how to keep cats from escaping rv

You love to explore and seek out new adventures, right? Just imagine how much your curious feline would enjoy doing the same thing.

Many people leave their cats with friends or family when they travel in their RV because they are afraid that their cat will escape.

You can take your cat with you when you travel as long as you, your cat and your RV are well prepared before you take off. Here is our guide on how to keep cats from escaping your RV while you’re traveling.

Prepare Your Cat for RV Travel

One of the first things you have to keep in mind is that your cat will need to become accustomed to the changes involved with traveling in an RV.

After all, your RV and the various stops you make along your journey are all new territories for your cat. By preparing your cat for RV travel, you can decrease the risk of losing your cat while you’re out exploring.

What type of cat do you have?

In order to prepare your cat for RV travel, you will want to do a little bit of analysis concerning what type of cat you have. Some will adapt more easily and others will be more of a challenge.

Here are the characteristics of your cat to consider as well as some quick tips for preparing them:

  • Inside only. Cats that rarely go outside tend to panic when they hit the wide-open world. Leash training won’t be easy, but it is about the only way you will be able to keep them from escaping.
  • Outside only. This type of cat is not accustomed to living indoors and will need to get used to the idea, especially within the cramped space of an RV.
  • Follower vs. Loner. A follower is the type of cat that will follow you around the yard or down the street and stay along with you. A loner will lose interest in following you around and go find other things to get into. You will probably have to put a loner on a leash when you travel.
  • Variety of Combinations. The thing about cats is that there is always a surprise waiting. Your cat could be a variety of combinations of inside and outside and follower and loner in various situations. Be prepared for every possible surprise.

Leash Train Your Cat 

Sometimes, when you put a cat on a leash, they lay down and refuse to budge and at other times they go nuts trying to get the thing off. You certainly don’t want to be out on the road in your RV the first time you put your cat on a leash.

It could take several months for you and your cat to be comfortable on a leash, so you will want to do this well before you plan to go RVing.

Here is a quality step-by-step video showing how to train your cat to walk on a leash.

Practice Escape and Recall at Home

Training your cat to come when you call is another preparation you need to make before taking your cat with you when you travel.

Though they don’t come running with their tongue hanging out like a dog, cats can be trained to come to you whenever they hear a specific sound.

This training includes:

  • Using the same sound every time you call your cat.
  • Providing a reward whenever your cat responds properly.
  • Repetition to reinforce the behavior.
  • A solid resource for training your cat to come when you call is provided by Adopt A Pet.

Practice Camping in Your RV Before Leaving Home

To a cat who is used to the indoors, an RV is nothing more than a small house. Leaving the door to your RV open while it is parked in your yard is a great way to allow your cat to become comfortable with your RV and make them feel at home whenever they are in it.

Have places or cat cubbies, which we will discuss below, already established for your cat. Your cat will begin lounging around and enjoying your RV on its own.

You can invite them into your RV to take a nap or even do some overnight camping while your RV is still parked in your yard to help your cat become used to hanging out and living inside your RV. However, riding in your RV will present a whole new set of challenges.

Do Some Short Test Runs in the RV

Unlike dogs, most cats do not take to traveling in a car right away. Most cats are very uncomfortable with how a moving car feels. You will need to help your cat overcome its discomfort and fear of riding in your RV before you set out on your adventure.

Here is how to take some short test runs and get your cat used to travel in a moving vehicle:

  • Allow your cat to become accustomed to being crated over an extended period of time. Place their bedding in the crate. Offer them treats inside the crate and make the crate a place of comfort instead of a place of confinement.
  • Place your cat in a crate before putting them in the RV for the first several “dry-runs” of 20 to 30 minutes.
  • After several short trips in the crate, open the door of the crate and allow your cat the freedom to ride in the crate or find its own place to ride inside the RV.
  • You will know that your cat is ready to travel whenever it becomes comfortable with riding in your RV.

The steps above should reduce the risk of losing your cat and risking escape while you are out on the road in your RV. You can further reduce those risks by having your RV ready to accommodate your cat.

Prepare Your RV for Cat Travel

To prepare your RV for traveling with a cat there is one simple goal to keep in mind. You want your cat to consider your RV as home. A cat, which feels at home inside your RV, is less likely to escape. Follow

Have Cat Cubbies Available

We mentioned having cat cubbies available already. Cubbies are places where cats feel safe and secure, sort of like a den.

