Traveling in your RV is somewhat similar to putting wheels beneath your home and exploring different places. The feeling is different when you’re on the road but you feel like you never left home. And one of the benefits of RVing apart from the alluring comfort and convenience it gives travelers is that you can take your pets along with you.
Instead of leaving them in the care of a pet sitter which will cost you money and set you apart from your pet, you can take your pets with you in your RV. So the fact that cats may not like traveling in an RV doesn’t give you the liberty to abandon them with a pet sitter.
You don’t necessarily have to be in one place before you can shower your cat with all your love and attention, you can equally do that on the go too. You just have to own up to your responsibility, exercise some time and patience and with time, you’ll get it right.
Traveling in an RV is a thrilling experience for both you, your family and the pets. However, the first time can be very challenging for both the pet owner and the pet. For other pets, it may not be as challenging, but for cats, it can be very challenging.
But do you know that according to Camping World, there are 10 million RVers and a large chunk of them have pets?
In this article, you’ll find some tips on how to travel successfully with your cat and make the trip an enjoyable one for both of you.
Tips for RVing With Cats
1. Have a driving plan.
It is general knowledge that cats do not fancy car rides or long drives. They may be animals but they also have the sense to know that whenever they go on rides like that, they end up where they don’t like. They end up in places like the vet, the groomers or a kennel. Just like how babies detest going to the barbers, it’s just like that for cats. As a result, they don’t like going on trips that’ll involve them riding in a car or an RV.
Not to worry, there’s a fix for that but remember that it’s going to take them some time to adjust to taking trips in RVs. To have a driving plan here’s what you’ll do;
Practice shorter trips in the beginning. Yes, when you travel with your cat, try a shorter trip first. Then consider covering their kennel with either a towel or a blanket, this will help reduce their anxiety. Make the carrier comfortable for your cat; you could place your cat’s best blanket or bed at the bottom of the carrier, just to make sure it’s comfortable.
Then you position the carrier in the RV somewhere safe and secure. Regardless of all your preparations, your cat may not get comfortable the first time so this is where patience comes in. Give your cat time to get accustomed to your car and the long trips.
If you have a motor-home, then your cat may feel more comfortable riding freely in the cabin. But if you’ve never driven your cat in the motor-home before, then you might want to keep them secured in their kennel first. This will give them the chance to take in their surroundings and see that the cabin is a safe place for them to roam.
Your cat may not feel very comfortable riding in an RV for the first time because obviously, they’re not used to the house moving. Once they’ve had some experience riding in the motor-home for a while, then you can release them in the RV while on your trip. It may still take them some time to get accustomed to the whole development but they’ll feel more comfortable when they can reach their food, water and litter box.
2. Designate a spot for the litter box.
This is a very sensitive topic and also probably one of the reasons people don’t like to travel with their cats in their RVs. The biggest challenge is where to keep the litter box because they’re trying to avoid the mess and odour.
Some people keep it in a cabinet and install a cat door, others place it in outdoor storage and make provisions to access it from inside.
But if you would prefer a location that won’t require you to venture into all these unnecessary new projects, then the shower is a good place.
This way, the litter box is not causing any unnecessary obstruction in the RV or occupying floor space while you’re driving. And before you take a shower, you can easily move the litter box and wash out any extra litter down the drain.
Well, regardless of where you choose to place the litter box, the goal is to ensure that it’s kept clean and prevent the smell from ruining the atmosphere in the RV. You can even scoop the mess into a used shopping bag and store it outside until you can find somewhere to properly dispose of it.
Another tip you might find useful is taking some litter from their litter box at home and putting it in the litter box in the RV. This may sound disgusting but the idea behind it is to make them feel at home. This will go a long way in making them comfortable throughout the ride in the RV.
3. Keep fresh food and water handy.
Cats like to follow a particular pattern and it’s evident in the way they live. They like to have access to food and water especially when they’re not in their comfort zone. So while RVing with your cat, remember to pack a lot of food and water for their feeding.
And endeavor to feed them at the appropriate time that they get fed at home. Always renew their food and refresh their water. Most preferably, serve them the same food they’re already used to at home, to avoid confusion.
