If you thought dogs were the only pets suited to ride along on your RV adventures, you thought wrong. RVing with a pet is for cat people too! Sure, there may be some work to be done, but bringing a pet along in the RV can make your home-on-the-road truly feel like home. You’ll want to make sure a few things are in place before you hit the road though, and we are here to help. Here’s our best advice on steps to take before hitting the road with your cat.
Make Sure He Has the Proper Vaccinations
The first thing you’ll want to do before hitting the road with your cat is a proper vet visit. Make sure your furry friend is healthy enough to hit the road, and get him up-to-date with his vaccinations. He’ll be encountering a lot more variables as a pet on the go rather than an indoor sticks-and-bricks cat. So you want him to be protected from all that’s out there. This includes an active flea and tick prevention routine. Even if your feline thinks he’s too good for exploring in the woods. You’re in much closer proximity to nature, and the most important thing is to make sure your cat is safe.
Get Him Microchipped
Microchipping should be one of your first steps before hitting the road with your cat. Your cat should most definitely be wearing a collar with a name tag and contact information at all times in your RV. But we recommend going the extra mile to have your pet microchipped. In most places, it’s an inexpensive procedure. It plants a small chip about the size of a grain of rice beneath your cat’s skin that contains your contact information.
That way, if he is ever lost and found without his collar, he can be scanned at a vet. Your information can be pulled up, and you can be quickly reunited. We all know how much cats like to scurry out of open doors, and how difficult they can be to corral. Having your pet microchipped gives you some peace of mind should your cat ever go on a little field trip of his own.
Practice with a Harness
Let’s face it: cats just don’t take to leashes as quickly as dogs do. You’ve probably seen a funny video online somewhere of a cat defiantly going limp once it’s on a leash. This is a real thing that happens with some cats when they get their first taste of leash life. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean our stubborn feline friends can’t get accustomed to a harness or leash after an initial reaction of refusal. The key is practice. Start slow. Clip the harness onto your kitty while he’s hanging around the house so he can get a feel for it.
Once he’s more comfortable with the harness itself. Try clipping the leash onto it and seeing how he does when you lead him around a bit. After conquering that step, it’s time to take it outside. Let your cat go at his own pace as he investigates the great outdoors while tethered to you. You’ll definitely want a harness and not just a collar. Collars are much easier for cats to wiggle out of.
Get Him Accustomed to the Environment and a Moving Vehicle
The same practice method goes for getting him accustomed to the RV and driving around. Cats do better when they’re familiar with their environment, so take your pet into the RV a few times for some investigation opportunities before you ever take him for a drive. Next, bring the cat along on some short rides so he can get used to the feel of a moving vehicle on driving days. Cat owners know their pets can be very particular. So it’s essential to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
Bring a Carrier or Build a Safe Space for Driving Days
Speaking of driving days, you’ll want to provide your cat with a carrier or another safe space for him to retreat to during days on the road. Not only do cats usually feel more comfortable and calm in confined spaces, but it’s for his own safety. Vets never recommend letting your cat roam free in a moving vehicle, as this poses a hazard for the cat should you get into an accident or have any sudden, unexpected movement happen in the RV. Make sure it’s a place where he’s comfortable by adding things like extra padding or some favorite blankets and toys – anything that will make your cat feel more at home. Make sure the carrier is secure when moving as well so it isn’t subject to slide or roll around if anything happens.
Have a Litter Plan
Onto the messier realities of RVing with a cat – the litterbox. There are secure places within an RV that you can set up a litterbox (we highly recommend one with a lid), but if your cat has the temperament for it, you might be able to train him to use the outdoors instead. There are even tools these days that help train your cat to go from using a litterbox to using the toilet (yes, you read that right!). So that may be something for you to look into as well.
If you go with the outdoor elimination method, you’ll need your cat to be well-trained on a harness and leash, and you’ll have to make frequent stops for kitty to relieve himself. If you opt for an in-RV litterbox, we recommend investing in the highest quality no-dust, no-smell litter possible, a litter catching mat and changing the litter often so that you are keeping your confined living space scent-free. It will be worth the investment!
Know What Calms Your Cat Down in Stress
Finally, the most successful way to RV with your cat is to know him well. Know when he’s getting antsy and needs a break for fresh air. Be willing to disrupt your schedule if that’s the case. Plan your trips so he isn’t left alone in a hot (or cold) RV while you are out and about. Does your cat prefer to be held when he’s worked up? Does he prefer to retreat to a confined space? There may also be a few things you can invest in to make the travel experience better for your kitty. Like calming sprays, or lavender-infused catnip. If your cat gets especially nervous on travel days, you can even talk to your veterinarian about feline anti-anxiety meds.
Hitting the Road with Your Cat
As you can see, taking your cat on your travels with you requires some extra work. If you’re going to commit to it, you will want to do everything you can to make sure he enjoys it as much as you do. Even with all of that in mind, having him or her along can make all the difference in your travels. An RV that a cat calls home is an RV with an adventure partner,free entertainment and a faithful companion. Happy travels to you and your cat!