How To Travel With Cats in an RV

How To Travel With Cats in an RV

In some respects, traveling in an RV with a cat is like traveling in a car with a cat in the sense that it will take time for Fluffy to get acclimated and relax in the RV.

The owner will also have to do some of the same things to prepare Fluffy for life in an RV that they would prepare her for a long car trip.

How do you acclimate a cat to an RV?

Every pet authority agrees that Fluffy will need to be acclimated to a cat carrier, for there will be times you will have to keep her there.

Stephanie Henkel, who writes for PetHelfpul, recommends that Fluffy also be leash-trained so you can take her on walks outside.

Similarly, you will have to introduce your cat to the RV itself. According to Heather Marcoux, a writer for Adventure Cats Website, the acclimatization process can take days to weeks.

The RV needs to be parked and off during the cat’s initial explorations. Marcoux also recommends bringing some of the cat’s belongings, like favorite toys, into the RV.

The familiar scents will help make the RV seem less strange and threatening.

The following video depicts Harry the Balinese (long-haired Siamese) investigating his owner’s new RV.

The owner wisely brought Harry aboard in a cat carrier and then let him out to explore. He also noted how Harry acted as he became increasingly comfortable with the RV.

What should you take?

A cat will need many of the same things for a trip in an RV that she would need for a long car trip.

You should, therefore, pack the following:

  • Cat food
  • Food and water dishes
  • Cat litter
  • Litter box
  • Scratching post
  • Collar, harness, and leash
  • Cat toys
  • Grooming tools
  • Cat First Aid kit
  • Vet records and health certificate

The Humane Society website provides advice on how to assemble a First Aid Kit for a cat.

It will include many of the same items as a regular First Aid kit, like bandages and cotton swabs.

The kit should also include any prescription medications your cat needs. You can also get a ready-made kit from a pet supplies store.

Bring Fluffy’s bed if she has one. Otherwise, be prepared to share your bed with her.

Some cat owners will pull out all the stops to keep their feline friends comfortable.

The website Great American Country posted the following video about a couple with six cats. They had their RV customized to include a “kitty condo” with beds and hidey-holes in a storage bay.

The cats also have their own flat screen TV and a stairway that lets them visit their humans. See it here.

Also, look up information about veterinarians along your route or near your campsite. That way, if something goes wrong, you will know where to take your cat.

Cat hair will become a lot more noticeable and annoying in the confined space of an RV as opposed to a house or apartment. You will thus have to groom Fluffy more often.

Henkel notes that cats quickly pick out favorite spots, like a chair or window sill. She recommends covering such places with a folded towel or similar item.

Shaking the towel out every day will also help reduce the amount of cat hair in the RV.

Related: Enjoy Richer RV Adventures with Your Favorite Feline Along

Where do you put the litterbox?

There is no hard-and-fast rule about this, for the answer will depend on the type and size of RV you have.

You do need to make sure that the litterbox won’t slide all over the place and that your cat can reach it.

Ashley Mann, who writes for “RV Inspiration,” recommends several possibilities. If you plan on keeping the litterbox in a closet or the like, you will have to install a door or cat flap. Another option, particularly for a big RV, is to buy a ready-made litterbox cabinet.

Wherever you put the litterbox, you will have to clean it more often than you would back home in order to reduce the smell.

Related: The Purr-fect Cat Packing List: Everything You Need to Travel With Your Cat

Are there special safety concerns I should know about?

Yes. Some RVs come with slides, which are also known as pop-outs or slide-outs. As the name suggests, they slide out to increase the space inside the RV while it is parked.

According to Website, along with some other sites, stresses making sure you know where your cat is before moving the slides out or in, for the slides can crush an overly-curious cat.

The best way to prevent such a disaster is to put the cat in her carrier before moving the slides.

You should also get Fluffy microchipped before setting out. Cats can escape and get lost, and a microchip will enable a vet or animal shelter to contact you and arrange for the reunion.

Never let your cat go outside unattended, for it is simply too dangerous. Fluffy could get lost, or she could end up a snack for something like a coyote. Hooking her up to a leash and taking her for a walk is a lot safer.

Do RV parks allow cats?

According to Outdoorsy blog, RV parks generally allow pets, but some may charge a little extra for the privilege.

Most parks have the following rules:

  • Cats outside the RV must be on a leash
  • The owner must accompany any pet outside the trailer
  • If somebody’s pet disturbs other campers, the owner may be told to leave
  • Pet owners need to clean up after their pets

National parks tend to have more restrictions than do commercial parks. Some allow pets, while others do not.

The rules depend at least partly on how the local wildlife reacts to pets. Before going to a park of any type, visit its website to check the rules.

Similarly, if you plan on driving into Canada or Mexico, check the rules regarding pets.

Both countries, for example, will want to see vet records and proof of vaccinations, especially against rabies.


  1. Good overview of what it’s like to travel or live in an RV with a cat! I hope that anyone who is worried about it will realize that it’s very doable, though it may require some getting used to! 🙂

  2. Kathy Deatherage

    Since I lost my cat of 17 years out of our RV never to be seen again, others might take precautions. If and when I travel with another cat I will be sure to have some kind of tracking device. The chip didn’t do any good in my case. We did extensive work to get the word out that our cat was missing, but all for naught. After two weeks of searching and staying up at night outside, we had to leave. Another thing about RVing with a cat is that in most cases you have to move on. So, even if you cat has never attempted to leave the RV, be vigilant. All it takes is once.

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