Doing the Camino de Santiago with your cat
If you live with a cat and have set your eyes on the Camino de Santiago, but you wonder: “Is it possible to do the Camino de Santiago with my cat?”, you have come to the right place. In this article, we want to tell you about all the advantages and disadvantages of pilgrimage to Compostela in the company of your cat.
Finding animals on the Camino de Santiago is common, whether they are dogs or horses. What is not so common is to see pilgrims travelling with their cats.
However, after the success that Osiris has experienced, the first feline to obtain the Compostela, more and more people are wondering if they can do the Camino de Santiago with their cat. If you do not know the story of Marcellus and Osiris we invite you to visit the Instagram profile of this pilgrim cat.
Reasons to go on the Camino de Santiago with your cat
On many occasions animal lovers never think of leaving their pets at home, while they go on a trip. With cats, despite being considered very independent animals, the same thing happens. That is why in this section we want to tell you some of the advantages of taking your cat to the Camino de Santiago.
Before you continue reading, if you want to do the Camino de Santiago from Sarria without worries, leave us more details about your dates and we will arrange everything for you.
You won’t have to leave them with anyone
All those people who have decided to share their life with some animal think about the same dilemma when they want to go on a trip: “What do I do with my pet?”” If you decide to leave your cat at home or in someone’s care, you will have to ask favours from your friends or family and still, your feline friend will miss your company.
Leaving it in a cat hotel or pet centre is also not a very attractive option. These places, in addition to being expensive, involve leaving your kitty in unfamiliar hands.
If you decide to take your cat on the Camino de Santiago you will not have to ask for favours, nor spend a fortune in a pet centre. Your cat can accompany you along the Camino de Santiago, but read the full article before making a decision so you know what you’re up against.
You’ll have more time to do the Camino
Another advantage of doing the Camino de Santiago with your cat is that you won’t have to worry about how long you are away, you can dedicate all your holiday to your pilgrimage, because your pet goes with you. You forget to worry about whether it will be okay or if it’s too much to ask your family or friends to take care of the animal for a fortnight.
You will have a much more original experience
Pets always make you live unexpected situations and force you to deal with situations that you wouldn’t otherwise have to face. If you decide to do the Camino de Santiago with your cat, for sure you will have many more anecdotes to tell and many more original photos, and if you do not believe us, it is because you have not visited Osiris’ Instagram page.
You’ll give your cat an unforgettable experience too
One of the reasons why the Camino de Santiago is so famous is because of the nature that surrounds it. Cats, even if they don’t run like dogs, love it too.
Many people think that felines are happy locked in an apartment, but like every animal, they crave freedom and new stimuli. Taking your cat with you on the Camino de Santiago will be a very stimulating experience for it.
With your cat you’ll make many more friends on the Camino de Santiago
Dogs and cats are like magnets for children and adults. To check this, you only have to see how the images and videos of these animals are so successful on social networks.
The fact that your cat accompanies you will arouse curiosity among the rest of pilgrims and everyone will want to know what your experience is like and interact with the feline. Flirting it’ll also be easier, why not say it.
A cat is a good travel companion
Leaving aside the logistical difficulties of traveling with a cat aside, and which we will talk about in the next sections, a feline is an ideal travel companion. It doesn’t say “but” to the route, or to the dates, or to anything else.
Of course, you have to worry about their well-being and meet their needs, but with that exception, a cat is a fairly independent animal. Besides, he’ll keep you company along the lonely stages.
Disadvantages of taking your cat on the Camino de Santiago
The above is very good, but let’s not forget that it is a cat and not a dog. Doing the Camino de Santiago with a feline involves, to some extent, more difficulties than doing it with a dog. Here are some of them.
It is imperative that your cat is used to wearing a harness
As we said before, there are many people who do not walk with their cats, and dedicate their time to living with them at home. If you want to do the Camino de Santiago with your cat it is essential that it is used to using a harness and a lead.
Cats don’t walk so much
Doing the Camino de Santiago with your cat involves carrying it for much of the tour. As much as your cat is used to wearing a leash, it won’t be able to cope with the average 20 or 25 kilometres on each stage.
That means that for much of the tour you will have to carry an extra weight: your cat. Therefore, we recommend that if you decide to take it with you contract a baggage transfer service between stages, so you won’t have to carry the weight of your backpack.
Less places accept cats
Although on the Camino de Santiago you will find various “pet-friendly” accommodations, most are defined as “dog-friendly” and in these they may not accept cats. Therefore, you will have to take care with accommodation during the tour, if you decide to do it with your cat.
Tips for going on the Camino de Santiago with your cat
If after the advantages and disadvantages that we have told you in the two sections above, in the end you are encouraged to do the Camino de Santiago with your cat, you must plan your trip very well, so that both live the experience comfortably. Here are some tips for this.