You will note that your cat enjoys high shelves or the top of the refrigerator where they can check out what is going on from a high position. They enjoy dark places where they can hide away and catch a nap.

They like places where they can lie in the sun. By allowing your cat to become comfortable in your RV while it is parked in your yard, you will begin to note some of those favorite places and can provide bedding or accommodations to encourage your cat to continue to use them.

Provide Additional Cat Accommodations

Besides having plenty of cubbies of various types, cats need additional accommodations that help them feel comfortable and make your RV cat-friendly.

Here are some of the accommodations you should keep in mind:

  • Cubbies.
  • Toys.
  • Scratching posts and/or pads.
  • Food and water dishes.
  • Treats.
  • Leash.
  • Hard and/or soft crates.

Having these items at hand will make traveling with a cat much easier and will help your cat to recognize your RV as home while you are traveling.

how to keep cats from escaping rv

Keep These Considerations for Peace of Mind

Traveling with a cat is not simple, but if you are properly prepared you can feel comfortable about going out on the road in your RV and taking your favorite feline along with you. Here are some additional tips to provide peace of mind while you travel.

Microchip Your Cat

One way to provide peace of mind is to have your cat microchipped. A microchip is an electronic device about the size of a grain of rice.

It is inserted under the loose skin between your cat’s shoulder blades. PetMD provides plenty of information concerning the chip, the processes and its benefits if you would like to know more.

Consider the Quality of Litter and Litter Box

An RV is a pretty small space to live in and it becomes a lot smaller whenever the stench of your cat’s litter box become overpowering.

Accommodate your cat with a quality litter box that helps control the smell. Be sure to put a high-quality litter in the box to prevent odors from overtaking the place.

You will need to be more conscientious about cleaning and changing your cat’s litter while you are RVing as well.

Secure Your Cat Before Moving Slides

Cats are known for getting in tight places and hiding while you are traveling. If your RV has slide-outs, you will want to make certain that you secure your cat before operating the slide-outs on your RV.

Besides frightening your cat and increasing its chance of trying to escape, your cat might get caught in one of the slide-outs, which could become a disaster. Know where your cat is by securing your cat before operating the slides on your RV.

Consider Relaxation Remedies While Moving

Keeping your cat relaxed while traveling can be accomplished by making sure that your cat becomes accustomed to riding in your RV and feels very much at home.

However, some cats might need a little extra help in order to relax. You don’t want to drug your cat in order to travel, but there are some natural remedies that can help your cat to relax while you are motoring down the road.

Here are some of the most common ones to keep in mind:

  • Flower Remedies. These remedies, which are put out in various blends by different manufacturers, contain essential oils from Bethlehem Star, Clematis, Rock Rose, Impatiens and Cherry Plum. They are typically applied by rubbing the oil into the ears.
  • Feliway. This is a synthetic feline pheromone that helps calm cats. It usually comes in a diffuser spray bottle and you can spread bedding, the crate or other areas where your cat likes to hide while your RV is in motion.
  • L-Theanine. You will recognize that this is a common amino acid. It is sometimes successful in producing calm in cats to varying degrees. There are special feline formulas, but you can also dilute the human form and use it.

Give Your Cat Rest Stops Too

You know how it feels to be sitting still for hours while you are traveling, right? Imagine the stress your cat is going through.

Take time to pull off the road and allow your pet to relax. Give them a chance to drink some water and use their litter box, or maybe grab a little snack. Basically, give your cat the same traveling considerations that you enjoy.

Carry Veterinarian Records with You

You always hope that your pet will be able to travel with you without any problems springing up, but things happen and your cat might need veterinary care.

For those instances, you want to make sure that you carry a copy of your cat’s veterinary records along with you.

Keep Your Cat Inside the RV

The best advice when it comes to traveling with cats is to keep your cat inside the RV. If you are in a calm place, you can consider taking them out for a walk while on the leash, but for the most part, you will have much greater luck at preventing your cat from escaping while you travel if you do not let them out of the RV on their own.


Your cat is a vital member of your family. Dropping them off with friends and family for a short period of time might be okay, but if you set out on the road in your RV for an extended period of time, you might want to take your cat along.

Prepare your cat by leash training them and getting them to come when you call. Make your RV a comfortable place that is just like home for your cat.

Provide all of the items that your cat usually has access to in your home when you are out on the road. Pay attention to various tips for making you and your cat more comfortable as your RV.

If you, your cat and your RV are properly prepared, you can make your open road adventure enjoyable for your can without the stress and worry of your cat escaping your RV.