How to RV Travel with Cats Full-Time

by | Feb 8, 2022 | Tips & Tricks | 2 comments

Photo of a cat in a chair outside the RV of someone performing RV travel with cats.

Living in your motorhome full-time doesn’t have to mean a lack of furry companions! While dogs are popular RV roommates, cats can often make great partners as well. It may be intimidating to add another little life to your RV crew, but once you understand the basics of RV travel with cats it’s not so scary. With a few basic supplies and a well-rounded routine, you and your kitten can be two peas in an R-Pod (of the Forest River variety).

Tips for RV Travel with Cats

We happen to love our feline friends over here at RVUSA, so we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about a road trip with your cat. From protecting your furniture to making sure they don’t get lost, we’ve thought of it all.

Cat-Friendly Furniture

If you’re planning on inviting a cat into your RV you’ve probably already considered the cons. One of the main concerns many people have with cats is scratching, particularly furniture. While it doesn’t bode well for your furniture, scratching is an essential part of a cat’s lifestyle. Scratching helps cats relax, shed the outer layers of their claws and mark their territory. Claws also provide a way for cats to defend themselves against predators outside. If there’s any chance your cat will be spending time outside of your RV, his claws are very important should he ever encounter trouble in the outdoors.

RV travel with cats relaxing on the couch.
RV furniture is not an easy replacement, so it’s important to protect the furniture that comes in your RV. The best way to protect your RV furniture is providing a better place for your cat to scratch, like a scratching post or cat tree. It’s best to offer cats a place they’re allowed to scratch, rather than constantly trying to stop them from engaging in instinctive behaviors. If you’re having trouble getting them to scratch on intended posts, try coating the scratching post with catnip or catnip spray.

Create a Routine

One easy way to provide a happier life for the humans and felines in your motorhome is to create a routine. Whether your RV travel with cats is full-time or you live in a traditional home, routine is important to a cat’s wellbeing. Cats like to know what to expect next, and you can provide that for them. One easy way to do this is play with your cat before meals and feed them at the same time every day.

A ritualistic lifestyle is even more important when you choose RV travel with cats. RV life means constant changes, which will easily stress out most cats. Providing your cats with parts of the day they know they can expect, like playing, sleeping, and eating at the same time every day gives your cat a sense of security and stability they’re at risk of losing with an on-the-go lifestyle.

Supplies for RV Travel with Cats

When you RV with cats, there are a few extra supplies you’ll need. Of course, you need the basics for cat ownership – a litter box, cat food, toys, etc. – but there are some other items that can bring your RV life with cats to the next level.

Calming Spray

Cats are often stressed out, add in the anxieties of constantly driving around and the commotion of people coming in and out of the RV, and you have a recipe for disaster. An easy way to bring down your cat’s tension levels and create a happier home for everyone is with calming sprays. These sprays, which also come in plug-in diffusers and even collars, release pheromones into the air. When a cat smells these pheromones, their brain receives a chemical message. This message lets cats know they’re safe and evoke feelings of happiness and relaxation. A popular brand of cat pheromones is Feliway.

An overland truck camps at night. These vehicles are part of RVUSA's new overland classifieds category

Need the perfect RV for road tripping with your cat?

Identification Methods

RVing full-time means you’re always on the go. This makes it especially dangerous if your cat were ever to get out. In a traditional home, there’s always a chance lost cats can find their way back to familiar surroundings. But, once your motorhome hits the highway, there’s no way for your cat to find you again. This is why having proper, up-to-date identification is so important when you RV with cats.

The first method we recommend is, of course, a collar. It’s a clear signal that your cat belongs to someone, so if it happens to find some friendly strangers, they know the cat is missed. Keep collars on 24/7 and make sure all the information is up to date. In particular, we recommend breakaway collars. These collars will break if caught on something so your cat doesn’t end up trapped or choked by a stuck collar.

