My sister in law just bought a recreational vehicle and it got us thinking about RVing with cats. I’ve done the research to help you understand what it takes and how to get started.
RVing With Cats
It’s going to take some time to get your cat used to RV travel. Before loading up the motorhome for a long trip, make sure that you load your cat in the pet carrier and take a few short trips with your cat. Your cat will likely cry due to the unstable environment, but after a few short trips, they’ll be ready for their first real camping trip.
Can Cats Travel In An RV?
Absolutely, as long as you’re willing to give Fluffy time to get acclimated to traveling in an RV.
Cats are creatures of habit and routine. When you remove them from their familiar surroundings, they tend to get scared and anxious.
If you really want to travel with your cat in an RV, it will take some time, however, there’s no reason why you can’t train them to enjoy.
Of course, it’s important to note that NOT all cats can be trained to love traveling.
But if your cat is leash trained and enjoys traveling in cars, they are a good candidate for living on the road.
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Introducing Your Cat to RV Travel
These tips will help ensure that you make the introduction as smoothly as possible.
Place Kitties Items In The RV
Move some of their favorite toys, blankets, and other items into the RV before bringing in your cat. This will help your four-legged friend feel more comfortable.
You can’t expect to just put your kitty in the back and hit the road. That will stress them out and may even make them sick.
Put Your Cat In The Carrier or Leash
Your cat will most likely be anxious because of the unfamiliar surroundings. Place them in their favorite cat carrier and take it out to the RV.
Close all the doors and windows so your cat can’t escape and open up the carrier door. Let them roam around freely so they can start getting used to everything inside.
They’ll most likely roam around the whole RV climbing on all the furniture. That’s okay, just let them roam around freely.
Spend Time In The RV
You’ll want to spend time with your cat inside the RV while it is parked in your driveway. Avoid turning on the ignition, until you give them time to acclimate to the new environment.
It can take several days or weeks for a cat to start feeling comfortable. Every feline is different and some can take longer than that to feel comfortable.
Here’s a video of Harry a 14-year-old Balinese that is just being introduced to an RV by their owner.
Tips for Traveling with A Cat In A Motorhome
Secure Your Cat
Whether you’re RVing full-time, part-time, or just going on a road trip, your RV is your home. It’s natural to want to let your cat roam around freely while the RV is in motion.
However, this is the most dangerous things you can do. If you get in an accident or make a sudden traffic move, your cat can go flying and can be seriously injured.
Not to mention, your wandering cat can jump in your lap or dashboard and become a distraction while driving.
At the end of this article, I’ll provide some essential RV accessories that will help you keep both you and your pet safe. You’ll find some great items that will come in hand during your pet-friendly road trip.
Remember the Essentials
Whether you’re traveling by car, plane or RVing, your cat is going to require specific items. Whenever I go on a trip, I’ve always found it easiest to make a checklist of the items.
Using a checklist will ensure that you don’t forget anything that your cat may need. It can also save you money from having to purchase that item while you’re on the road.
It’s easy to remember things like their food and water. But what about..
- Their leash and harness?
- The litter?
- Their favorite toys?
- Their crate and carrier?
- Their cat backpack? ( a must if you plan on doing any activities)
- Their cat bed?
You know Fluffy better than anyone, what will they need while you’re enjoying the life on the road?
Proper ID or Microchip for Your Cat
Anytime you travel it’s important to ensure that your has an updated ID tag or a microchip.
No one expects for their cat to get lost, but accidents happen and cats are notorious for escaping through small holes and crevices.
If you’re going in and out of the RV, it’s easy for your cat to make a dash through the open door. Next thing you know, your vacation is ruined because you’ll need to spend time trying to find your cat.
Yes, there’s a good chance that they’ll come back on their own. But you’ll feel a lot better if they have ID tags or a microchip.
What to Put on An ID Tag?
- Cat owner’s name
- Your address
- Your cell number
- Pet’s name
You can get your pet ID from your local WalMart, PetsMart, PetCo, or even Amazon. Stick the ID on their collar and voila, your cat has his/her own personal ID.
Keep Your Pet’s Information With You
It’s important to make sure you have specific documentation when traveling with Fluffy and this includes:
Most campgrounds will require your cat to have updated vaccination records. They only allow pets that do not have any contagious ailments that can be passed on to other animals or humans. Make sure your cat has their rabies shots.
Proof of Ownership
If your cat escapes and someone finds and falls in love with your feline. Can you prove that you own the cat if they say it’s their cat?
