RV Cats - How To Travel With Cats While Maintaining Your Sanity

by frugalrvers

Living in an rv with cats is possible - but you need to plan ahead for your feline friends. The RV cat has special needs, so be sure to read these tips!

RVing and cats are two words most people never consider putting together. But fortunately our kitties took to the rv lifestyle just fine. Of course, you must cater to their every need and plan accordingly. Basically, you will quickly get over the irrational thought that this is YOUR CAMPER and soon recognize that, no, the cats actually rule...

Of course, cats have various quirks and personalities - but we are here to tell you that there are things you can do to put them at ease. We were also quite surprised by their positive response. We pictured it being like taking them in a car, where they went crazy...but it wasn't like that at all!

An Introduction To RVing With Cats

How Our RV Became A Kitty Camper

The RV cat - where to begin? We certainly didn't intend to travel the country with our kitties, but our quick decision to leap into full time rving left us no other options...they are family, and they were packing their little suitcases and coming with.

Our Cat Spot, On The Captain's Chair

We knew from the start that our finicky felines were going to need a lot of help from us, to make this a smooth transition...not only for them, but for us. Visions of shredded furniture, tripping over the litterbox and their escaping out the front door terrorized us into spending countless hours of problem-solving, before pulling out of the driveway. Of course we also pictured them running immediately under the bed, never to be seen or heard from again.

Well...they adjusted quickly and, as usual, run the household on their terms. No adjustment problems here! In fact, we have an older lab mix, Hannah, and they dictate to her where she can lay...and swat at her when she gets in their personal space (which is the entire length of the motorhome).

Before sharing our tips on what you will need to prepare for with your camping cat, we will say that, with the exception of pet hair, they always make us smile. They seem happier than ever, in this smaller environment...we like to think it is because we are around all the time, too...but we know they will never admit it.

If you'd like to hear rv cat stories, straight from our cat's mouth, you can read them on Spots RV Cat Blog.

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A Photo Of Our Camping Cats

Meet Our Little Lovebirds - Spot and Toto
Spot and Toto On Motorhome Dashboard
Spot and Toto On Motorhome Dashboard

Cheap And Easy RV Living Tips With Your Feline

Let's Start With The Quick And Affordable Hints First

Though we stand by cheap rv living, there were some purchases we had to make, which you will see further down in our article. But first, we will begin with the easy tips, which we've implemented inside of our motorhome.

WHERE TO PUT THE LITTERBOX IN AN RV?

This is always one of the first questions on an rver's mind - and we have it solved! We have owned a travel trailer and motorhome, and it has worked in both campers. We buy two rubber storage bins for pennies at thrift stores, and stack them together. Then we fill it halfway with a large bag of kitty litter. The bins fit perfectly in our shower stall. The cats love the privacy shower curtain. Our bathroom has a vent with a fan, for "odors." You needn't change it often, due to the amount of litter, but when the time comes we simply dump the one out, grab the clean one underneath and fill it, rinse the other bin out, let it dry and stack it under the new litter bin. The only downfall is the weight to pick it up when you shower daily. If you have weight restrictions, you could put just a little litter inside so it is lightweight. Honestly, this works like a charm and the dog can't get into it either!

FUR, FUR, FUR ON BEDS AND FURNITURE...AND SCRATCHING

We are big into custom decorating our rvs with our own style, from ceiling to floor, including painting, flooring and curtains. Often, you can find wonderful, funky fabric at thrift stores, to throw on beds, couches, etc. Just find fabric that pet hair doesn't stick to. We have slate blue and gray in our bedroom, and we stumbled on a metallic gray fabric for $1.00/yard. Sewed it together and it is a beautiful throw over our gray quilt...but hair doesn't stick and it can be shaken off in an instant. So be on the lookout for throws that are easy to shake - washing is tiresome. Also, we ripped out all carpeting and laid different vinyl flooring in each room - plus kept the living room floors "wood" and painted them a deep, chocolate brown with porch paint. Makes cleaning easier...just some area rugs to wash now.

Because we feel certain that declawing cats is inhumane, we have found that just putting loose throws over dinette cushions and chairs keeps scratching at bay, because there is no resistance to hook on to. Also, you might consider Soft Claws nail covers for cats, which you can find HERE.

LEAVE A LITTLE "UNDERNEATH" SPACE

Storage in an rv is tight, but don't take up all potential cat hideaways with your gear, Dedicate under the bed or couch for times they need peace. When the camper starts moving, they look for a place to hide.

