Cats & RVs: 9 Tips to Stay Sane

Having your beloved feline on the road with you can lead to some fun and exciting adventures. But your buddy can also drive you bonkers. Here are some tips we discovered when we hit the road with our cat, Monty.

Tips for RVing with a cat:

  1. Do a pre-trip check-up
  2. Make sure kitty has ID
  3. Invest in a Tracker
  4. Stress Outlets are important
  5. Litter and Litter box you can live with
  6. Secure Windows and Doors
  7. Make an Exercise Plan
  8. Prevent Parasites
  9. Make a Hidey-Hole

Applying these tips helped us keep our sanity when Monty was being a brat and let us enjoy our travel with him more. We also discovered ways to help him adjust to his new adventure cat lifestyle.

1) Do a Pre-Trip Check-Up

Before setting out you should get your cat in for a check-up. Make sure all his shots are up to date and that overall he is in good health. This will set your mind at ease that your kitty is in top shape before the adventure begins.

If your cat is on any medication there are several options for getting his meds shipped to you on the road. Chewy, 1880petmeds and even Amazon are just a few of the options out there.

You can get his meds shipped to the RV park you are staying at, just call ahead to let them know. Another option is a shipping drop location like Kinex. With Kinex, businesses allow items to be shipped to them for a small fee and you just pick it up.

Also, make sure you have an emergency plan if an unexpected health issue pops up for your cat.

2) Make Sure Kitty Has ID

You never know when your kitty will decided to take himself on a walk about. Whether his allowed out on his own, escapes his harness or sneaks out this window it’s important to have identification on your cat.

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Your cat should wear a collar with a tag on it that includes your name and phone number. If not already done, get kitty microchipped or tattooed. Make sure you have your information up to date with the chip company too.

If your cat loses his collar then you know that he does still have identification that can be easily checked by a vets office.

I have heard of indoor cats wearing orange collars to show they are an “escaped convict”. I’m not sure how common this knowledge is but whether the collar is orange or not your indoor kit-cat should still wear a collar with id.

3) Invest in a Tracker

If your kitty goes out at all, whether it’s free-range or on a harness, or if she is known to make a break for it out the door then a tracker can be a good investment.

There have been some awesome advances in pet tracker technology and they are continually updating. Some that are available now can be used in multiple countries and use a combination of GPS, cellular, wifi and beacon.

Although, if you are out boondocking they may not work well due to lack of cellular signal. There are some that work without a cell signal but the range is much more limited.

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4) Stress Outlets are Important

Traveling can be very stressful for humans and felines alike. When cats are stressed one way they destress is scratching. You want to provide them with something to scratch other than your furniture.

We used horizontal cardboard scratch pads because they were cheap and easy to move around. Monty liked to use them but not every cat does.

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Other options would include a hanging board off the end of a cabinet or door handle. If your kitty is particularly attached to their scratch post you might have to consider keeping it with you in the RV.

If your cat is still going for the couch, you can invest in some of these sticky strips to put on your furniture. Its basically a big piece of two sided tape that you stick to the spots your cat scratches.

Most cats hate the feeling of stickiness so they don’t scratch those spots. I say most since my cat was an adhesive addict and would sit there and lick the tape but they work amazingly for my mom’s cat.

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Pheromone spray is not something I’ve never personally tried. But many veterinarians recommend it to help reduce or prevent stress in cats. These sprays contain a pheromone that should naturally calm your kitty.

5) Litter and Litter Box You Can Live With

Ahh the litter box, the bain of every cat owners existence. There is a real art to finding a good spot to keep the litter box in an RV. One that is discrete but still accessible to your little tiger.

We kept ours in the shower, but some people enclose the litter box in a cupboard or base of a dinette. Some cats hate enclosed litter boxes and will refuse to use them. The main thing is your cat is comfortable with where the little box has been put.

Steer clear of clumping cat litter, it can go all funky on you if you have any moisture issues in your RV.

Using a wood pellet style litter is a great way to reduce the infamous litter box smell and keep the dust and grit tracking down. The wood pellets break down into sawdust when wet and absorb the ammonia smell that is so particular to cat pee.

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If you have trouble finding the wood pellet litter or are just looking to save a few dollars, your local hardware store may carry it. But it’ll be marketed for wood pellet stoves, it’s the same thing just different packaging.

If you are changing your cat’s litter type you’ll want to do it slowly and ideally before you hit the road. Start by doing 1/4 new litter with 3/4 old, the next full litter change make it half and half then 3/4 new and 1/4 old then all new. It’ll ease the transition for your cat and hopefully prevent any accidents.

6) Secure Windows and Doors

If your cat is anything like our Monty then he’s a master of escaping. We learned early on to cautiously open the door to the RV and keep a hand at cat level.

You’ll also want to make sure all the screens in your RV are well fitted. Go around and test them all. Tap them around the edges to see if any can be easily bounced out of place.

Also, run your fingernails along the edge to see if you can find a spot that would let your furball pull the screen out with a well-placed nail.

The screen door of your rig is another easy exit for kitty. Check that there are no loose corners of the screen and that it latches properly. It always amazing me how creative a cat can be when attempting to escape somewhere.

7) Make an Exercise Plan

Cats like people need exercise. Without it they are sure to drive you bat-sh*t crazy!

If your cat is used to going out then it’s a good idea to harness train your cat. It’s going to take a lot of time and patience to get there but its totally doable. Just be sure to purchase a cat-specific harness so your feline friend is less likely to Houdini out of it.

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Never use a leash on a collar, its very hard on a cats neck and cat collars are made to allow them to escape. Most have elastic or a breakaway clasp that’s designed to let the collar slip over their heads.

For indoor cats, make sure you have some decent play time with your kitty. If you find your cat driving you nuts or attacking your feet all the time, then they probably need some stimulation. A feather on a stick is an all time cat favorite and can be found very cheaply at the dollar store.

8) Prevent Parasites

Using parasite prevention is a no brainer. Many cat owners are already using some sort of flea prevention. If you aren’t then you will want to before you set out. It’s much easier to prevent your cat from picking up fleas then having to fumigate your RV.

One thing to consider though is if your current flea prevention method includes ticks or not. Back home you may not have had to worry about ticks but they can be a concern while on the road.

We opted for a combo tick and flea collar since I didn’t have to keep applying topical drops to Monty’s neck and the collar lasted 6-8 months. The drawback to this though is in order to kill ticks, the tick had to first bite the cat, YUCK.

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9) Make a Hidey-Hole

Cats are notorious for loving a good hiding spot. Create a few places around the RV where they can feel safe and secure or they may just find their own spots.

We would leave Monty’s carrier easily accessible to him so he could curl up inside when he felt like it. He also made a little hiding spot under the couch where he would hide when we left him on his own in the RV.

Just take stock now and then of where kitty’s hiding spots are. You might have to hunt around to find them but once you do you can easily check them when fluffy is nowhere in sight.

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Diane Dee

Diane is a lover of all things travel. She and her young family wanted to explore North America from the comfort of their own home so they bought an RV. After fully rehabbing a 1994 Safari Trek, they set out to explore both Canada and the USA.

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