“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don’t know.’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.” – Lewis Carroll
A year and a half ago we hit the road for full time RV living. The decision to bring our cat, Dean was an easy one. He is a very short very furry part of the family that we cannot live without. Before take off we hoped he would adjust to living in a moving vehicle easily. We weren’t sure what his process would be or if it was a terrible mistake to put him through it. I am happy to say that after a short adjustment period he seems comfortable with the travel and with calling the RV home. Here’s a few tips and thoughts for those considering bringing their feline friend on their RV adventure:
Before hitting the road we made sure Dean was updated with all of his shots and we got him microchipped. The chances of losing him were greater on the road then in our apartment and we planned on taking him outside so that was a necessary step. We also got him a collar and a tag with his name and our phone number.
Let your kitty ride where he/she is comfortable
When we first got the RV we worried about Dean getting under the pedals or on the dash and being dangerously distracting while we were driving. We thought keeping him in a cat bag while we were moving would keep him stable, comfortable, and far from the pedals. Flash forward to our first drive, I placed Dean on the floor behind me inside the bag. Seconds later I turned around to see him outside of the bag, happily lying on his back and rolling around. He had broken out of the cat bag and in doing so completely destroyed the zipper. After that we decided to just let him decide where he is most comfortable existing while we are moving. The result was Kameron driving 1000’s of miles with a cat on his lap. That seems to be where Dean feels safest. Allowing him to be free around the rig allows him to use his litter box when he needs it, get water, stretch his legs, have a bite to eat, and whatever else he feels like doing.
Top entry litter box and a no spill water bowl
Some saving graces for us have been our top entry litter box and our no spill water bowl. A year and a half on the road and our water bowl has never spilled. The top entry box prevents what I would otherwise imagine to be a big mess and as a plus it’s hilarious to watch him use it. He’ll often put his bottom half in the box and hold himself halfway out of the box while doing his business. He adjusted to the top entry box immediately.
If you want to enhance both yours and your kitty’s adventure life together you may want to consider leash training. We take Dean out all the time. He can hang out by the campfire or wander around places like White Sands, or as he likes to call it, The Giant Litter Box . Dean manages to get out of a harness so we often clip his leash to his collar but are looking into more secure harnesses as we would prefer to use one of those. Leash training is a process but we’ve come a long way. At first, as soon as we put the leash on him he would lie flat and not move. Now if I pick up the leash he knows what’s happening and offers his neck to me to clip it on. Dean went from being terrified of the outside world to begging constantly to be outside. He loved living in Yellowstone National Park and walking around the campground with us, chasing after squirrels and birds. He seems to listen best when the RV isn’t in view or nearby. Maybe because he feels more cautious so he tends to heel at our feet and walk along with us instead of trying to lead the way. As a tip we always have cat treats on us in case he decides to hide under the RV or he refuses to come back inside. Our kitty cannot resist Greenies so they have been an essential tool in our leash training.
Some other things you may want to consider when RV’ing with a kitty is whether or not to trim their nails. We didn’t trim Dean’s nails in Yellowstone because if he did get out, we wanted him to be able to defend himself against anything he might encounter. Now that we are in Tucson we are trimming them again.
He seems to get pent up now and then in the rig so having some toys for him to play with is a must. His .99cent mice and his ‘ball in the track’ toy are things he can’t live without. Additionally he has a tunnel and a feather stick. Gives him some exercise in a somewhat confined space.
To us Dean is like our son. He’s our crazy little friend. He’s our entertainment. He’s our company on lonely days. He’s a little monster but we love him. I am so happy he is part of our adventure. Next step is to plan a hike and take him camping! Stay tuned!