Having documentation of ownership can save you from the hassle of losing your kitty to someone who just happened to find your cat wandering around by themselves.
Before going on a trip, take some recent photos of your cat. Make sure you take pictures of any unusual markings that can help identify them if they get lost.
Print some good quality pictures of your pet in case they run away. It’s okay to have them on your phone, but it’ll be much easier to see them in print.
If your cat has allergies, or diabetes or anything else, that requires medical attention, make sure you bring that documentation.
Hopefully, you won’t need to pull out any of these documents while on your road trip. However, these are things that you should never leave home without. Oh, and don’t forget to pack the feline first aid kit!
The American Veteran Veterinary Medical Associate provides advice and a checklist of what to pack for your pet’s first aid kit.
RV Modifications for Cats
Before loading up the recreational vehicle with your cat and going for a trip, it’s important to study your RV and think about where your cat’s items will go.
Where will you put the litter box, crates, scratch post and more?
Some RVer’s will put the litter box in the shower. Others will designate a cabinet for the box and make some mods by cutting a hole in the door.
DIY RV Modifications for Cats
The type of modifications you make will depend on how much room you have in the living space. The great news is that you can still enjoy traveling if your recreational vehicle has small living space.
Cat Cave: Cats love hidden spaces and you can create a resting place for your cat. Take a look around your RV, is there any place that you can create a nesting space?
Consider creating one in the bedroom. The most important thing to remember is to create one in an area that is cooler than the rest of the RV.
Cat Window: cats love laying in warm sunny areas and being able to see their surroundings. You create your own mod of a cat window or you can get one like this one that is easy to mount to any glass window or door.
Your cat doesn’t want to be cooped in inside the RV the entire time. If they are not leashed trained then consider setting up a perch on the window so they can look outside without worrying about them.
A Pet Net for Moving Safely: If your cat hates being inside of a carrier or crate while traveling, you can consider setting up a pet net barrier. You can install a pet net that can be used in passenger vehicles, like the Zone Tech Pet Car Net Barrier. You’ll want to create a barrier in a place that your cat is comfortable.
If you’re traveling with multiple cats, make sure that there is enough room in the barrier for both of them to move around freely.
The Hidden Litter Box: One of the most popular mods for RV cat travel is to hide the litter box in a closet, under a dinette booth, under the sink, under the bed or inside or a storage trunk.
The most important thing is to get it out of the way so you’re not bumping into it and it doesn’t smell up your motorhome. I’d also recommend using a cat litter that is easy to scoop and helps keep the box clean and fresh.
Scratch Free Zone: I’d recommend investing in a scratch repellent so your cat doesn’t claw up your RV furniture. It is completely safe for Fluffy and your furniture.
I’d also recommend taking along some of their favorite toys and maybe even a scratch post they can use to sharpen their claws.
Keeping Cats Safe
While we can’t prevent accidents, flat tires or other vehicle problems. There are some things that you can do to ensure that your feline friend is safe when traveling with you in a mobile home on wheels.
How to Keep Cats In An RV
Some cats can escape at the blink of an eye. It’s important to make sure that Fluffy doesn’t escape when you’re opening and closing the door.
Especially, if you know that your cat is anxious and will try to run away. If you’re going to be going in and out because you’re setting the table for lunch and need to grab plates, condiments, and other stuff.
Put your cat inside of an enclosure. Once you’re done going in and out, you can let your cat roam around freely again.
Eventually, as you take more road trips or become a full-time RVer, your cat will become less anxious and you won’t have to worry about them trying to bolt.
Keep It Cool
A parked RV can get hot, so it’s important to make sure that pets stay cool. If your air conditioner stops working, it can be deadly for your cat.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t spend time outdoors, you just need to ensure that you’re close enough to turn on the generator and turn on the AC if it gets too hot.
Monitoring the Temperature
One of the best ways to monitor the temperature inside the RV is to use a cellphone-based temperature monitor. A Temp Stick Wireless Remote Temperature & Humidity Sensor, can help ensure that it doesn’t get too hot.
It allows you to check in remotely from anywhere you are. This means that you can enjoy fishing nearby your RV without worrying about how your cat is doing.
Can You Leave Pets In An RV?
It’s easier to regulate the temperature inside of an RV, but it can still become uncomfortably dangerous to leave your cat alone inside the motorhome.
