It is an American pastime to take road trips. Famous roads such as Route 66 beckon us, and iconic locations such as Yosemite National Park or the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Museum are dream places to visit. A lot of people choose to hit the road in a motorhome.
Perhaps you have been dreaming of traveling the country in your motorhome for years. The idea of the open road, unknown adventures, and fun sightseeing has an amazing draw on you.
Maybe you are shopping for a motorhome, or you already purchased one and are ready to hit the road. But you have a problem: What about your cat or cats? Can you take them with you? Will they travel well in a motorhome? What do you need to take with you?
Traveling with cats is not as hard as it may seem. With some prior planning and proper maintenance, you can take your furry friends with you on your daring adventure.
Keep in mind that every cat is different, as is every motorhome, so be sure to adapt these tips to your personal situation.
Let’s take a look at how you can prepare your cats to travel with you and make the trip pleasant for all of you.
What do you need to prepare your cat physically and medically?
There are some things you should do before traveling with your cat. First, make sure they are up to date on their shots and have had a thorough physical. For road travel, they must have a health certificate from the last 30 days.
While you are at your vet’s, you may want to talk to them about the places you intend to visit. They will be able to let you know if there are any issues you need to be aware of in regards to your cat.
Get them a good cat collar and make sure they have their shot tags on their collar. Carry their shot records with you since many states require proof of rabies vaccinations when taking animals across state lines. A customized tag with their name and your cell phone number will also be useful, just in case.
Travel expert Beth Pipe also suggests that you get your cat microchipped just in case they get loose. Be sure the microchipping company has your cell phone number, so they can contact you if needed.
Also, make sure to have your vets number in your phone so you can contact them easily should it be necessary.
Be sure to take some medication with you such as your deworming medication of choice. Flea and tick treatments should also be kept on hand.
Finally, make sure to bring the food they are used to eating with you so you don’t have to make a sudden change while on the road.
Also, you should fill some milk jugs with your own tap water so that your cat doesn’t suffer from gastrointestinal issues from a sudden water change.
How do you prepare your motorhome for your cats?
Setting up your camper for your fur babies is essential. First, be sure to include places for them to hide, as cats are prone to do. Travel blogger Tammy Dray suggests taking their pet carrier and placing it under the table as an easy hiding space.
A lot of motorhomes have storage areas underneath the beds or under the seats. You may want to set one of these spaces up as a nice hiding spot for your cats. You can even include their favorite blanket in the space to make it homier for them.
Another imperative decision you have to make is where the litter box will go. Brenda B recounts her experience finding the perfect litter box space and mentions that the spot it fitted in the best did not work well because it would rattle while they were driving, and the cats would not use it.
Taking your motorhome for a test spin while choosing a litter box spot could be helpful.
Next, they will need food and water. Finding a spot that can anchor the food and water dishes is a good idea, Also, getting water bowls that have gripping bottoms or are made to not spill is helpful in preventing the bowls from moving while driving.
Alternatively, you could mount the food and water dishes to a cabinet to make sure they will not spill.
You want to take every step possible to ensure your kitty is comfortable and content while traveling. Before every trip that you take, make sure to put your cat’s favorite toys, cat bed, and blanket into the motorhome.
Having items that are familiar to them can be helpful in making the transition from your home to your motorhome.
How do you acclimate your cats to the motorhome?
You don’t want to shock your cat by throwing it in the motorhome and taking off. Mark Jenney points out that cats identify places by scent, so give them a chance to spread their scent in your motorhome.
You want to give your cat a chance to get used to the motorhome, and here are the steps to take to do so.
- Make sure the hiding spots and litter box are set up as already mentioned.
- Bring some toys, your cats’ bed, and blanket with you.
- Carry your cat to the motorhome if you can. Oftentimes, cats associate a cat carrier with a trip to the vet. If you can carry them without the carrier, that would be ideal so that they won’t start off with a bad experience.
- Spend some time in the motorhome without it moving anywhere. Give your cat the chance to rub their head around, thereby leaving their scent behind. You may want to do this a couple of times.
