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Introducing Your Cat to RV Travel


Perhaps you’ve had a cat for years and now you’re planning to rent or purchase an RV. Or maybe you’re a long-time RVer and you’ve decided to adopt your first feline. Either way – congratulations! These tips on introducing your cat to RV travel will help you through the next steps.

Cat with a collar and leash sitting in a carrier with man crouching behind introducing the cat to RV travel


When we retired, we knew we wanted to travel. But we kept hitting a road block – what about our sweet cat Rosie? We didn’t want to leave her behind while we jetted off to exotic destinations! So we decided on an RV lifestyle. Fortunately, introducing our cat to RV travel was easier than we imagined!

The Advantages Of RV Travel

We spent a couple of years researching and planning how we wanted to live after retirement. Travel was always part of the plan. But we couldn’t imagine leaving our sweet Rosie kitty behind. RVing was the perfect solution for us all!

We could travel the continent in the comfort of our own home. We’d have the freedom to change our location whenever the urge took us. Preparing healthy home-cooked meals would be a cinch. And, best of all, Rosie could go with us.

Of course, there are many different types of RV’s to consider. And reducing all of your belongings down to fit in an RV isn’t an easy thing to do. But it was the path to adventure that seemed to fit us best! And so we set about introducing our cat to RV travel.

Rosie the cat outdoors on a leash as she acclimates to RV travel


Cats Enjoy The Outdoors, Too!

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Our Rosie has always been adventurous. When we lived in a house, she enjoyed exploring outside when we could watch her. But encouraging that type of behavior for when we started traveling, had to be balanced with keeping her safe. I imagined too many scenarios where she could get lost or meet critters that could hurt her, like rattlesnakes.

We tried several harnesses but they had thin straps and she squirmed out. Then we discovered a Cat Walking Jacket. It is substantial enough that she has a very hard time wiggling out of it once it is snugly fitted to her body.

READ MORE ⇒   Choosing the Best Cat Harness

Rosie the cat outdoors on a leash as she acclimates to RV travel


We also wanted a leash with some forgiveness. When using a normal six foot leash, if she got scared and bolted, she hit the end of the leash abruptly, and that scared her even more. So we found a bungee-style leash that allows for a softer stop.

Hans walking Rosie the cat on a leash in a pet friendly campground while they travel in an RV

Cats can be easily leash trained as kittens, but adult cats tend to be much more cautious. Rosie started out sticking close to protective objects such as vehicles or bushes, as opposed to wide open spaces. But over time, Rosie’s confidence has grown on the harness and leash.

Walking her still requires a lot of patience, because she frequently stops to observe things for a while. I’ve come to see it as a meditative experience, moving slowly along and inspecting everything closely!

And it took us eight months to learn that we don’t walk Rosie … she walks us. Sometimes humans are slow learners.


RV Travel With A Cat

Our RV is a 5th wheel trailer that we pull with our truck. On travel days, I take Rosie outside for a walk before we leave. It works off some of her energy and makes for a calmer kitty during the ride.

Rosie rides in the truck with us, and usually meows a little at the beginning of the ride. She wears her harness while we’re driving. And we keep the leash handy so we can snap it on before opening the doors and giving her a chance to scoot out.

Her cat carrier is also in the truck with us, just in case of emergencies. I ride with a cat bed on my lap and she lays there most of the time.

READ MORE ⇒ Crash Tested Crates and Carriers To Keep Pets Safe

Tabby cat laying on a cat bed in a truck


Making The RV Cat Friendly

One of the biggest challenges to RVing with a cat is figuring out where to put the litter box! Some RVers put it in the shower; some designate a cabinet for the box and cut a hole in the door. It could also go in a corner of the bedroom or in the closet.

We were fortunate that our RV had enough room between the two recliners for a litter box cabinet. Multi-purpose functionality wins every time when you live in a small space!

Rosie the cat with her litter box cabinet traveling in an RV

We also struggled to keep Rosie from shredding the furniture in the RV. Everyone knows cats love to scratch, but double-sided anti-scratching tape kept Rosie from digging into inappropriate places. You can see it shining on the corners of the chairs in the photo above.

Giving her a scratching mat and creating a cat scratching wall by sticking a small rug to the end of a kitchen cabinet with heavy-duty, double-sided mounting tape provides Rosie with plenty of space to work her claws.


Successfully Traveling With A Cat

Living and traveling in an RV with a cat took some planning and ingenuity. But every bit of effort has paid off! We are all enjoying this lifestyle in the comfort of our own home on wheels. Living the life of our dreams and sharing it with our best buddy, Rosie – what could be better than that?!

About the Author: Lisa McGuire travels full time in an RV with her husband, Hans, and cat, Rosie.  

READ MORE ⇒  Tips for Traveling Cross-Country with Pets

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