If it becomes too hot outside, you’ll need to run the air conditioner to keep it cool inside. If you’re planning on leaving, I’d recommend investing in a cat backpack and taking Fluffy along with you.
It’s also important to note that many RV parks and resorts have rules against leaving your pets alone in your RV.
You definitely want to follow the rules of the park, otherwise, you can be asked to leave.
Keep Them Happy
A bored cat is one that will continually try to escape. They’ll want to go outside because there is nothing to do inside. If you love RVing, there’s a good probability that you enjoy fishing, hiking or just exploring the great outdoors.
You don’t want to sit cooped up inside the RV with nothing to do. Well, neither does your cat.
These tips will ensure that you do everything you can to ensure your furry child doesn’t get bored and stays comfortable.
Provide Multiple Hiding Places
Cat owners understand that felines love hiding for several reasons, and it’s not always about fear. Providing multiple hiding places can help them stay comfortable and even gives them options of where they want to lay down or play.
Whether you’re going for a long journey or just a weekend getaway, make sure that your rig has a few places where Fluffy can find sanctuary.
Make Toys Available At All Times
No matter how long your RV trip is, your cats need to exercise on a daily basis. At home, they probably run around the house like crazy or play constantly with their favorite toys.
Cats enjoy playing and being active. Make sure that you give them plenty of options to prevent them from being bored.
Listen to Them
Hopefully, you understand your cat’s tail movements. If your cat is meowing or just constantly trying to get your attention.
There’s a good chance that they are trying to tell you that they need something. Don’t get too caught up in your day to day adventures and make sure that your listening to your feline friend.
Taking Cats Outdoors
When most people think about taking a cat outdoors on a harness, they think about a dog. But most cats can be leash trained. If you’re planning on living on the road with your cat, then you should consider training your cat.
Here are some tips if you’re planning on taking your cat on adventures outside of the RV.
Buy A Cat Specific Harness
Avoid using a harness for a dog. You need a cat-specific harness that is designed for felines. Most cat harnesses will wrap completely around your feline’s stomach and neck.
This will ensure that Houdini can’t escape. I’ve put together a list of some of the best cat harnesses that you’ll want to check out.
Take The Time to Train Kitty
It takes time and patience to walk a cat on a leash. Start training them well in advance before you hit the road in your recreational vehicle.
As soon as you know that you’re planning on taking adventurous trips to start training your cat. The first time you put the leash on your cat, they are going to resist and fight it.
Some will even flop down like they are dying and refuse to walk. The key is to start using positive reinforcement training to help them become comfortable with the leash.
Treats tend to work really well, especially, if your cat enjoys eating. It can take several weeks or even a few months before your cat is comfortable enough on the leash.
Whatever you do, don’t quit the training. Even if you don’t think your feline can be trained, the truth is that most cats are trainable.
If for some reason that your cat NEVER gets used to the leash, you may want to consider carrying them inside a cat backpack.
Never leave your cat unattended on the leash outdoors. Most indoor cats do not do well when left alone outside.
Plus, there are usually other animals in the campgrounds and you need to keep your furbaby safe.
Buying Food & Litter
Depending on how long you’ll be on the road, there’s a good chance that you’ll be packing some from the house. However, if your cat runs out while you’re traveling, you’ll need to know how to acquire it.
I recommend using a generic brand that you can pick up anywhere like (Walmart or Target). Most cities have some type of pet store like Petco or PetSmart, which means that you can pick up some of their favorite cat food.
If you’re towing a vehicle behind your RV, you can drive to the nearest store and pick up the cat supplies. If not, then check with the campground and see if they allow mail/package deliveries.
Of course, if you’re out in the boonies, then you’ll have to load up the cat and the RV and drive to the nearest store.
No one expects their cat to get hurt or sick while out on the road. However, at some point, your kitty may need some type of emergency care.
If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing you need to do is access your cellphone Internet and locate the nearest and best-rated vet office or animal hospital.
Don’t forget to take along your cat’s records and hopefully, you have some type of pet insurance that covers those unexpected emergencies.
RVing can be exciting with a cat. As long as you’re well prepared and understand that unexpected things can happen, you should be fine.
I’ve done my best to provide you with everything that you need to know about how to RV with a cat. This guide works whether your considering RV living with cats, or just going on a weekend camping trip.
If you can think of anything that I’ve left out or if you have any other questions about traveling in an RV with a cat, don’t hesitate to ask below.
References and Further Reading
Kim Campbell Thorton – Tips for Safe RV Travel With Dogs and Cats