t force him to do anything but give him time and reward him with his favorite treat. We don’t leave him alone in the van for longer than a short stop at the grocery store and of course only when it’s not sunny and hot. Binkie’s health and happiness is always our main concern.

first time in the van..

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