Fulltime RVing with Cats

Living in a 150 square foot RV can be a challenge for two adults, but add two VERY LARGE cats in the mix and we literally, are on top of each other.  Fellow RVers and others have frequently been curious about how cats do on the road.  In the beginning, NOT well at all.  It was a mix of curiosity, shear terror and what appeared to be a cat’s version of a panic attack.

Meet Kimchi (left) and Miso (right): Adventure Kitties (when they’re not sleeping)

For their entire life, until the first day in the RV, the ground beneath their paws was steady and hardly ever made noise. Suddenly, they were moving and bouncing down the road at 60 mph with strange groans, whistles, and a whole assortment of other-worldly happenings.  We didn’t think there were many places to hide, but it is amazing what a cat (Miso) can wedge itself into when terrified:  sink cabinets, under seats, step wells, and what became their favorite; under the bed covers or wedged between the mattress and the wall, preferably with a pillow on top. This lasted for a couple of weeks, and still happens when the RV is being serviced.  Eventually, their curious nature began take over and they accepted this new fate.

To say our two furry travel companions enjoy the RV lifestyle might be a bit of an over statement, but they tolerate it and occasionally seem to like it.  They nap during travel times and wake up with an almost enthusiastic curiosity when we stop, always appearing let down when it is just a parking lot.  They like grass, greenery, and wild things especially birds.  Both really enjoy the perk of being able to go outside, even if it is on a leash and closely supervised, something they never got to do before. Due to close proximity, the amount of attention they receive has increased exponentially.  We are all very familiar with each others habits, and they have done a terrific job training us to be attentive.  If cat’s memories are as short as they are said to be, Kimchi and Miso probably no longer remember the life on the wide open range (1700 sq ft).

While we could not imagine traveling without our cats, indeed we often make decisions based on what is best for them, sometimes it is tough sharing such a small space.  They are big cats and when they move, so does the whole RV.  When a bomb is dropped in the litter box, it can be a weapon of mass destruction, often riling us from our sleep, helpless other than to say, “EWWWW, damn it cat!”  Since neither is de-clawed, the RV has been subjected to significant depreciation.  Both cats have had health problems and an emergency.  Luckily, qualified veterinarian care is pretty easy to find, but always expensive. Shedding, messy eating, and litter box use prompt multiple cleanings daily, but that only takes a few minutes.  Despite all this, we enjoy their company immensely and we think they feel the same.

8 thoughts on “Fulltime RVing with Cats

  1. TravelBug-Susan

    Awwww, I love your post. We too travel with two kitties, Bowie and Sunnie. They are a delight. The only time they go outside is when they ride on our shoulders for a short walk around our 5th wheel. We do not want to have them on the ground where they might pick up fleas or ticks. Definitely don’t want those in the rig.

    We love them dearly and they love us back. Play time and lots of attention keeps them well adjusted.

    As for the stink bombs, ours are only bad sometimes. We are pretty lucky in that regard.

  2. Uncle Jay

    Hilarious story about your cats! Having Toby as a member of our family (for the past 6 years) we understand. During the move to our new home in July, he was hyperventilating during the 7-mile journey. But, within two minutes of exploring the new digs, and being shown his food and his litter box, he relaxed and has settled in. We take him with us to sit on the porch, but that is the extent of his turf. Pat and Jay

  3. Terri

    I came across your blog because I plan on traveling with my cats and a blind elderly chihuahua next fall. I will most likely have a travel trailer and plan on doing seasonal stays in places, both for my stress level and that of my kitties. (I have 5. Yes, 5). Would appreciate any and all tips you have on how to make things less stressful for them. Also, how much space do you think you need if you had to break it down, per cat?

    And oh…the litter box…yes, that I am mentally preparing myself for even now, this far ahead…one of them poops in a way that you could use it to solve all negotiations between the US and Middle East if it came right down to it. 🙂 (Everyone would run for the doors and say anything just to get away!)

    1. The RV Nomads Post author

      Haha, Terri! It sounds like you have a serious herd of animals! One of the best things you can probably do with the cats is get them used to being in a moving vehicle. If you’re planning to do a TT, they’ll have to ride in the truck with you while you travel, so the sooner you can get them used to it, the easier it will be for everyone! It took our cat Miso about 2 weeks to adjust to moving, and those were very stressful weeks! It took a lot of treats, coaxing (you cannot believe the small places a giant cat can find to hide), and lots of reassurance to get him to finally ease into his new nomadic life.

      We have a 24′ motorhome and 2 cats that are about 16-18lbs each, so sometimes it feels a little tight. They usually spend the day snuggling and sleeping in the bed, and then run around and chase each other at night. I honestly can’t say how much space each cat needs, but they seem pretty content with what they have. We also leash trained them so that they have some time outside to explore and stay stimulated. Usually 15 minutes a day is all they need.

      The litter box is pretty much our biggest challenge with traveling with cats. It takes up our shower space and needs constant cleaning to fight the odors!!

      Best of luck as you prepare and thanks for reading!

      – Alayne

  4. Faith K

    My friend Jazzi and I are about to embark with 2 very large Maine Coons so this post was very helpful. And we loved the pictures!!! Happy cats indeed!

  5. Holly

    Read your blog on the cats with great interest. We are thinking of full timing in a few years and are wondering what your experience was with pet policies at different RV camps? We have 3 cats and a small dog and most places we looked at only allow 2 pets maximum. In our case, the cats will never ever go outside so I don’t understand what difference it makes to the RV place? Have you found this to be an issue in your travels?

  6. jmmeccio@gmail.com

    I enjoyed the blog post. We’re about to start traveling in our RV with our two cats & one dog. Just wondering what type of harness you use to walk your cats? I noticed that pets are required to be on leash in just about every park we plan to visit and I’d like to be prepared. Thanks!


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