Full-Time RV Living with Cats

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When we decided to move into an RV full-time, there was no question that our dog (Ted) and cat (Mr. Man) would join us on the road.  However, traveling with a cat has definitely been a bit more challenging than traveling with a dog.  Mr. Man requires more stuff, like a litter box and scratching post. We also had difficulty finding a good cat enclosure so he could enjoy the outdoors while we are parked.  After five years on the road, we’ve learned a lot amount RV travel with cats.  Below are my key tips on full-time RV living with cats.

RV Travel Days with Cats

How your cat travels will depend on their temperament and if they get car sick.  When we first starting traveling with our fifth wheel, we placed Mr. Man in his carrier in the back seat of the truck.  After listening to him howling for over two hours, we knew we were going to have to let him out of the carrier.  Then, we encountered our second problem, Mr. Man started getting car sick and throwing up a few hours into each road trip.

We now give him Dramamine thirty minutes before hitting the road to prevent sickness, and let him use the center console of our truck as his bed while we travel.  We have found Dramamine to be very effective, but you should consult with your vet and ask them the proper dosage before giving any medicine to your cat.  If your cat is not docile in the car or if you can’t trust them not to try to climb on the driver, keep them in a secure carrier while driving.  Travel is a big part of full-time RV living with cats, but it will likely take some trial and error to figure out the right spot in your truck or motorhome.

You also need to consider access to the litter box while traveling.  Given that Mr. Man has a sensitive stomach, we leave the litter box in the backseat of the truck.  Traveling with a smelly box is not ideal, but it is easier than trying to stop for potty breaks.  If you do not travel with a litter box in your tow vehicle, you should allow the cat access to the litter box in the RV every few hours.  You can shut your cat in the bathroom with the litter box, so they can’t hide from you to avoid returning to the truck.

Outdoor Enclosures for RV Cats

Mr. Man made it clear he wanted to be outside from day one living in the RV.  He would jump over our heads when we opened the door.  After some time, he even figured out how to open the screen door with his paw.  We were happy to let him outside, but did not want to let him roam freely given the large number of cars and dogs in most RV parks.  Our first attempts at outdoor time involved harnesses and leashes.  However, Mr. Man escaped from everyone of these contraptions including the harness that advertised even “ninja cats” could not escape it.

Next, we tried a few soft-sided cat enclosures.  These worked pretty well at containing Mr. Man but they got destroyed pretty quickly from his scratching and playing.  Finally, we purchased this collapsible, metal cat kennel and it has been a great solution.  Mr. Man loves to go in his new enclosure. The multiple levels keep him entertained and we are happy knowing he is secure and can’t escape.  If living in an RV with an indoor-only cat, you will need to consider how to keep them entertained indoors with lots of toys and potentially a small kitty condo.

For more ideas on how to create safe spaces for your cat, including a custom “catio” porch, see our guide to DIY RV modifications for cats. 

The RV Litter Box

Where do you put a litter box when you are RV living with cats?  There are several options, but it is definitely best if you can account for the litter box when you are shopping for RVs and selecting the best floor plan for your family.  Many RVers place the litter box in the shower, but we found this not to be an ideal solution.  Moving the box every time we showered and trying to keep litter from going down the drain was frustrating. Check out these six creative places to hide a litter box in an RV.

We tried a few solutions before fining the perfect spot for Mr. Man’s litter box.  After nixing the shower solution, we removed our dinette table and placed a litter box cabinet in that space.  Later, I wanted to use the dinette space for an office, so we created a full litter box under the steps in the storage bay of our fifth wheel. For full-time RV living with cats, make sure to use a litter box with a lid to limit odor and tracking of litter.  In a small space, you are also going to want to shell out the extra money for quality cat litter that reduces odor and clean the box at  least once every day.  When purchasing or redesigning your RV, you are also going to want to allocate space for a scratching post to ensure your cat doesn’t tear up the furniture.

Vet Visits and Vaccination Records:

When we first moved into our RV, we tried to keep all of our annual vet check-ups and vaccination appointments in our previous home of Raleigh, NC.  We soon realized, different vaccinations are needed at different times and it is not realistic to use a single provider.  Now, we just take Mr. Man to the nearest local vet that has positive reviews on Google.  To keep his records organized, we ask each vet to print out a copy of the vaccination and check-up report.  We store these hard copies in our glove compartment so they are easily accessible.  I also take a picture of the record and save a digital copy in case hard copies are lost.

If you have any other questions about full-time RV living with cats, comment below with your question.  If you have more fur babies, see our guide on RVing with dogs.

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