Along with collars, you should make sure your cat is microchipped. Once you’ve driven away, a microchip is the only way for your cat to find you again. Make sure the chip is always updated with the correct names and phone numbers. Adding backup contacts, like friends and family, in case you cannot be reached is a good idea.

Orange tabby cat outside with a collar and bell on.

Tracking Methods

There are also ways you can keep track of your cat’s whereabouts while they explore the outdoors. The best and most reliable way is to invest in a GPS tracker like this one from Tractive that will allow you to keep track of exactly where your cat is at outside. It allows you to see their movements in real time from your smart phone and even set a virtual fence so you get notified anytime they leave that vicinity and when they reenter it. A service like this does require a monthly subscription.

For a more budget friendly option, some RVers have turned to using Tile trackers on their pets’ collars! Just like you would ping a Tile attached to your keys or wallet to find them when you’ve misplaced them, you can ping the Tile on your cat’s collar to find him. 

Shop Our Essentials for RVing with Cats

Tractive GPS cat tracker

GPS Cat Tracker

Cat Carrier Backpack

Cat Backpack

Low Dust Cat Litter

Cat Litter

Window seating

You like a campsite with a view, so does your cat! Without much room to roam in an RV, providing a window for your cat to look out of is a great way to facilitate passive play. Passive play allows your cat to be energized and entertained all day enjoying the birds, bugs, and people it can see from the window. While this doesn’t replace active play, like toys, it does keep your cat from getting bored while you’re out adventuring at different parks.

There are plenty of ways to provide window seating for your cat. This might mean adding a cat bed or blanket in front of a sunny window. It might also mean purchasing a hanging cat window seat. Some of these are simple, hanging from the window with suction cups for a perfect view.

Cat cave beds

To RV travel with cats means subjecting your cat to a lot of movement and commotion. Cats are easily stressed out, as we mentioned before. The constant noises, changes and activity in a travel trailer can cause your cat a lot of anxiety. Wherever you go, you should provide your cat with a safe, calm space. Purchasing a comfortable cat cave allows your cat to remove itself from the action somewhere they feel secure. There, they can calm down and de-stress in a quiet place. Then, they can come out when they’re ready for more play, scratches and treats!

Cat looking out car window during RV travel with cats.

If you choose to RV with cats, make sure to do plenty of research beforehand. Our blog just touches on the basics of RV travel with cats. Once you’re ready with the supplies you need, you can get started on the fun part! Heading to your local shelter to choose which cat or kitten you want to add to your family is always exciting. Cats will easily earn their keep as an RV roommate with plenty of love and cuddles.

Remember that all cats are different, and what works for one might not work for another. Once you adopt a cat, you’ll start to get a feel for their personality and understand their needs. Some cats will benefit from every item on our list, while others will be more than happy relaxing in the sunshine on your motorhome’s dashboard. Get to know your cat, watch their body language, and employ a trial-and-error process to understand what works best for both of you.

And if you share photos of your kitten enjoying RV life, make sure to tag us!

This post contains affiliate links. RVUSA.com will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase using these links. We appreciate your support!

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Two photos of cats with RVs. Text reads "Guide to full time RVing with cats"
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2 Comments

  1. Belinda

    PLEASE DO NOT LET YOUR CAT ROAM FREE!!!

    Reply
  2. Sharon Snyder

    Thank you for this post. We are planning to begin our adventures in the next year and we have 2 cats (one rescued at 6 weeks and one at 18 months). Although I am looking forward to the adventures, I am terrified about my cats. The 3 year old (6 weeks), I am not as worried about, she never goes far. However, the 2 year old (18 months) is the one I am so afraid of losing. He wasn’t neutered when he found his way to his new home, so he has been adjusting for almost a year now, but still likes to be the “man about town”. He is the sweetest thing ever and we’ve respected his need to roam, at home. I have been putting his collar on religiously in preparation and hope by then, he will accept the GPS tracker, which my little girl already wears 24/7. Thank you so much for the article, it helped a lot!

    Reply

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