GIVE THEM WINDOW SPACE

If our cats could talk, they would say that what they love most about rv life is that rvs are full of windows...everywhere!! Our motorhome has a huge dashboard, and when we are parked we put their cat bed on it...they spend most days sunbathing in the spot you see in our photo. But the top of the couch, counters and so many more sunny spaces are also available to choose from...so give your kitties a few perches, to keep them happy.

SAFETY

Screen doors on rvs can be easily pushed on and opened - be sure to either add a hook inside or block the exit if you have a cat that is an escape artist.

MUST HAVE CAT PRODUCTS

Below you will find a list of cat items you will need while rving, including our favorite...The Perfect Cat Outdoor Enclosure For Our RV Cats. While browsing, keep in mind that COLLAPSIBLE IS KEY!!! You just won't have storage space otherwise. Here are the items we could never live without...an initial expense, but a necessity that has made our lives so much easier. We hope you've found these tips useful - camping with cats can be a very rewarding experience...as long as you keep on catering to their every need! Also consider the affordable, stinky kitty litter waste disposal system, the Litter Locker 2. Dealing with any garbage when rving can be challenging - this stores cat litter, odor free, for weeks.

Updated: on 05/20/2014, frugalrvers
 
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Do You Have Tips On Traveling With Cats?


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frugalrvers on 06/10/2013

Thank you Dustytoes!

Dustytoes on 06/10/2013

I am adding this to my Wizzley "how to" board at Pinterest - I love your kitties!

BrendaReeves on 07/07/2012

I would love to go RVing with my two dogs and two cats. They would love it too. These are some great suggestions. I need a new cat carrier, so I'm going to check out that Sherpa. That's a pretty good price.

frugalrvers on 07/06/2012

I think that is a great idea! For the actual "driving" part, when cats would be most upset, just think about your cat's preferences and what he/she likes. Some cats, during the drive, feel "safer" in a cat crate (less exposed) which you can buffer by putting on the dinette cushion or bed, to soften the bounce. We opened up our big outdoor play yard on our bed initially, which worked well. Some kitties are just fine with the openness and can run free while on the road (or lie under the couch). Even if your cat hates rides in the car, an rv is much different. They can't really "see" that you're moving along, so it shouldn't be as bad as car travel. Good luck!

ChrisHugh on 07/06/2012

This is sort of amazing. I haven't wanted to take a vacation because one cat is prone to sudden illness, but maybe I could take him with us in an RV. I would probably get one of those new GPS locators for pets to put on his collar.

Sam on 01/26/2012

Our cat, Oscar, would love the sunny spot in the windows --- as long as the vehicle doesn't move. He simply doesn't do driving, when we moved from the UK to the Czech Republic we drove and he screamed for 2,5 days nearly non-stop!!! And yes, we had calming pills and all of that from the vet!

frugalrvers on 11/02/2011

Again, Thanks Digby -
Always love your comments!
Definitely have to write more - just completed our 1800 mile trek across the country, so haven't been able to get back to work. Settled in now, so the writing will be back in full swing shortly! Tell your cats we meant no insult :)

Digby_Adams on 11/02/2011

I just read this to my two cats - Busy Body and Chaos - and they nearly had a heart attack. They have a large rambling farmhouse and several acres of land and they want more. There will be no harnesses and cages they hissed. Then they went and hid. I'm sure when they get tired of mice they'll come home again.

Another fascinating look at life on the road. Thank you so much for share.

PS.
I think you need to write more. I love your stuff.

Jimmie on 09/03/2011

Love, love, love this topic. We are cat lovers! When we left China, we had to leave behind Maxie and Oreo. We still miss them terribly. My mom adopted FOUR more cats for us and is keeping them until we get our own home. (The home we are currently in does not allow pets.)
Anyway, I did notice a lot of dogs with RVers when we went to Yellowstone last year. I never thought about taking CATS along. But it makes sense. WINDOWS! :-) So funny.
(Thanks for the affirmations on my grocery buying wizz. I sort of felt that the other commenter didn't quite "get" my meaning. You did. And when money is truly tight, that's an emergency situation that warrants eating the set aside food.)

frugalrvers on 08/31/2011

Thanks to everyone for your replies! Barbarab, it is funny but our cats refuse to travel in a vehicle. At first, when we had a travel trailer, we put them in crates and tried it that way...the continual screeching drove us crazy! Though we were worried, we finally let them travel in the camper and they were just fine...finicky, finicky!




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