4. Make your cat comfortable.
Cats are very fragile creatures, they love to be very comfortable and well rested. That’s why when they’re not resting on their beds, they snuggle into your arms for a cuddle. Do not take that away from them even while you’re RVing with them.
Before you go on your trip, remember to bring along their toys, and favorite beds to make them extra comfortable. It will make them relaxed and take their mind away from the anxiety of traveling.
Also, try placing their beds where they can get a view of everything, preferably near the window. Cats like to observe their surroundings, so putting them near the window is satisfying for them.
5. Give your cat places to hide.
Whenever they find themselves in a new place, they get stressed and overly scared. The first thing they want to do is hide. RVs may look like a home but they are not so they have limited spaces for a cat to hide.
What you can do for your cat is to prepare places where they can hide. You can open cabinets or construct something or somewhere dark where they can go in and hide or rest when they’re stressed. Cats prefer to survey their new territory from a place where they feel safe.
They may also choose their hiding place themselves and they may choose under the bed, table or couch. Do not try to force them out of those places. Your goal is to make them comfortable, right? Then allow them to do whatever makes them comfortable even if it’s hiding under the couch.
In no time, they start to get comfortable with their new environment and may not need to hide anymore. Instead, they just choose different places to relax in the RV, but in the meantime, provide a place for them to hide.
6. Be prepared to leave your cat behind.
It is difficult to take a walk outside with your cat. When you travel with your dog, you can easily take walks. But with a cat, it’s almost impossible. Because of this, most people prefer to leave their cats at home whenever they go for walks. So when you’re leaving your RV, you might not be able to take your cat with you. Most cats are okay with being left behind and it shouldn’t be an issue.
But if you’re leaving your cat behind, you should prepare for it. Ensure you leave enough food and water to last them in your absence. Also, regulate the temperature in the RV so that it doesn’t get uncomfortable for the cat. If you don’t feel comfortable with leaving your cat in the RV, then don’t go on long trips leaving the cat in the RV.
You could also find a means of checking up on your cat at intervals like setting up a camera in your RV.
At the same time, there’s another fix to leaving your cat in your RV if you don’t feel comfortable. You can insert a microchip in your cats so that you can monitor their movement. This way, even if you lose them, you can easily find them through the tracking device.
Or you could attach a locator tile to their collar. The locator tile helps you find your cat when they go astray or miss their way.
Some cat owners also choose to buy a cat enclosure for their cats that they can keep outside the RV. This allows your cat to be outside without taking off.
7. Leash Training Your Cat.
Remember that it’s almost impossible to take your cat out for a walk, but not completely impossible. To do that, you need to leash train your cat. This may take some time to do, but for starters, get a Kitty Holster. Cats are uncomfortable in cat harnesses but with proper training, they can fit into a Kitty Holster.
A couple of months or even weeks before you take your cat RVing, you need to start leash training your cats. The first thing to do is help them get used to the harness. You can do this by placing the Kitty Holster near their bed and letting them check it out.
At first, they may not like the feel of the holster on them, but they will get used to it in time. Have your cat wear the holster for a couple of hours every day until they get so used to it. Then you can attach the leash and take them out for a walk.
But you must bear in mind that your cat will not walk with you voluntarily as you may have to drag it along on the way. This takes time because soon they’ll realize that they won’t get a chance to leave the RV if they don’t have the leash on them. So next time they will cooperate with you when you offer to walk them with a leash on.
8. Have an emergency plan.
Emergencies can happen at any time while you’re traveling. Anything from vehicle engine component issues to your cat getting lost or sick; it’s best to be prepared for all these possibilities.
While traveling, keep your cat’s important information with you. Information about your cat vaccination record will come in handy if ever you have to stop by the vet during your travel. Also, keep an ID card with all necessary information on your cat. This will come in handy if they unexpectedly get lost.
9. Practice/ go slow.
Lastly, consider shorter trips when you’re just starting RVing with your cats. Do not take them on long trips when it’s just their first trip. Shorter trips will reduce their anxiety and make them adjust to RVing with you in no time.
So, take your time to practice RVing with your cats. You can spend some time with your cats in the RV before you go on actual trips. You can also stay overnight in your RV with your cats, and move the RV around a bit so your cat doesn’t get startled when you start going on road trips.