- Take a short trip to see how your cat handles the motorhome moving. You can then determine if they need more time to get used to the motorhome, or if they are ready for a real road trip.
- Now your cat can go on a road trip with you!!
How do you crate train your cat?
You may want to be able to put your cat into a crate without them freaking out. There are some steps you need to take to make this feasible. They are:
– Purchase a larger crate so they have space to move.
– Place the crate in your home with the door opened and a blanket in it. Let them check it out themselves.
– Put them in the crate and take them places other than the vet’s office. This will help them learn that the crate is not always a bad thing so they are more comfortable with it.
– Put the crate in the motorhome and let them get used to it being in there.
Crating your cat may be a good idea if your cat is a little nervous on the road. The crate can also serve as a nice place for them to sleep in if you leave the door opened for them to go in and out.
How do you keep your cats from running out the door?
It is normal to fear your cat getting out the door. When you are at home, at least you can rest in the knowledge your cat may come home and neighbors may see them.
When you are on the road, this is not the case and you will need to take extra precautions.
This video from S&S and the RV Cats shows one simple solution to the issue of cats getting out. In this video, they purchased a simple four-panel partition. They use it to create a makeshift hallway with a door that can easily be put around the door.
One benefit to this partition is that it can be easily taken down if needed for space, while still providing plenty of protection for your cats.
Some people also choose to create a closed in space by having a proper bedroom door that the cats cannot open by accident They then put their cats in there when they need to leave.
Another option is a pet-proofing barrier. With a pet-proofing barrier, you put a device next to the door that will emit a beeping noise.
You use this by placing a wireless transmitter on your cat’s collar. As they get close to the door, the beeping noise should scare them away.
If your cat is more insistent and continues towards the door, a small static shock will be emitted and discourage them from continuing on. Eventually, your cat will lose interest in going near the door at all.
What do you do when leaving your cats for sightseeing?
While cats ride well in a motorhome, you cannot necessarily take them with you while you sightsee. You want to be able to confidently leave your cats while you check out everything there is to see.
Here are some suggestions:
- Travel in months with milder weather.
- Make sure to leave food, water, and a clean litter box.
- Pack some fans.
David Hiser and his family have been traveling with their pets for over a year. They suggest staying on if the day is too hot.
Also, when they do go out on warmer days, they leave the windows opened and fans going, so as to keep it comfortable in the motorhome.
On cooler days, make sure to leave your cats a nice place to get into and keep warm. Create a box-like space with a blanket they can curl up in until you get home.
Of course, it the weather is extremely cold, you may want to stay in and keep the heat running for you and them.
Some people choose to leave their air conditioner or heat running when they leave their pets. The only issue with this is that if the air conditioner or heat goes out, there may be issues.
You can mitigate this by purchasing a wifi enabled thermostat that will upload data to your phone so you can keep track of the temperature while you are away.
If you have some sightseeing that you pre-scheduled and the weather is to hot for your cats, you may want to see about getting a hotel room just to be safe.
You want to be sure there is no chance of your cat overheating, and a hotel room is a small price to pay for this.
How do I keep my motorhome clean?
As you know, cat hair gets everywhere inside a regular sized house. This issue of cat hair in a motorhome is further exacerbated by having your cats in a smaller space. Another issue with a small space is that litter boxes can quickly get a pungent odor.
Depending on how many cats you are traveling with, you will want to sweep and/or vacuum your motorhome every other day.
If you are traveling with several cats, this may need to be done daily in order to keep up with the mess. You will likely be surprised how much hair you pick up in such a short time.
The litter box will need to be cleaned out daily. If you have several cats, twice a day may be necessary to keep the smell down or you can use a self-cleaning cat litter box.
You also may want to make sure to use a kitty litter that covers smells and clumps very well in order to reduce odors and make cleaning easy.
Traveling with your cat can be very rewarding. You get to save yourself from finding someone you trust to watch them, and also get the benefit of their wonderful company!
While it takes time to prepare to take your cat with you, you will find the time is well worth it. You will get to create many wonderful memories with your fur baby by your side enjoying the trip with you.
Now, go out and enjoy exploring this amazing world with your cat by your side.