Prepare your cat for doing the Camino de Santiago
Taking a cat on the Camino de Santiago who has lived his whole life in captivity in an apartment is not a good idea. As we mentioned earlier the cat must be used to wearing a harness and a lead.
A few months before starting the Camino de Santiago, you must take it for long walks with the harness, so you can gauge its resistance. You should also consult with your vet about what you plan to do to make sure the animal has the necessary physical conditions.
Take advantage of the visit to deworm and chip it, if not already done. Think that if your cat gets scared at some point and you lose it, if it doesn’t have a chip you won’t be able to locate it.
Think carefully about the route that you choose
Choose a route where the logistics of travelling with your cat are not so complicated. In that sense, the Camino Frances is the layout that has the best infrastructure and therefore will be easier to find accommodation.
On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that for much of the tour, you will have to carry the feline, so if you are not in very good physical shape yourself, it will be better to consider slightly shorter stages than usual. To do this, the Camino Frances is also a good option, as it crosses numerous locations that will allow you to easily shorten the number of kilometres on the classic stages.
However, the Camino Frances is not the only suitable route to do the Camino de Santiago with a cat. Considering again that you will have to carry it, the Camino Portugues can also be a good option, since it is a route with very few slopes.
At this point you should know that in Portugal there are two pilgrim paths: The Central and the Coastal. You can find out more about them in our blog post that we dedicate to the Camino Portugues.
On the first stages of the Camino Portugues Central Route, the infrastructure and signage is not very good. Therefore, we recommend that if you choose this tour, that you start from Porto or from Tui.
The other Portuguese route, which runs along the Atlantic coast, is very nice, but it may not be a good option to do with a cat. The proximity to the sea can make the feline uncomfortable.
If you are in very good physical shape, you may want to consider other less popular routes on the Camino de Santiago less popular. Check out the article on our blog that we dedicate to the different pilgrimage sections to study some alternatives.
Reserve your accommodation
Although more and more hostels, hotels and cottages are “pet-friendly”, that is, they allow animals in the establishment, accommodation is the most complicated part of doing the Camino de Santiago with your cat. Therefore, it is important that you make sure where you can sleep, before embarking on the adventure of doing the Camino de Santiago with your feline partner.
Where to sleep with your cat
On the Camino, you’ll find all types of places to stay. In some of the establishments where they allow animals you will be asked to stay in the yard or on a block, as they are prepared for dogs or horses.
Therefore, please inform yourself before booking. Ideally, let the feline sleep with you in the room, so that the animal does not get stressed.
Our recommendation is that you use hostels, hotels or cottages to stay in. So you can enjoy the experience much more without having to worry about where you and your cat will sleep. Sometimes, especially in high season (July and August), it is already quite complicated to find accommodation on the Camino de Santiago if you go alone, so, imagine if you go with your cat.
Use an agency
If you wish, you can contact an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago to take care of your reservations. So you don’t have to spend hours in front of your computer looking for pet-friendly accommodation.
You will also have other types of services that can make the Camino de Santiago much more comfortable, both for you and your cat. In this article we’ll tell you what type of services are offered by agencies that specialize in the Camino de Santiago, such as Santiago Ways.
Specifically, we only offer the service of organizing the Camino de Santiago with animals on the last kilometres of the Camino Frances, from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. Check the description of the stages of this section and if you are encouraged to do so with us, call us to talk about the details.
Don’t overload with food
Don’t bring food for the whole tour. In the different locations that cross the Camino de Santiago, you will find places to buy food for your cat.
What to take for your cat on the Camino de Santiago
In this blog post, we explain what things you will need on the Camino de Santiago. But if you’re going to do the tour with your cat, you’ll need to include a few other things to make you both comfortable.
A tray on which the cat can rest
As we have repeated several times, the cat will not walk the whole stage. Therefore, you must provide a tray that you can tie to your back or backpack, in which the cat can travel comfortably, when he does not want to walk.
Harness and lead
Even if your cat is very well trained you will have a harness and lead to hold it from the tray or to walk it. Think that in stretches where there is traffic or cliffs, tying the animal is more than advisable to avoid any accidents.
Food and water bowls
Include in your backpack a food and water bowl for your cat. There are some folding ones that are very light and do not take up any space. Keep in mind that you’ll need to give it some extra food and keep hydrate it often.
- A carry bag
- Take your cat’s paperwork with you, especially, if you come from outside the country.
- A ball or toy.
- If your cat is on any type of medication, bring it from home, if it is very specific.
We hope you found this article about doing the Camino de Santiago with your cat helpful. If so, don’t hesitate to share it with your Facebook friends, many may be asking the same things.
We would also appreciate it if you have travelled with your cat before and think that we have forgotten any important recommendation, please leave us a comment. Then, our readers can take it into consideration.
Finally, just remind you that if you want us to help you organize the trip, you can call us, write to us on our Facebook or leave us a comment. Our team will be happy to resolve all your doubts.